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.

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

The “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” has been a movie series that’s experienced great highs and crushing lows. While surely it’s been a long running series with a lot of sequels, it’s also a series that’s been rebooted numerous times. “The Next Generation” is basically a remake of the original Tobe Hooper film set for a nineties crowd and it is god awful. It’s deliriously bad. You could almost consider it so bad it’s good, if you’re very forgiving, but in the end of the day it’s awful. It’s so awful even stars Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger have distanced themselves from it.

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Adventures In Fantasia [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

I got started as a critic in 2004 when I covered the Fantasia film festival for Film Threat. At the time I was pretty active on the Film Threat web board and one of the moderators, I believe it was Eric Campos, asked if I could attend the festival and write something for the magazine since I lived nearby. I must have done a good job because he let me stick around to do more stuff, mostly review indie films and write a series called “Versus” where I compared remakes with the original.

It was fun, but eventually I had to slow down because I was burnt out. I realize that “watching movies” doesn’t sound exhausting, but I always felt a deep sense of responsibility to both the readers and the filmmakers. It felt wrong to just go “This film sucks!” or “This film rocks” without exploring every little detail on screen and analyzing every aspect of the production.

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]


Forget what Hollywood has tried to feed you, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2” is the actual sequel to Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece, and is widely embraced by horror fans as such. It’s the wacky and surreal embracing of the madness from the first film carried over from the nihilistic cynical seventies, in to the consumerist eighties, where the Sawyer family is now devoting their lives to mutilating yuppies, and going around the world selling their own brand of chili that’s made of people. Hooper’s sequel is a massive tonal departure from the more disturbing original, introducing actual nemeses for the Sawyers including Lefty, a vengeful cowboy hell bent on bringing down the Sawyers, and Stretch, a hapless DJ who becomes the unfortunate recipient of attacks by the Sawyer family when she hears them murdering two victims when one of them calls her randomly.

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): 40th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]

TCM40Forty years later and there’s still nothing like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Not a single film no matter how brutal has managed to be as unsettling and nerve rattling as Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece. It’s astonishing how Hooper’s master work hasn’t aged a day and still retains much of its raw guerilla filmmaking aura. The man and the cast suffered to make his horror thriller about maniacs in the South, and it shows through every single film cell.

“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is a horror film I not only respect, but revere, if only because it bears such a realism to it that feels as if Tobe Hooper let loose a bunch of lunatics on an unwitting cast of actors. Much in the realm of Ruggero Deodato’s “Cannibal Holocaust,” there’s the sense that Hooper clings very closely to reality, and covers every single aspect of this vicious environment. You can sense the thick stifling heat, the horrific confusion and chaos, and Leatherface. Leatherface is still the wild insane rabid dog let off of his collar, free to roam as he pleases. Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface is still a terrible force of nature who spares no one, and inflicts immense punishment on the flower children.

It’s interesting to see how Tobe Hooper doesn’t just provide a flawless masterwork of horror, but also manages to depict a very rotten and disgusting environment by sight alone. Every aspect of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” feels very aged and filled with years of decay, and Hooper is a master at creating so much out of very little. Hooper’s horror film is still an iconic artifact in grade A horror filmmaking, as well as building an entire narrative around chaos and pure anxiety. From Sally’s forced attendance at the family dinner, to her insane cackling in the final scene of the film as she bathes in blood, director Tobe Hooper’s film takes on a pulse all its own that’s yet to be duplicated or rivaled to this day.

The 40th Anniversary Edition comes with four audio commentaries. There are about six hours worth of commentaries, with director Hooper sitting down with the surviving cast and crew of the film. There’s an audio commentary with Director/Writer/Producer Tobe Hooper, Actor Gunnar Hansen, and Cinematrographer Daniel Pearl, there’s a second commentary with Production Designer Robert Burns and cast members Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, and Paul A. Partain. There’s an audio commentary with Tobe Hooper, and finally a commentary with Cinematographer Daniel Pearl, Editor J. Larry Carroll, and Sound Recordist Ted Nicolaou.

Butcher Boys (2013)

butcherboys“Butcher Boys” is one half “Judgment Night” and one half of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” but in an urban setting. With a rash of disappearances occurring all over the city, two groups of people find themselves lost in the ghettos of an urban neighborhood. After a prank goes awry, two young men get beaten and killed by three psychotic armed thugs. The group that inflicted the prank realize too late that they’ve come across a lethal and dangerous group of kidnappers, many of whom are taking tourists and locals hostage for nefarious purposes.

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

Originally I was very upset at the notion of a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” back in 2003 when it was announced. The original is so perfect as is, it’s tough to think that someone would try to top it. Thankfully the remake didn’t top it, and after watching it I realized my antipathy toward it was pointless because “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is one of the many genre classics that’s been unofficially remade almost a dozen times already. So what’s the big deal? And as much as I enjoyed the sequels, they also couldn’t quite top the original film. And Tobe Hooper was behind the second film, oddly enough.

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