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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  4 October 1974 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 84,516 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 803 user | 256 critic | 5 from Metacritic.com

Five friends visiting their grandfather's house in the country are hunted and terrorized by a chain-saw wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Allen Danziger ...
Paul A. Partain ...
William Vail ...
...
Pam (as Teri Mcminn)
...
Jim Siedow ...
...
John Dugan ...
Robert Courtin ...
William Creamer ...
John Henry Faulk ...
Jerry Green ...
Cowboy
Ed Guinn ...
Joe Bill Hogan ...
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Storyline

En route to visit their grandfather's grave (which has apparently been ritualistically desecrated), five teenagers drive past a slaughterhouse, pick up (and quickly drop) a sinister hitch-hiker, eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, before ending up at the old family home... where they're plunged into a never-ending nightmare as they meet a family of cannibals who more than make up in power tools what they lack in social skills... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

can you survive ...it happened See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

4 October 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Headcheese  »

Box Office

Budget:

$83,532 (estimated)

Gross:

$30,859,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (new longer Version) | (Unrated Edition)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The human skeleton in the house at the end of the movie was a real human skeleton. They used a real one because a human skeleton from India is far cheaper then a fake plastic skeleton. See more »

Goofs

The blood the hitchhiker smears on the van is gone in the long shot a few seconds later. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to ...
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User Reviews

 
All the remakes and imitators are just swimming in its wake...

With the recent box-office success achieved by the latest remake of 1974's `The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,' it's worth looking back at Tobe Hooper's original horror classic.

The movie tells a fairly simple tale at heart. A group of five teenagers driving through rural Texas happen upon a deranged, cannibalistic family. Psychological terror and chainsaws ensue.

Yet despite this simplicity, what is it about `The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' that continues to succeed so with its audience? Outside of one memorial scene involving a meet hook; the movie is not particularly gory by today's standards. The film's characters and actual scares are not that remarkable.

The power of `The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' lies in its atmosphere and in what H.P. Lovecraft called `the oldest and strongest kind of fear': the fear of the unknown. The later of these two staples of great horror is often cast aside in modern horror movies-especially in those churned out by the great Hollywood engine. Instead, every mystery must be explained away, every mask ultimately pulled from a monster's face, and not a moment of exposition is spared. It is interesting to note that the filmmakers behind the latest `Chainsaw' film chose to implement all three of these stylistic vices in their remake.

In the original, the feeling of dread and mounting paranoia creeps over the viewer in slow but steady waves. The first scene in the film depicts a desecrated grave with a voiceover of radio newscast, immediately followed by an opening credits sequence set against a backdrop of roaring solar flares. This, along with some idle astrological chatter on the part of one of the teenagers early on, leads to a feeling of cosmic disarray in the lonely Texas hills they traverse.

Questions about the villain's mask or the field of cars under camouflage netting are left for the viewer to answer on his or her own. At worst, in the loss of any acceptable answer, they are forced to ponder that terrible and limitless gulf of the imagination: the unknown.

In it's later stages, the film becomes a cacophonous world of throat-peeling screaming, blood-shot eyes, laughter, and grinding machinery. One is forced to recall the solar flares in the film's opening credits. In the climax of famous dinner scene, there is a feeling of cosmic forces pressing in on reality and warping it into some crude mockery of order, as if the world were but a TV or radio signal distorted into madness by flares on the surface of the sun.

In the 29 years since `The Texas chainsaw Massacre' hit theaters, there have been countless imitators and four additional films in the franchise, three of them remakes. Yet as loved and influential as the original classic has been, many who would seek to emulate its vision seem to overlook its true strengths.


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