Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Nominee #17 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) is a slasher film that’s still thrilling and shocking to audiences even today. Directed by Tobe Hooper and written by him and Kim Henkel, the film centers around a group of friends who encounter a family of deadly cannibals. The film was marketed as based on true events, which attracted a great audience. Minor details and the character of Leatherface were indeed based on Edward Gein, known as “the Butcher of Plainfield.”
One day, Sally, her paraplegic brother Franklin, and friends Jerry, Kirk, and Pam go to Sally’s grandfather’s grave to investigate vandalism and grave robbery reports and then they decide to visit the old family homestead. On the road, they pick up a hitchhiker whose strange behavior is intriguing and disturbing. When they’ve had enough of him, they kick him out of the van.
When they arrive at the homestead, Kirk tells Pam about a swimming-hole and on their way there they stumble upon a house and call out to see if they can get gas. Kirk enters the home, and this is when Leatherface, a large man wearing a mask made of human skin, kills him. Pam enters next and finds a room full of furniture made of human bones. Leatherface gets her even as she tries to escape, and his killing spree begins.
When Jerry sets out to find Kirk and Pam, he finds the same house, and sees Pam impaled on a meat hook; still alive. He becomes Leatherface’s next victim. As darkness falls, Sally and Franklin head out to find their friends. But Leatherface kills Franklin with a chainsaw and goes after Sally. She escapes and reaches the gas station, only to be kidnapped by the gas station owner. She is taken to the same house where she sees the hitchhiker; and discovers that he’s Leatherface’s brother.
The realization is chilling.
The realization is chilling. They’re all one big family. In a struggle for her life, Sally escapes once again, Leatherface’s brother is run over by a truck. The trucker stops and he knocks Leatherface down, cutting his leg with the chainsaw. As they drive away, Leatherface flails his chainsaw in the air, angry and maniacal.
The film was banned in many countries. Several theaters stopped screening it when complaints about its violence increased. In time, it gained the reputation of being one of the most influential horror films ever made. A reputation that it still maintains today. It was a pioneering film and in many ways the most influential film in the slasher genre!