The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (franchise)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an American horror franchise consisting of seven slasher films, comics, and a video game adaptation of the original film. The franchise focuses on Leatherface, who terrorizes unsuspecting visitors to its territory, and typically kills and cannibalizes them. The original film was released in 1974, and was written and directed by Tobe Hooper, with additional writing credit going to Kim Henkel. Hooper and Henkel were involved in only three of the later films. The film series has grossed over $235 million at the worldwide box office, and ranks eighth in the United States box office in adjusted 2013 dollars when compared to other American horror series.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, released in 1974, written and directed by Tobe Hooper, was the first and most successful entry in the series. It is considered to be the first of the 1970s slasher films, and originated a great many of the clichés seen in countless later low-budget slashers. Its plot concerns a family of cannibals living in rural Texas, who abduct customers from their gas station. The film's most notable character, Leatherface, is one of the most well-known villains in cinema history, notable for his masks made of human skin, his blood-soaked butcher's apron and the chainsaw he wields. Although the film is marketed as a true story, it does not depict actual events, and is instead (as with the film Psycho) inspired by notorious killer Ed Gein, who acted alone and did not use a chainsaw. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) is set thirteen years after the events of the first film. Although it managed to recoup its relatively small budget, the film was not considered a financial success. Since its initial release, however, it has developed a cult following of its own. Unlike its predecessor, which combined minimal gore with a documentary-style nature, the sequel is a comedic horror film, filled with black humor and various gore effects created by make-up maestro Tom Savini. The film features an appearance by novelist Kinky Friedman as well as film critic Joe Bob Briggs. Briggs' cameo appearance was originally cut in editing, but was restored for the director's cut version of the film when it was released on DVD.
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III is a 1990 follow-up to the previous two films. It stars Kate Hodge, Ken Foree, and Viggo Mortensen and was directed by Jeff Burr. At the time, this was considered to be the first of several sequels in the series to be produced by New Line Cinema. However, it was not a commercial success, and New Line had no further involvement in the series. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is a 1994 sequel to the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). It largely ignores the events of the previous sequels, instead picking up twenty-three years after the original film. Some critics and fans consider it to be a remake due to the similarity of many scenes to shots in the original. As a result of this, The Next Generation has a poor reputation among horror film fans as well as critics. It stars Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, neither of whom had yet become major film stars.
The 2003 remake, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, directed by Marcus Nispel, written by Scott Kosar and produced by Michael Bay, is based on the events of the first film, however, for the most part, it follows a different storyline. A major difference between the two films, for example, is that rather than picking up Leatherface's psychotic hitchhiker brother, the group instead come upon a traumatized survivor who shoots herself in their van. The film gives Leatherface's background, a real name (Thomas Brown Hewitt), as well as a possible reason for his wearing masks, namely a skin disease which has caused his nose to rot away. The remake received a mixed critical response upon release, but was financially successful enough to lead to a prequel. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, which takes place in 1969, is the 2006 prequel directed by Jonathan Liebesman, written by Sheldon Turner and produced by Michael Bay. It explores the roots of Leatherface's family and delves into their past. Leatherface's first mask is featured, as well as the first murder he commits using a chainsaw.
The seventh film, Texas Chainsaw 3D, is a direct sequel to the original 1974 film, and makes no reference to the events of the other sequels. The film was directed by John Luessenhop, and written by Adam Marcus, Kirsten Elms, and Debra Sullivan. Texas Chainsaw follows a young girl named Heather, who is travelling to Texas with her friends to collect an inheritance from her deceased grandmother, whom she had never met. There, Heather discovers that she is part of the Sawyer family, who were killed by the townspeople following the events of the 1974 film, as well as a cousin of Leatherface.
When comparing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the other top-grossing horror film series- A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child's Play, Friday the 13th, Halloween, the Hannibal Lecter series, Psycho, Saw, and Scream - and adjusting for the 2011 inflation, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the eighth highest grossing horror film series in the United States, with a combined gross of $304.6 million, only outperforming the Child's Play film series with approximately $203 million. The series is led by Friday the 13th at $687.1 million, A Nightmare on Elm Street with $592.8 million, the Hannibal Lecter film series with $588.7 million, Halloween with $557.5 million, Saw with $457.4 million, Scream with $442.9 million, and the Psycho film series, with $376.3 million.
|Film||Release date (US)||Budget||Box office||Reference|
|1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)||October 1, 1974.||$140,000||$30,859,000||N/A||$30,859,000|||
|2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2||August 22, 1986.||$4,700,000||$8,025,872||N/A||$8,025,872|||
|3. Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III||January 12, 1990.||N/A||$5,765,562||N/A||$5,765,562|||
|4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation||September 22, 1995.
August 29, 1997. (re-released)
|5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)||October 17, 2003.||$9,500,000||$80,571,655||$26,500,000||$107,071,655|||
|6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning||October 6, 2006.||$16,000,000||$39,517,763||$12,246,643||$51,764,406|||
|7. Texas Chainsaw 3D||January 4, 2013.||$20,000,000||$34,341,945||$12,900,000||$47,241,945|||
Lionsgate has announced a new film in the series with an option for up to six more films. Deadline reports that Millennium Films is moving ahead with the film titled Texas Chainsaw 4, with production to begin in 2013 in Louisiana. This statement was later retracted by Millennium Films, who stated that while a sequel is very possible, nothing has been confirmed. In October 2014, Millenium Films confirmed that French filmmakers Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo will direct the film. Millenium Films collabrated with Lionsgate for a planned release in 2016. Seth M. Sherwood wrote the script for the film, which will be produced by Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, and Carl Mazzacone. In March 2015, The Wrap has reported that British actor Sam Strike is in talks to play Jackson, the young Leatherface.
Several comic books based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films were published in 1991 by Northstar Comics entitled Leatherface. They were licensed as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to Avatar Press for use in new comic book stories, the first of which was published in 2005. In 2006, Avatar Press lost the license to DC Comics imprint, Wildstorm, which has published new stories based on the films. However, in June 2007, Wildstorm changed a number of horror comics, including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, from monthly issues to specials and miniseries.
The series of comics featured none of the main characters seen in the original film (Topps Comics Jason vs. Leatherface series is exempt) with the exception of Leatherface, however, the 1991 "Leatherface" miniseries was loosely based on the third Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. The writer of the miniseries, Mort Castle said, "The series was very loosely based on Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. I worked from the original script by David Schow and the heavily edited theatrical release of director Jeff Burr, but had more or less free rein to write the story the way it should have been told. The first issue sold 30,000 copies." Kirk Jarvinen drew the illustrations for the first issue, and Guy Burwell finished the rest of the series. The comics, not having the same censorship restrictions from the MPAA, featured much more gore than the finished film. The ending, as well as the fates of several characters, were also altered. An adaptation of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was planned by Northstar Comics, but never came to fruition.
All American Massacre
All American Massacre is an unreleased film directed by William Hooper, son of Tobe Hooper, the director of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The film was to serve as a prequel to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film series. The film began as a 15-minute short, shot on high resolution digital video, but was eventually turned into a 60-minute featurette. A trailer for the film is shown on the official website. The film was to feature Chop Top who had been captured and placed in a psychiatric prison. Various memories of his family were to feature in the film, as he was interviewed by a tabloid television journalist. The score for the film was composed by Buckethead.
In 1982, a mass-market video game adaptation of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was released for the Atari 2600 by Wizard Video. In the game, the player assumes the role of Leatherface, and attempts to murder trespassers while avoiding obstacles such as fences and cow skulls. As one of the first horror-themed video games, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre caused controversy when it was released due to the violent nature of the video game and sold poorly as many video game stores refused to carry it. Wizard Video's other commercial release, Halloween, had a slightly better reception, however, the limited number of copies sold has made both games highly valued items among Atari collectors.
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- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre at the Internet Movie Database
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III at the Internet Movie Database
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation at the Internet Movie Database
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the Internet Movie Database
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning at the Internet Movie Database
- Texas Chainsaw 3D at the Internet Movie Database
- The Atari 2600 version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre can be played for free in the browser at the Internet Archive