The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Classic 70’s Slasher

Alex Espinoza, Rookie Reporter

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most acclaimed classic horror movie masterpieces to date.

People thought The Exorcist (1973), which was released a year prior, was one of the most frightening movies to hit theaters. Then on Oct.1st, 1974, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released. Starring Marilyn Burns as Sally Hardesty, the stereotypical last surviving protagonist and Gunner Hansen (rest in peace) as Leatherface, this movie disturbed audiences around the world. 

Based loosely by Ed Gien, the infamous murder in Plainfield, Wisconsin. This film features plenty of scary scenes from the evil intentions of the Sawyer family. The Sawyer family consists of Jim Siedow (Drayton Sawyer), the main ringleader of the family, Edwin Neal (Nubbins Sawyer), the hitchhiker that the protagonists picked off the road, John Dugan (Grandpa Sawyer) who is the creepy looking grandpa restricted to a wheelchair, and Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface, a chainsaw-wielding maniac who craves for human meat and the tormented souls of innocent air-headed teenagers. 

To acquire a PG rating, Tobe Hooper, the producer of the film, reduced the amount of violence and gore in the movie. Instead, the MPAA originally gave the movie an “X” rating. After several revisements the the film, including cutting several minutes, the MPAA eventually retracted the egregious “X” rating to the movie to a paradigm “R” rating. The film was even banned and restricted from screening to various audiences in Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, and West Germany. This movie was not taken too kindly from all of these overdramatic measures.

Despite the film’s title, there is little to no gore on screen. Instead, we get an amazing atmosphere with plenty of frights and intentions to conflict with your emotions. To summarize, (spoilers ahead) the movie begins with a scrolling text that John Larroquette narrates, “The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” 

A chilling opening to this movie. To avoid any spoilers, a group of teenagers go to a cemetery after hearing Sally’s grandmother’s grave may have been vandalized. They then visit Sally’s old family farmhouse, but little do they know that the Sawyer family is living next door. The next sequence of events unfold the plot as one by one, each of the teenagers is killed. The surprisingly good ending perfectly wraps up the story as Leatherface, in a fit of rage, swings his chainsaw side to side.

This movie most definitely deserves its spot in one of the most infamous horror films of all time to hit the cinemas. From the evident grain and dirt from the 16mm film they shot in to the unsettling distorted sound effects, the film quickly surrounds you in a freaky atmosphere. The way each character is portrayed feels authentic and unique. You truly believe that these teens are being constantly tortured and frightened by the mind boggling, crazy Sawyer family. In conclusion, I highly recommend this classic horror flick to horror movie fans who love the grime and grit of a lovely contribution to the slasher genre.