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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 86,270 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 806 user | 261 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:

For them, an Idyllic summer afternoon became their worst nightmare! [Australian, Video] See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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

Alternate titles for the film included "Headcheese", "Leatherface" and "Stalking Leatherface". See more »

Goofs

There are two identical meat hooks next to each other in Pam's murder scene, one of which she's skewered upon. However, based the the position of the spare hook, the point of Pam's hook would be above her shoulder and not sticking in her back. 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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Connections

Referenced in Dude Bro Party Massacre III (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Glad Hand
Timberline Rose
(Recorded at Hill on the Moon, Austin, TX., Engineer: Jim Inmon)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Indisbutably a classic of cinema, and not just horror cinema
16 January 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Those who have posted here comparing Tobe Hooper's (one and only) masterpiece with the dreadful remake are presumably young children with no real understanding of cinema. The 1974 film is the antithesis of the slick, MTV-influenced, cynical cash-in mentality that informed the later remake. The fact that the remake's target teen audience (well, at least some of them) appeared to lap it up is just a sad reflection of how far standards have fallen since the heyday of the horror film in the 70's.

But Hooper's CHAINSAW is more than just a classic horror film. With its print in the permanent collection at the NY Museum of Modern Art, it truly is a classic of cinema. I've shown this to Bergman fans, Tarkovsky fans and, yes, horror fans too - none of them have been prepared for its power, its inventiveness, its willingness to push the envelope of what cinema can do. And, with its simple story and powerhouse, unstoppable delivery, it is as open to interpretation as any piece of "modern art" - whether it be from the "vegetarian treatise" angle, or the post-Vietnam traumatised America school of thought. But, as I was on my first (of several) viewings, those I have introduced to this movie have been bowled over by the quality of the film-making, and the filmic techniques (soundtrack, editing, startling images) used by Hooper to capture his "waking nightmare" on screen. It is something I really don't think any other film has quite achieved, though many have tried.

Now, of course, there is a fluke element at work here. Hooper never came close to achieving anything like this again, and many, though not all, of the film's fascinating resonances are a product of the era and the filmmaker's unconscious sensibilities. What he obviously had as a director was the kind of daring to take the visceral power that cinema can deliver so well to the limit, to the the edge of acceptability, skirting on exploitation. That the film is so unrelentingly dark and so unbelievably sadistic in its second half, and yet fascinates even as it traumatises, is a definite testimony to the skill of its director. What could have been sleaze is instead a horrible nightmare experience, sure enough, but one that borders on the transcendental. Should be seen by ALL students of cinema at least once in their lifetime.


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