Director: Tobe Hooper
Producer: Tobe Hooper
Writers: Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper
Stars: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hanson, Paul A. Partain
. . . had they lived very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day . . .
In 1974, there was no slasher. No Michael Myers, no Jason Voorhees, and certainly no Freddy Krueger. There was no monster-plagued suburbia, no broken closet doors. No “Do you like scary movies?” None of the telltale sh sh k k, the quiet orchestral reckoning that signals Jason’s approach. However, when October of 1974 rolled around, there was an onscreen monster who finally slayed more than just one victim. There was desert. And there was, emblazoned on billboards across real-life America, another question: “Who will survive . . . and what will be left of them?”
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) begins in Muerto County, Texas in the August of 1973: five young adults drive through the desolation. Sally (Marilyn Burns) and Franklin (Paul A. Partain) Hardesty have decided, on this plain August afternoon, to drive out to visit their grandfather’s grave and poke around the old family estate. They’ve enlisted their friends, Pam (Teri McMinn) and Kirk (William Vail), as well as Sally’s beau, Jerry (Allen Danziger), to join them, and the gang readily takes advantage of the opportunity for adventure, smoking joint after joint, pondering astrology, and making surprisingly interesting conversation. (Although, perhaps my surprise reveals a bias of my own . . . a giant fan of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise, I’m well-accustomed to the shallow talk of Camp Crystal Lake’s counselors.) As they drive, discussing fate and the stars—as, of course, Pam pages through her astrology magazine—the news blares over the radio. Trouble is afoot.
SPOILER ALERT: THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS DESCRIBE SPECIFIC SCENES IN THE FILM AND REVEALS THE ULTIMATE FATE OF THE CHARACTERS.