Ranking “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” Movies from Best to Worst

“Who Will Survive and What Will be Left of Them?”

It’s been an interesting year for “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” fans as the movie series has finally been adapted in to what is, by all accounts, a popular survival video game. It’s also incidentally the twenty year anniversary of the shockingly popular Marcus Nispel remake, which continues to win new fans. With that said, I gave my personal ranking to all of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” films in the series. As always feel free to offer your own rankings or rebuttals the comments.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Tobe Hooper’s horror classic is in a league of its own. No other film has been able to capture its stark, gritty, relentless chaos, and violence. Everything about it is an endless hellscape null of any hope, joy, or optimism. From its vicious villains, its iconic madman, his roaring chainsaw, the endless torture endured by the slew of characters, to the closing scene of the final girl Sally having a veritable mental breakdown drenched in blood before our very eyes. Yeah she gets away in the end, but after all the hell she’s been through, is that really saying anything? Hooper’s slasher is a nasty but mesmerizing masterpiece. 

Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)
The second sequel to Hooper’s original is a fun and more straight faced attempt by director Jeff Burr, Armed with a fun performance by Ken Foree, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre III” is an absolutely underrated horror sequel. I know a lot of the fan base tends to favor part two over this one, but I have to say that watching this originally, it won my love and interest far more than the 1986 follow up ever really did.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
The beloved direct follow up from director L.M. Kit Carson is a bang up horror comedy soaking in violence and gore, and maintaining much of the chaos and havoc from the original, just set to a different beat. Along with introducing new characters like Bill Moseley’s Choptop to the mix, there’s also a great turn by Dennis Hopper who absolutely devours the scenery at every turn. This is fun, it’s weird, and it’s a follow up you’d never really expect coming from this universe.

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
I’m one of the very few people that loves John Luessenhop’s “Texas Chainsaw 3D.” Despite some gaping plot holes, this attempt at a reboot is loads of fun. It is one of the many movies from this series claiming to be the actual follow up to Tobe Hooper’s original film, while also skewing the whole depiction of the Sawyer family. This movie opts to depict the Sawyers more as misunderstood monsters, while Leatherface is transformed in to a force of nature corrupted by mankind. I get why people hate it, but I think it’s a blast. 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Helping to kick off the remake trend of the early aughts, Marcus Nispel’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” at the very least tries to echo the beats of the original, while also lending its own unique style and flavor for the modern audience. Gone are all the subtexts about the Vietnam War, and in comes a pretty rote slasher movie, all things considered. To compensate for the lackluster script folks like R. Lee Ermy and Jessica Biel pick up the slack well. It just sadly shoots itself in the foot in the climax by—chopping off Leatherface’s leg.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
Jonathan Liebesman’s follow up to Marcus Nispel’s remake is fine, I guess. It’s starker, and more straight faced than Nispel’s remake, but it botches telling its version of the origin of Leatherface. To make things worse, the movie is much more a display of R. Lee Ermy’s ability to steal scenes, rather than focus on Leatherface and his evolution. The script seems to know that there’s not much you can pull from Leatherface, thus the movie focuses on all of the Sawyer family, with Leatherface taking a back seat. Such a shame.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995)
The—reboot—uh, remake—uh, sequel—re-imagining (…?) of Tobe Hooper’s original is… one of the most bizarre, ridiculous sequels I’ve ever seen. Kim Henkel takes the whole simple premise of teens running afoul this horribly psychopathic family, and turns it in to a weird concoction of sub-plots about illuminati, secret organizations, and baffling plot twists. You could check this out for the very early appearances by Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger, but they’re just awful here.

Leatherface (2017)
Yet another “alternate” take on the Sawyer family intended to also explain away Leatherface, which seemed to be the opposite of what Tobe Hooper originally intended. Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo turn the Sawyers in to a misunderstood family on the run, while Leatherface is simply a young handsome man whose scars turn him magically in to the unintelligible giant maniac wielding a mallet and chainsaw. “Leatherface” is dull, silly, and sticks out from the rest of the series like a sore thumb.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)
The straight to Netflix original by David Blue Garcia is intended to be “the true sequel” to Tobe Hooper’s original film. How many times have we heard that already? The whole movie is a big legacy sequel meant to ride off the coattails of 2018’s “Halloween,” bringing back Sally Hardesty to take down Leatherface. Leatherface is miraculously still alive and begins wreaking havoc thanks to a bunch of Gen Z’ers that raid his run down town. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is just downright awful and unwatchable. It’s ridiculous, it thinks its more clever than it is, and spends so much time trying to “stick it” to Gen Z that it loses sight of being an actual horror film.