"They just shoot a bullet in their head, and then retract it...BOOM-shht! BOOM-shht!"
Description: Paul A. Partain as wheelchair-bound Franklin Hardesty explains how livestock are killed in the horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).
After hearing stories of grave desecrations in the area, Franklin Hardesty and his sister, Sally (Marilyn Burns) decide to check out their grandfather's grave at their old family homestead. Their friends Jerry (Allen Danziger), Kirk (William Vail), and Pam (Teri McMinn) travel with them.
Along the way, they pick up a ghoulish hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) with blood on his face. As they pass an old slaughter house, the Hitchhiker reveals, "I used to work there. My brother did too. My grandfather too. My family's always been in meat!" Upon hearing the gruesome confession, Franklin whispers to Sally, "A whole family of Draculas." When the Hitchhiker casually cuts his hand a straight razor, and then tries to cut Franklin, the teens stop the van and throw the weirdo out.
|Franklin:||Hey man, you ever go in that slaughter room or whatever they call it? The place where they shoot cattle in the head with that big air gun?|
|Hitchhiker:||Oh, that gun's no good.|
|Franklin:||I was in there once with my uncle.|
|Hitchhiker:||The old way... with a sledge! You see that way's better. They die better that way.|
|Franklin:||Well how come? I thought the gun was better.|
|Hitchhiker:||Oh, no. With the new way... people were put out of jobs.|
|Franklin:||Did you do that?|
|Hitchhiker:||[searches his bag for a few pictures] Look! I was the killer!|
|Franklin:||[looking at the pictures] Damn...|
As they near the Franklin's old homestead, an old two-story rock house that sits up on a hill, they are running low on gasoline and try to get gas from an old man (Jim Siedow) who runs the gas station. He tells them he is out of gas but expects a delivery in the morning.
After eating some delicious "home-cured meat" at the roadside gas station, the old man warns the teens who have decided to stay at the old house, "Well now look, you boys don't want to go messin' around some old house. Those things is dangerous. You're liable to get hurt. You don't want to go fooling around other folks' property. If some folks don't like it... they don't mind showing you."
The teens investigate the old Franklin property and then run across the old Sawyer house where Kirk, Sally and their friends, encounter a family of backwoods cannibals who begin to kill off the teens one-by-one. The primary villain is Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen), a hulking sicko in a leather mask who hunts his prey with chainsaws, sledgehammers and assorted cutlery.
With her brother and friends slaughtered, Sally is taken captive and served up to the rest of the family that includes the old man from the gas station, an aging graddfather, and the Hitchhiker who turns out to be Leatherface's younger brother.
Luckily, Sally breaks free and escapes through a window as Leatherface and the Hitchkiker give chase. Sally reaches the highway and the Hitchhiker is run over by a semi-truck. Meanwhile, Sally waves down a pick-up and jumps in the back of the truck. As it speeds away, Sally sees a furious Leatherface menacingly waving his chain saw in the air.
Note: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre opens with the following fictitious narration:
"The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, 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. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre."
The sequels The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986); Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990); and The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994) produced such memorable phrases as "Peel that pig and slice him thick"; "I'm gonna service you real good babe"; and "You have one choice, boy: sex or the saw! Sex is, well, nobody knows. But the saw, the saw is family!"
In the film Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers(1988) Jay Richardson as private eye Jack Chandler says, "I'd stumbled into the middle of an evil, insidious cult of chainsaw worshipping maniacs. I had to wonder if we'd let our religious freedom go too far in this country, or maybe our immigration laws were just too lax."