The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Cert 18.

Director - Tobe Hopper.

Writer - Tobe Hooper.

Starring - Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, Teri McMinn & Gunnar Hansen.


Premise - A group of young adults pick up a strange hitcher on a road trip to find an old house that belongs to one of their parents. When they kick out the clearly deranged hitcher and find the house, things take a turn for the worse..........

Banned in the UK until 1999, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a gruelling experience. A slim 87 minute running time leaves no room for a breather as director Tobe Hooper racks up the tension right from the beginning monologue.

A creepy voice-over and yellow text on a black background is our introduction to this macabre tale. We cut to the kids in a van, laughing and kidding around. Hooper then starts to turn the screw when they pick up the crazy hitcher. As the film goes on and the bodies pile up, the lack of gore is more than made up for by the feeling of dread in the air that continuously haunts the movie.

Critical to the creepy feel of the film is it's realism. Filmed almost in a documentary style with handheld cameras and nice use of light. The film conveys a sense of reality that many modern horror films seem to disregard. The realism is heightened further by the cast.

Made up of unknowns the cast are nothing short of convincing. Be they over sexed hippy kids, lunatic hitchers or leatherfaced, chainsaw wielding killers. The most convincing however, is Marilyn Burns as Sally Hardesty. For the majority of the movie she is being chased by the cannibal family, tortured and beaten. The terror on her face is completely convincing. She looks beaten up, tortured and is almost always screaming. She looks terrified and the audience feels her terror and is affected accordingly.

Shot for a paltry $140, 000 the look of the film betrays it's low budget roots. It looks like a film that cost many times the amount it did. The set design is excellent, the cannibal's house is decorated with animal skins and human bones adorn furniture and hang from the ceiling. It's a creepy looking place and suits the mood of the film to a tee. This constantly looks like a much more expensive film, especially when the chase spills out onto a main road. It's a scene off impressive scope and wouldn't look out of place in a big budget action film.

Whilst the film is violent, there is little or no gore. I read that Hooper was trying to make a PG rated movie. Whilst there is little blood and guts, the emotional impact of the movie ensures that it is definitely only for mature audiences. In-fact you can see what the BBFC's problems with the movie were. They have a habit of not liking violence against women in films and Chainsaw is basically 87 minutes of violence against women. Thank god that they saw sense and decided to release it, this is an important horror film that must not be missed by fans of the genre.

A genuinely affecting horror movie that loses some marks because of the slightly dated look of the movie.


8/10 for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Poster Quote - This ain't Scooby Doo!