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Home > Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Franchise for Newbies

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Franchise for Newbies

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Which Film Installment New Fans Should Start With

Just getting into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, horror franchise with ten entries over the course of nearly half a century? Add to the mix a bunch of sequels and prequels that are out of order, and it would be pretty easy to get confused. Regardless of either going in chronological order or starting with the prequels, here are some things to keep in mind to better enjoy the ride.

How True Is it?

When watching the original film, one of the first  things to notice is how it is supposedly based on a true story. At one point, this was a common trend amongst horror movies, as this worked as a sort of marketing tactic. So is it based on a true story? The short answer is yes…and no. 

While there are no records of a family such as that depicted in the film ever existing, the character Leatherface is based on the notorious serial killer, Ed Gein. While he was only charged with two killings, Gein also made national headlines for robbing graves and collecting body parts, which he would use to create grotesque items such as furniture and masks. He was also found to have an odd obsession with his mother. There are numerous horror films that are loosely inspired by Ed Gein, such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. These films, however, often only use Gein as inspiration for their characters, whereas The Texas Chainsaw Massacre seems to be more based on Gein. Spend any amount of time searching these two up and the similarities are apparent.  

Both Gein and Leatherface collect body parts for grotesque arts and crafts projects. These two men also share an odd obsession with their family and lead lives of seclusion. The similarities are so obvious that one might confuse them as a father and son.

What Sets it Apart From Other Horror Franchises?

While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is far from being the most unique film in the horror genre, it certainly did everything outside the box in comparison to other popular slashers of the era. Many slasher films from the 1970s centered around one single violent figure out for blood. These films often felt campy and implausible, as these figures seemed almost otherworldly. Initially, what made this film stand out was how almost plausible it was. A group of friends getting lost, far from the safeties of civilization is a fear that many experience even to this day, where most cars come with some form of GPS. 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Something else about this franchise that helps it to stand out is its use of violence. While certainly not as over the top with gore compared to other slasher flicks, many of these scenes feel oddly realistic and elicit responses that may rarely be felt from similar films. For example, in a scene from the original 1974 film, a character is hit in the head with a hammer and immediately proceeds to have a seizure. There is no overreliance on fake blood and gore, which somehow makes it more disturbing. While later installments do start to lean towards a campy aura, similar scenes of violence are retained and are rarely captured outside of this franchise.

Where to Start?

As previously stated, this franchise can be confusing to keep track of, as it spans over half a century and goes from sequel to prequel. It can be difficult to recommend any particular starting point. The original is definitely the best entry in the series and some scenes will have more payoff for the viewer if they enter with no little to no prior information. On the other hand, the special effects implemented in later installments might be more appreciated by a modern audience.

More recent installments such Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) coolly implements special effects, which allow for more creative death scenes while also being a modern take on the franchise. This entry is a potentially stronger starting point, as it does not adhere to the events of previous entries and is also available to stream on Netflix.. In fact, this latest entry seems to change several aspects from past films that may leave the viewer even more confused if watching in chronological order.

New viewers should start with this latest entry because it is easy to follow and requires little to no past knowledge of past films. However, the original is streamable on Shudder. After watching the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, fans will be able to enjoy the rest of the films in any order, as they don’t reference each other.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022): Official Netflix Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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A lover of gore and over the top violence, no movie can make my stomach squirm. The only thing better than a bloody death scene is a well choreographed stunt. Whether it be action or horror, if it has blood in it, then I've likely already seen it.