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Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen
The two most important horror movies in light of the current state of the genre are Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Halloween is the prototypical slasher flick. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a slasher, too, but it stands out from Halloween because of its extreme grit. Watching Tobe Hooper's 1974 film, even today, is too much like watching a snuff film.
It is one of the only films this writer has ever seen that, when the killer first appeared, triggered a horrible looping thought of: "I don't want to watch this I don't want to watch this I don't want to watch this." And the writer has seen many horror movies. But there's something so—it seems silly to use a meaningless word like "real." There isn't a word for this. It's just terrifying.
The film, on paper, is patently ridiculous. Family of cannibals. Van of kids. Death. But truly, this movie is scary. Too scary. —RS