Cast and Crew: Tobe Hooper (Director, Producer, Co-Writer and Score); Gunnar Hansen
What It’s About: Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) and her wheelchair bound brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain) are on a trip to visit their grandfather’s grave and his now abandoned property with three friends. Their luck goes from bad to worse when they encounter a crazed hitchhiker and run afoul of a murderous clan of former slaughterhouse workers who still practice their craft on a very different animal. As the tagline famously asked, who will survive, and what will be left of them?
Why Watch it Today?: After John Larroquette’s infamous opening narration that sets the film up as a “true story”, a title card reads “August 18th, 1973”.
The film fits perfectly into a hot late summer day, with a real feeling of the uncomfortable nature of such weather. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remains an intense, difficult to watch horror film, justly deserving its infamous reputation and far superior to all of its sequels and remakes. Not quite a slasher film, as many suggest it is, it is a very visceral take on childhood fairy tales of visits to the homes of backwoods dwelling monsters, witches, cannibals or other monsters.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not one of my favorite horror films, as I can never quite learn to fully enjoy something so uncomfortable, intense, and horrible. Indeed, I used to refer to it as an “endurance film”, as it spends more time creating the feeling of living through the characters awful ordeal than on more traditional suspense and thrills. I respect The Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘s power and influence and revisit it every so often to see if it is any easier to tolerate with age, experience, great knowledge of genre and repetition. It never is.
Where to Get It: Netflix (rental only) or Amazon
The excellent trailer: