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October 11, 1974

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a 1974 American slasher film produced and directed by Tobe Hooper from a story and screenplay by Hooper and Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen, who respectively portray Sally Hardesty, Franklin Hardesty, the hitchhiker, the proprietor, and Leatherface. The film follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals while on their way to visit an old homestead. The film was marketed as being based on true events to attract a wider audience and to act as a subtle commentary on the era's political climate; although the character of Leatherface and minor story details were inspired by the crimes of murderer Ed Gein, its plot is largely fictional.

Hooper produced the film for less than $140,000 ($700,000 adjusted for inflation) and used a cast of relatively unknown actors drawn mainly from central Texas, where the film was shot. The limited budget forced Hooper to film for long hours seven days a week, so that he could finish as quickly as possible and reduce equipment rental costs. Due to the film's violent content, Hooper struggled to find a distributor, but it was eventually acquired by Louis Perano of Bryanston Distributing Company. Hooper limited the quantity of onscreen gore in hopes of securing a PG rating, but the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rated it R. The film faced similar difficulties internationally.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was banned in several countries, and numerous theaters stopped showing the film in response to complaints about its violence. While it initially drew a mixed reception from critics, it was highly profitable, grossing over $30 million at the domestic box office, equivalent with roughly over $150.8 million as of 2019, selling over 16.5 million tickets in 1974. It has since gained a reputation as one of the best and most influential horror films. It is credited with originating several elements common in the slasher genre, including the use of power tools as murder weapons, the characterization of the killer as a large, hulking, faceless figure, and the killing of victims. It led to a franchise that continued the story of Leatherface and his family through sequels, prequels, a remake, comic books and video games.

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  • Rube Roach Scream

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