The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a brutal spin on an already violent genre, and it has been banned all across the world as a result. Tobe Hooper produced and directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974, based on a scenario and screenplay by Hooper and Kim Henkel. Sally Hardesty, Franklin Hardesty, the hitchhiker, the proprietor, and Leatherface are played by Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, and Gunnar Hansen, respectively.
The story follows a group of friends who are on their way to see an old farmstead when they are attacked by a family of cannibals. Although the persona of Leatherface and some storyline aspects were inspired by killer Ed Gein’s atrocities, the film’s premise is mostly fictitious.
Hooper made the picture for less than $140,000 ($700,000 adjusted for inflation) and cast mostly unknown performers from central Texas. Due to the restricted budget, Hooper was compelled to film for long hours seven days a week to complete the project as quickly as possible and save money on equipment rental.
Hooper struggled to find a distributor for the film because of its violent violence, but it was eventually acquired by Louis Perano of Bryanston Distributing Company. Hooper tried to keep the amount of onscreen gore to a minimum to get a PG rating, but the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave it an R rating. Internationally, the film had similar problems.
In reaction to complaints about the film’s violence, the Texas Chain Saw Massacre was banned in various countries, and many cinemas stopped exhibiting it.
While it received a mixed response from critics at the time, it was a huge financial success, generating over $30 million at the domestic box office, which is around $150.8 million in today’s money, and selling over 16.5 million tickets in 1974. It is now widely regarded as one of the best and most influential horror films of all time.