The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
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The 40th Anniversary Restoration of The 1974 American horror Classic.

In 1974, writer-producer-director Tobe Hooper unleashed this dark, visionary tale about a group of five young friends who face a nightmare of torment at the hands of a depraved Texas clan. Today it remains unequaled as a landmark of outlaw filmmaking and unparalleled in its impact as perhaps the most frightening motion picture ever made. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this beloved horror classic, MPI Media Group presents the original film restored from an all-new 4k scan authorized by director Tobe Hooper and featuring a dynamic new 7.1 surround sound mix.

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About the Film

In 1973, Tobe Hooper, a cast of unknown actors, and a crew of Austin film students and recent graduates headed to Round Rock, Texas, in the middle of July. For the next 32 days they worked around the clock in 100 degree weather to make The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The finished film cost $125,000 ($60,000 over budget) and was sold to Bryanston Pictures, a distribution company with ties to a well-known crime family. While the members of the original production never saw a dime, the movie became a huge hit on the drive-in circuit and eventually grossed $30 million, was invited to the 1975 Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight, and was acquired as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Since then, it has spawned three sequels, a remake, a prequel, a 3-D sequel, an Atari 2600 video game, four comic book series, and has become the eighth highest-grossing horror franchise of all time. In 2012, Sight & Sound magazine named it one of the 250 most important movies ever made.

Called a metaphor for America’s involvement in Vietnam, a critique of cannibalistic capitalism, a response to America’s dependence on foreign oil, a dissection of gender and family relations, an examination of the collapse of the 60s counter-culture, and an exploration of “the degenerative neuroses of the patriarchal white male mindset,” the only thing certain is that The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of the most influential horror movies ever made. The Exorcist had swept the country the year before, awakening widespread mainstream interest in horror movies, but The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was at the vanguard of the first wave of independent horror movies that transformed the American film industry. As Roger Ebert said in his original review, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre belongs in a select company (with Night of the Living Dead and Last House on the Left) of films that are really a lot better than the genre requires.”

Banned at one time or another in Finland, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia, West Germany, Chile, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Singapore, and Sweden, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre features so little onscreen gore that Hooper originally thought it would receive a PG rating. Released six years after George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), two years after Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left (1972) and a week before Bob Clark’s Black Christmas (1974), Texas Chain Saw Massacre was technically polished (even Roger Ebert praised it as “...well-made, well-acted, and all too effective...”) but it was a movie that came out of nowhere and felt dangerous. Wes Craven remembers seeing it for the first time and thinking, “Whoever made this must have been a Mansonite crazoid.”

But four years before John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) well and truly kicked off the slasher genre, Texas Chain Saw established the trope of the Final Girl, the iconic, hulking masked killer with an unusual weapon, and the notion of teenagers being killed off one by one as punishment for venturing into the Bad Place. It stands as one of the most important horror movies ever made, and as part of the American cinematic canon.