Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Go To
Who will survive and what will be left of them?

Where do we even begin with this movie...?

  • The Hitchhiker. You can just see there's something seriously not right about him as soon as his first appearance, and of course, he provides much foreshadowing for the insanity the audience is about to witness ahead.
  • Leatherface: A crazed chainsaw-wielding maniac that holds absolutely no empathy for anyone and often lets his victims die slowly and painfully. Very painfully. Oh, and he wears masks made out of human flesh.
  • Leatherface suddenly appearing in front of Kirk and then striking him in the head with a mallet. What makes this even worse is that after being struck he spasms on the floor, only to be finally silenced when struck again.
    • The pig squealing-like noises Leatherface makes in this scene is also insanely disturbing.
    • It's worth noting that this scene was ranked as the 5th scariest movie moment of all time in Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
    • The sheer suddenness of Leatherface's appearance, let alone his first kill, accentuates the horror of the scene. The house is made out to look fairly ominous, but otherwise normal, and there's no music. Then suddenly, Leatherface, there's still no musical sting. He just jumps out from around the corner, hits Kirk over the head. Kirk spasms for a few seconds before Leatherface hits him again and drags him away. It manages to invoke the feel of Nothing Is Scarier despite something horrible actually happening onscreen.
    • Advertisement:
    • Also consider that before he appears, there is virtually no indication of who he is or what he's done.
  • Pam discovering a living room full of furniture made of human bones.
  • Leatherface chasing, capturing Pam and then impaling her through the back on a meat hook, allowing her to struggle on it in pure agony.
    • There's also the later scene when Jerry finds her in a freezer, still alive, as she attempts to spring out, only for Leatherface to kill Jerry and shove her right back in.
  • Franklin's death. Leatherface goes all out with the chainsaw here as he slices right through him.
    • Then there's the fact that he's always wearing different masks made out of the severed faces of his victims.
  • The gas station proprietor. Just imagine after desperately searching for someone to help you, the person you think you can trust turns out to actually be in cahoots with the people you're escaping from. Paranoia Fuel, anyone?
    • The fact that he kidnapped Sally and kept hurting her on the way to the house.
  • The Grandfather. Up until this point we thought, like the grandmother, that the grandfather was dead and his corpse was merely put on display. Then we see him sucking the blood from Sally's finger.
    • The fun fact of that scene is that Marilyn Burns actually got her finger cut. The reason for that was because one of the prop knives that has the plastic hose and fake blood in it wasn't working properly. So, Gunnar Hansen cuts her finger on purpose just to get through to the next sequence, the infamous "Dinner Scene".
  • The dinner sequence. All of it. Sally seeing her friends now being served as food and her subsequent reaction to this.
    • Just as bad is the true story of the filming of this scene. The food quickly spoiled under the hot lights, and eventually the smell started getting to everyone to the point that they would start to think they actually were their characters. Edwin Neal described it as the worst experience of his life (and this was after his tour in Vietnam).
    • It was also a 24-hour shoot (see Enforced Method Acting) and everyone was exhausted and probably dehydrated. The screams and bloodshot eyes were quite real.
    • Oh yeah, about the "think they actually were their character" bit. This includes Gunnar Hansen, and he described himself as actually considering killing Marilyn Burns when ordered to by his "brother" before snapping back to reality. The thought of it was chilling, especially coming from a Mean Character, Nice Actor.
  • The finale with Sally fleeing from Leatherface and Hitchhiker. Specifically horrifying about this sequence is when the Hitchhiker is run over by a truck (which we see completely on-screen) and Sally falling into hysterics upon escaping, giving a pretty strong implication that she will never be mentally well again after all this. The ultimate Bittersweet Ending.
  • That fucking camera noise, it's subtle at the beginning, but good god did it set the mood..
  • The close ups of Sally's eyes when she is freaking out.
  • The entire ominous/atmospheric ambiance soundtrack is this. Apparently, the trivia page on IMDb describes it perfectly well. "The soundtrack contains the sounds an animal would hear inside a slaughterhouse." Let that sink in...
  • On the DVD Commentary, Gunnar Hansen reveals that during one take of chasing Sally, he slipped on the wet grass and the still-running chainsaw went flying into the air, coming down blade-first just mere inches from his head.
  • The unsympathetic nature of the family. When Sally is captured, she begs that she will do anything just to stay alive. But the family ignores her wishes which showcases just how sadistic they are.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: