Amidst the sea of slashers that came out from the early 1970s onward, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre stands as one of the more heralded and unique entries in the genre. Where Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street focused on brutal kills and a more polished, cinematic quality, Tobe Hooper‘s classic brings a raw nature to the screen that adds to its realistic feel and terror, all while inspiring the slashers to come. The impact of the film will be explored in a new documentary from veteran director Phillip Escott (The Found Footage Phenomenon) which just received a new trailer.
Titled The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the film invites critics and filmmakers from throughout the horror genre to discuss the elements of the film that made it into a classic. The trailer gives a tease of these discussions with the guests talking about their personal experiences with the film. From the get-go, the setting of a small house in rural Texas was a noted source of discomfort, setting up for the horror ahead. At the time, people didn’t know what to make of the film. The simple name that sounds like a real-life story of an American serial killing coupled with stripped-down box art that only reinforces this notion, it evoked a sense that it was scarier and more violent than it was.
Everyone in the documentary explains how that raw nature drives discomfort and how, despite its lack of blood and gore, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre feels grittier and more violent than it is. Whether it’s the more grounded, realistic methods of murder Leatherface employs or the gleeful torture the Sawyer family employs, there’s something that feels inherently wrong about the film. As horror icon Mick Garris (Amazing Stories) said of the film, “You feel a sense that the people making this movie may not be okay.” It’s that feeling Hooper brings to the film that ultimately made it a cult hit.
Aside from Garris, The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was able to get some serious horror brass including Bloody Disgusting’s head critic Meagan Navarro, Fangoria’s editor-in-chief, Phil Nobile Jr., The Daily Dead’s Heather Wixson, and Jason Goes to Hell director Adam Marcus among others. Veterans of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise are on board too, including Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) writer and producer Fede Alvarez and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) director Marcus Nispel.
Escott‘s Fractured Visions and Second Sight Films produced the documentary which will make its premiere at Fantastic Fest next month. Escott is no stranger to documentary filmmaking or the horror genre, with the Shudder documentary The Found Footage Phenomenon and the horror drama Cruel Summer under his belt. He’s worked on dozens of documentaries and shorts over the years, though his next film, 3 Days on Planet Earth, is a sci-fi horror film.
Check out the trailer for The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre below.