En route to visit their grandfather's grave (which has apparently been ritualistically desecrated), five teenagers drive past a slaughterhouse, pick up (and quickly drop) a sinister hitch-hiker, eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, before ending up at the old family home... where they're plunged into a never-ending nightmare as they meet a family of cannibals who more than make up in power tools what they lack in social skills...
Tobe Hooper is a very wel known name in the horror genre and it is all because of this film. It's a shame Hooper has gone down hill fast the last couple of years. Don't get me wrong I liked his more recent films like The Toolbox Murders and Mortuary but only due to the entertainment level. It isn't nearly as brilliant as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre or even as good as his Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Eaten Alive which were both of his earlier days as well.
This film constantly has a sick vibe around it. The low budget works so well in this movie. It definitely adds to the realism. Every second of this film is sick and twisted. After you watch it a few times you'll also notice Hooper's eye for detail. Just look around in the rooms where the story takes place. This doesn't come close to a clean film set like you'd see in modern movies. This is exactly what the house of a mentally deranged farm family should look like. Rooms filled with bones, chickens in small cages and disgusting human parts.
Obviously The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is based on the 50's serial killer Ed Gein. Hooper finds an amazing mix between fiction and reality. The lampschades made of a human face, chairs made of human bones etc. are all based on Ed Gein. Leatherface however is a fictional character, apart from the human skin masks he wears which Gein wore too. Anywhay, Leatherface is portrayed brilliantly by Gunnar Hansen. He doesn't have a single line in the whole movie and that makes it even more special how Gunnar Hansen manages to create a body language that looks like a real insane, mentally deranged person instead of some tall bodybuilder who has no body expression.
Please.. Forget about Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween or Friday the 13th. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is as close to terror as you can come without actually hurting yourself. Get ready for a sick and macabre ride that will absolutely disgust you.
Fun Facts (Source:IMDB)
During the dinner scene towards the end of the film, when Leatherface cuts Sally's finger, he actually does cut her finger because they couldn't get the fake blood to come out of the tube behind the blade.
Director Tobe Hooper claims to have got the idea for the film while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get out through the crowd, he spotted the chainsaws.
A family was actually living in the house that served as the Sawyer family house in the later half of the movie. They rented out their house to the film crew and continued to stay there during the entire shoot. During filming, the crew discovered that one of the residents had been cultivating a marijuana field; fearful that production would be shut down if they were found near the plants, the filmmakers called the Sheriff, who never arrived to investigate.