The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is arguably what truly started the modern slasher genre. It’s just that it came out in the 70’s when traditional horror movies were at their peak. What made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre really stand out, is that it’s hardly a massacre. Since there’s actually barely any blood in it. Director Tobe Hooper wanted a PG rating, but I would agree that it’s just too disturbing. Which is why Leatherface is the last of the slasher icons I ended up seeing. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is based on true events. Not really, but the grainy quality makes it feel realistic.
An early group of possibly sex-crazed teens travels to Texas. For some reason they pick up an obviously crazy hitchhiker. Then they attempt to get gas, but the proprietor tells them they’re out. So they stay at an abandoned house. Next door they’re introduced to Leatherface. A huge apron wearing, chainsaw (or mallet) wielding inbred maniac. He’s played by the hulking Gunnar Hansen and is inspired by serial killer Ed Gein. The name derives from the human skin he wears on his face. He also decorates with human bones. He’s silent like other slashers, but he does make noises since he has the mind of a child.
SPOILER ALERT! After killing her wheelchair bound brother and all her friends, final girl Sally Hardesty’s nightmare is only beginning. It turns out the hitchhiker, proprietor, and Leatherface are all part of one big cabalistic hillbilly family. A family that includes a practically dead Grandpa. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is scary because of its eerie atmosphere, uncomfortable dinner scene, and implied killings. A victim being impaled on a meat hook is disturbing whether you see it or not. Despite the title, only one person is killed by a chainsaw. In the end, a Leatherface in drag lives, flailing his chainsaw in the air as Sally escapes. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre doesn’t need gore to be disturbing.
Followed by: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2