The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
- 1 hr 24 min
For other uses, see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a 1974 American independent horror film directed by Tobe Hooper and written collaboratively by Hooper and Kim Henkel. The film stars Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Teri McMinn, William Vail, Edwin Neal and Paul A. Partain. While presented as a true story involving the ambush and murder of a group of friends on a road trip in rural Texas by a family of cannibals, the film is completely fictional. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre started the six films of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre film franchise revolving around the character of Leatherface, portrayed by Hansen in this film. In drafting his story, Hooper took into account the history of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, as well as perceived lies of the American government. Producing on a budget estimated around $140,000, Hooper cast relatively unknown actors for his film, drawing people mainly from the areas surrounding the Texas filming locations. Principal photography of the film took place between July 15 and August 14, 1973. When the film was completed, Hooper struggled to find a distributor for the film because of the graphic depiction of violence; when he did secure a distributor the MPAA gave the film an R-rating, instead of the PG-rating Hooper had intended. Bryanston Distributing Company released The Texas Chain Saw Massacre theatrically on October 1, 1974. Because of the content, several foreign jurisdictions banned the film. It drew mixed critical reception initially, receiving both praise and criticism regarding the atmosphere, story, characters, and graphic content, but it became a strong commercial success, grossing $30.8 million at the United States box office. Despite the mixed critical reception, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has gained a reputation as one of the greatest and most influential horror films of all time, originating several topoi common in the slasher film genre, including the characterization of the killer as a large, hulking and faceless figure and the use of power tools as murder weapons.