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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Not Rated | | Horror | 4 October 1974 (USA)
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Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

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(screenplay by), (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Sally
... Jerry
... Franklin
... Kirk
... Pam
... Hitchhiker
... Old Man
... Leatherface
... Grandfather
Robert Courtin ... Window Washer
William Creamer ... Bearded Man
... Storyteller
Jerry Green ... Cowboy
... Cattle Truck Driver
Joe Bill Hogan ... Drunk
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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:

The idyllic summer's day that became a nightmare of fear and blood... [UK Video] See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

4 October 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Headcheese  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$30,859,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (new longer Version) | (Unrated Edition)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranks at #1 in Slant Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Horror Movies of all time. See more »

Goofs

When the group of teenagers pick up the hitchhiker, he goes crazy and cuts Franklin's arm, so they throw him out. As they throw him out, the van-door windows are shut. In the following inside shots, they're open. 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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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 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 the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

AUGUST 18, 1973 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

 
All the remakes and imitators are just swimming in its wake...
10 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

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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