The 100 best horror films - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

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Number 3: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

By Derek Adams, Dave Calhoun, Cath Clarke, Sarah Cohen, Nigel Floyd and Tom Huddleston, with the generous support of everyone at FrightFest and Cine-Excess. Explore the individual top tens of every contributor.

| 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 |           | No 10 | No 9 | No 8 | No 7 | No 6 | No 5 | No 4 | No 3 | No 2 | No 1 |

3

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Dir Tobe Hooper (Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns)

Sounds like the neighbours are doing DIY again

There are horror films which bend the boundaries of the genre, which deal with the psychological, the suggested or the subtly thematic – and then there are the sheer, in-your-face, terrifying horrors which threaten to drain your body of sweat and lock your jaw shut forever. This is one of the latter. There have been sequels and remakes and plenty of pretenders looking to steal the film’s terrifying demonisation of those strange folk who live in the woods with a link to the local abattoir, but this is where it began. Its methods are basic: innocent kids (a guy in a wheelchair! A blonde girl!), a creepy house in the forest, nighttime chases through the trees, the sound of the chainsaw, the killer’s mask… This is high-energy peril, right up until the frenzied final scene on the road as dawn arrives. Simple and sick. DC

What the experts said

  • ‘A film from hell. Low budget, dirty and wrong.’

    Eduardo Sanchez
  • ‘Burned in my memory forever!’

    Tom Six
  • ‘A feverish oven of sweat, grease and rage – and probably the best American satire made.’

    Joshua Rothkopf
  • ‘Raw power courses through every frame of this darkly comic endurance test. Relying on masterful suggestion rather than gratuitous gore, it crawls under the skin and straight into your nightmares.’

    Billy Chainsaw
  • ‘The only film that, as an adult, has given me a sleepless night. From the moment that Leatherface killed that first guy with the hammer, I couldn’t leave my seat. I was trapped.’

    Gareth Evans

Watch a clip from 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre'

Shudder at the awesomely unsettling (but relatively violence-free) hitchhiker scene

| 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 |           | No 10 | No 9 | No 8 | No 7 | No 6 | No 5 | No 4 | No 3 | No 2 | No 1 |



Users say

6 comments
jb
jb

Repulsion?

godfreyh
godfreyh

They don't "live in the woods". And their house isn't "in the forest"

JohnWaynman
JohnWaynman

"From the moment that Leatherface killed that first guy with the hammer, I couldn’t leave my seat." All in all, I've basically watched two scenes in this movie - the first kill, and the second "kill" (well, pre-kill). After the first one, I felt hooked. After the second one, I wished I hadn't been. And that only sounds funny because it isn't.

JohnWaynman
JohnWaynman

"and then there are the sheer, in-your-face, terrifying horrors which threaten to drain your body of sweat and lock your jaw shut forever." "‘Raw power courses through every frame of this darkly comic endurance test. Relying on masterful suggestion rather than gratuitous gore, it crawls under the skin and straight into your nightmares.’" I love how all these descriptions make it sound like an ultimately exciting, positive experience - so much pepper, so scary and rough! Then you watch a few scenes...

Steve C
Steve C

Hmmm, I guess when you have to come up with 100 horror movies the list is gonna have some questionable choices........anyway for me a serious horror gore fest junkie for over 30 years now Texas Chainsaw Massacre is THE ONE without a doubt, absolutely horrifying movie. Hostel 1 and 2 are not so much horror but very frightening nonetheless as those people could easily be you. What about Gary Oldman as a Vampire in 1992 movie Vampire, now that was some creepy shit right there!!!

Davey Kinwell
Davey Kinwell

Pure masterpiece. Should be on the 1st position in my opinion. Grim, gruesome, sleazy, creepy, scary as no other movie.