The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

We discuss one of the most influential horror movies of all time, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and whether or not it’s as gory as it’s often thought to be.

Tags: Hillbilly Horror, Tobe Hooper, Slasher

Show Notes:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

  • Directed by Tobe Hooper

  • Written by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper

  • Starring Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal and Gunnar Hansen

  • Synopsis: A pair of siblings and their friends encounter deranged locals on a trip to rural Texas to ensure the safety of their grandfather’s grave amidst a slew of grave robberies.

  • More Info: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was marketed as being based on true events. That’s only partially true as the film was very loosely based on the serial killer Ed Gein, but the films raw, gritty style made it easy for viewers to feel like they were watching these horrifying events unfold in real time. Clearly, the theater experience struck a chord with viewers as this film grossed $30.9 million at the box office (the 12th highest film of 1974). Considering the film’s reported budget was somewhere between $80,000 and $140,000, this film was incredibly profitable. It spawned a franchise of a total of 8 films and led to Tobe Hooper being chosen by Steven Spielberg to direct his script for Poltergeist. Its legacy is still evident today in the genre conventions of both slashers and hillbilly horror films.

  • Our Discussion: Is this film as shocking and visceral in 2019 as it was in 1974? It’s sometimes mentioned that this film shows very little onscreen gore. We unpack that and push back on that notion a bit as we review the film, chat about the history, touch on what we consider to be the most impactful scenes, and discuss our own personal feelings about this film and the hillbilly horror subgenre.