The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): A Brutal Classic in Slasher History

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 artwork cover. Fair Use. New Line Cinema

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Folks, prepare to journey back to the twisted heart of the 1970s, a time when the horror genre was forever changed. With “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974), director Tobe Hooper cemented a place for his film in the annals of horror history. Now, let’s rev up the chainsaw and dissect this enduring classic.

A Chainsaw-Wielding Icon

At the heart of this film is Leatherface, the deranged, chainsaw-wielding madman who instantly became an icon in the horror realm. Fun fact: Leatherface was portrayed by Gunnar Hansen, who was relatively unknown at the time. The character’s chilling presence left a permanent scar on the horror genre.

Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface, 1974
Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface, 1974

Grindhouse Grit and Guts

The magic of this film lies in its grit. Hooper’s raw, documentary-style filmmaking immerses you in the horror. From the moment you meet Leatherface to the grotesque discoveries the young travellers make in that Texas farmhouse, you’re on a relentless rollercoaster of dread.

Fun Fact: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was made on an incredibly tight budget. Despite the financial constraints, it went on to become one of the most successful independent horror films ever, grossing over 30 times its budget.

Sound Design to Make Your Skin Crawl

Sound is the unsung hero here. From the unsettling clatter of the chainsaw to the nerve-wracking dinner scene, the audio work enhances the film’s visceral impact. The in-your-face, dissonant soundtrack leaves no room for complacency.

The dinner scene, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974
The dinner scene, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974. Fair use

Action Reloaded’s Verdict

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is a spine-chilling work of art, a masterclass in crafting horror. Tobe Hooper’s influence in the genre cannot be overstated. If you’re a horror fan, this film is not just a must-see, it’s essential viewing. However, be forewarned, it’s not for the faint of heart. The relentless tension and gore are not easy to shake off.

★★★★★ Action Reloaded

To this day, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974) stands as a paragon of unrelenting terror. A brutal, visceral journey through madness, it’s a classic that forever altered the landscape of horror cinema. So, if you’ve got the guts, take a trip back to that fateful farmhouse in Texas, but remember to leave the lights on!

Read more on Leatherface or check out more horror reviews