Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Featured in Joe Bob's
Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History

Perhaps the scariest movie ever made, starring Gunnar Hansen, an erstwhile Austin poet turned chainsaw-wielding maniac, as "Leatherface," the most disturbed member of a very disturbed backwoods cannibal family. We all have our favorite scenes in "Saw." I guess mine is when the cannibal family tries to feed Marilyn Burns to Grandpa, but Grandpa's too weak to suck through a straw or lift his dinner hammer high enough to crush her brain into potato salad. A lot of people like the Pam-in-the-deep-freeze scene, or the one where Franklyn is running his wheelchair through the woods and whining about how he's a paraplegic and all of a sudden he gets a McCulloch stomach message. But there's also the great moment when the gas-station guy stuffs Sally into a bag, puts her in the cab of his pick-up, and jabs her with an iron poker all the way to the house. Marilyn Burns remains the best screamer in the history of the drive-in. The macabre black comedy was the debut film of Tobe Hooper. Hooper would go on to make "Poltergeist," Lifeforce, "Salem's Lot," and a slew of other scary movies, but none would ever live up to the reputation of "Saw," which became a national symbol of everything that had gone wrong with American culture, continuing to inspire denunciations from the floor of Congress a full 25 years after its release. It inspired three sequels, the first directed by Hooper, the third (and best) written and directed by the screenwriter of the original, Kim Henkel. (See RETURN OF THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.) With Allen Danziger, Terri McMinn, Bill Vail, Jim Siedow, Ed Neal and Paul Partain. 4 stars

© 2000 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved

For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at www.Joe Bob

Joe Bob's latest book is Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History (Joe Bob's website will get a small royalty to help make ends meet if you use this link)

"Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movies are available on video and on DVD

On to Joe Bob's reviews of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3

For sequel-fu, Joe Bob prefers Return Of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Back to Monstervision, or TV Listings at

Elvis has left the building, and he took Joe Bob with him.