The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Slasher Film  |   Release Date - Oct 1, 1974 (USA)  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Fans of today's gore-and-guts shockers may be surprised to learn that this notorious shocker is among the least bloody of modern horror films. But looks can be deceiving. It still packs quite a punch, and may well be the scariest film ever made. Director Tobe Hooper adopts a documentary-like style using static set-pieces, grainy film and a no-nonsense technique. This method was necessitated by budget, of course -- the film was made for next-to-nothing, using drama students from the University of Texas -- but for some odd reason, it works. It's not really a movie. As it unfolds, it comes across as a filmed nightmare, and it gets under the viewer's skin like no horror movie before or since. The scene in which Marilyn Burns is held captive at the cannibal family's dinner-table is almost surrealistic in its relentless depiction of insanity and horror. By the time they wheel down Grandpa (John Dugan), it's nearly unbearable. Suffice it to say that fans of relentless horror should make this film their first priority.