The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre can be found here.

When Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) and her wheelchair-bound brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain) learn that cemetery in Muerto County, Texas has been vandalized, they and three friends -- Sally's boyfriend Jerry (Allen Danziger), her best friend Pam (Teri McMinn) and Pam's boyfriend Kirk (William Vail) -- drive down to make sure that their grandfather's grave was not among the ones desecrated. On the way back, they stop for gas but find that the local station is out of gas and waiting for tomorrow's delivery, so they decide to visit their grandfather's old, abandoned homestead, not knowing that it is next to a house inhabited by a family of grave-robbing cannibals.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed from a screenplay written by American film-makers Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper (who also directed and produced). It was followed by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), and The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994) A remake, also titled The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was released in 2003.

This quote is from Gunnar Hansen (A.K.A.: Leatherface):


And double nope. Here's what Tobe (director) and Kim (writer) told me themselves one night during the filming. They had heard of Ed Gein, the man in Plainfield, Wisconsin, who was arrested in the late 1950s for killing his neighbor and on whom the movie 'Psycho' was based. So when they set out to write this movie, they decided to have a family of killers who had some of the characteristics of Gein: the skin masks, the furniture made from bones, the possibility of cannibalism. But that's all. The story itself is entirely made up. So, sorry folks. There never was a massacre in Texas on which this was based. No chainsaw either. And, in spite of those of you who have told me you remember when it happened, it really didn't happen. Really. Believe me. This is an interesting phenomenon. I've also had people tell me that they knew the original Leatherface, that they had been guards at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, where he was a prisoner. Maybe they knew somebody who dreamed of being Leatherface. It is, I suppose, something to aspire to.

How does the movie end?

Sally's screams only serve to make Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) and the hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) torment her further, squealing and mimicking her cries. When the gas station attendant (Jim Siedow) says he's had enough and there's no sense in waiting, the hitchhiker suggests that they let Grandpa (John Dugan) do the killing, since he was once the best at the slaughterhouse. The hitchhiker forces Sally to kneel over a tub while Leatherface helps Grandpa hold the sledgehammer. Grandpa's few feeble blows miss Sally, and she manages to break loose from the hitchhiker's hold and leap out a window. She begins running down the driveway with the hitchhiker and Leatherface, his chainsaw buzzing, close behind. She reaches the road just as a large semi passes. Caught off guard, the hitchhiker is hit by the truck and killed. The driver slows down, stops, and gets out of the truck just as Sally, screaming and covered with blood, runs up to him. The truck driver pulls Sally into his cab and closes the door. While Leatherface tries to cut through the door, Sally and the driver scramble out the other side and run down the road. Leatherface tries to follow, but the truck driver hits him with a large wrench. Leatherface drops the chainsaw and falls to the ground, but the chainsaw makes a large gash in his thigh. Although wounded and unable to run very fast, Leatherface continues to pursue Sally. The truck driver keeps running down the road, but Sally cannot keep up. She flags down a passing pickup and climbs into the back just as Leatherface catches up to her. In the final scene, the pickup driver pulls away, leaving Leatherface in the road waving his chainsaw while Sally's frantic cries turn into hysterical laughter.

No, although like independent or student films, it did have a rather low budget (approximately $85,000).

Marilyn and Paul were not fighting over the flashlight, it was part of the film, making them look like bro and sis having a typical disagreement. In the audio commentary of the DVD, it is revealed that Paul Partain, in real life, was sometimes as whiney and annoying as the character (Franklin) that he played in the movie. There are even stories that other cast members began to resent him. Gunner Hansen claims that he was happy to shoot Partain's death scene knowing that Paul Partain would be sent home once his work on the film was completed in that final scene.

When was this filmed?

Tobe began filming in July and August of 1973. He filmed for nearly six weeks. It took a while to be released to the theaters in 1974 because Tobe wanted to make some changes, fix sound editing, correct movie goofs, and give the final touch-ups.

Gunnar Hansen has revealed to Tim Harden, who later told me that Gunnar received $800 for taking on the role of Leatherface. The rest of the cast probably got around the same, maybe a little less, but Marilyn was probably paid the most, since she's in almost every scene of this film. She was there through all the six weeks of filming, and Gunnar was there for 4 weeks.

Marilyn and Gunnar got hurt the most while filming, but it was mainly Marilyn who took blows for the team. Marilyn got her finger cut by an impatient Gunnar because the fake blood wasn't coming out of the blade. She was cut on several branches during the chase scene (so a lot of the blood on her clothing is real), she had two inch thorns in her hair that had to be medically removed. She got hit in the head several times with a foam mallet. Tobe threw the panes of sugar glass down on top of her (which was crystallized), and she had to jump out a two story window in which she actually sprained her left ankle in the jump (her limp throughout the rest of the movie is real), and she had karo-syrup and red food dye (fake blood) all over her clothing and body, which dried to her skin in the hot Texas sun during the final days of filming. In order for the 6-foot-4 Gunnar to stand obviously taller than the rest of the cast, he wore boots with three inch lifts bringing him to the height of 6 feet 7 inches. Since these lifts made him taller, he wasn't used to having to duck while going through doors and such, so during filming he suffered many hits to the head. Also, Gunnar tripped and the chainsaw flew up in the air while filming the chase scene. In the extended ending in the bonus features, you see Edwin Neal (the Hitchhiker) lying face down on the road having fake blood poured onto him. Edwin has said that he was burnt by the black asphalt while having to lay there in the 100+ degree weather. Teri McMinn (Pam) was put through a great deal for the infamous "Hook Scene" during the filming. She was strung up on wire that was padded with Maxi-Pads between her legs, despite the padding, it was still quite painful. William Vail (Kirk) was accidentally struck in the head with a hammer by Gunnar while filming a scene.

On the back of the box of the 25th Anniversary, it reads, "Restored from the original 16mm ECO negatives." With that said, it must've been shot on Kodak 16mm Ektachrome.

Pioneer released the movie on a basic DVD in all regions with a standard picture quality. DarkSky then released The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 2 Disc Ultimate Edition DVD Set with exceptional image quality for this movie, the movie's best quality upgrade and Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. The Ultimate Edition also includes the original track for the movie which is a must have feature for all fans, 2 Audio Commentaries which include Director Tobe Hooper, Actors Gunner Hanson, Marilyn Burns and many more. Also included are two 70 minute Featurettes "The Shocking Truth" and "Flesh Wounds" two very extremely insightful documentaries into the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a 7 minute Featurette with a tour of the original TCM House. Something regarded very highly by TCM fans are the Deleted Scenes and Blooper Reel from this movie, which are very rare for a movie of this age. Although certainly the best available DVD at the time, Second Sight released The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: Three-Disc Seriously Ultimate Edition. As well as porting all extras from DarkSky's Blu Ray release, it includes two extra interviews, previously exclusive to the R2 Universal release, and corrects previous audio glitches. It is the definitive DVD release of the film. The movie has since been released on blu-ray DVD and seems to be a blu-ray upgrade of the 2 Disc Ultimate edition.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 4 months ago
Top 5 Contributors: Leather_Face_Thomas, WanderingGeek, Jonesgrl5, dallywhitty, bjn74

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