The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre[note 1] is a 1974 American independent horror film directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Hooper and Kim Henkel. The film stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Teri McMinn, William Vail, and Gunnar Hansen. While it is 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 entirely fictional. It is the first of six pictures in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre film franchise, which features Leatherface (Hansen), a character modeled after Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein.

Hooper produced the film for less than $300,000 with a cast of relatively unknown actors, drawn mainly from the central Texas region where it was shot. Principal photography took place between July 15 and August 14, 1973. Due to its extremely violent content, Hooper struggled to find a distributor for the film; Bryanston Pictures eventually picked it up. Hooper had limited the amount of onscreen gore in hopes of securing a PG rating, but the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rated it R.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre debuted on October 1, 1974. The film initially drew a mixed reception from critics and it was banned in many countries; nevertheless, it became a strong commercial success, grossing over $30 million at the United States box office. Despite the early lack of critical consensus, it has gained a reputation as one of the most influential horror films in cinema history. It originated several elements common in the slasher film genre, including the use of power tools as murder weapons and the characterization of the killer as a large, hulking, faceless figure.

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