Here’s All ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Movies in Order
Grab your chainsaws because it's time to talk about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise!
It would be an understatement to say that some horror franchises become very convoluted. Sometimes it’s not the fault of creative teams and more so shifts in distribution companies, loss of rights, and so on. Regardless of what the case may be, true fans of a franchise are sometimes left jaded about the quality of later entries in the franchises they love.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to watch one awful entry after another. Soon you’re left with disappointing entries like Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1996) or Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993). The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is really no different, with some movies being disliked more than the others, often for good reason. And unfortunately, the timelines are hard to keep up with. Thankfully, this list will clear up any confusion for new fans or folks who simply forgot.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Ah, the classic that helped birth plenty of followups. The absolute horror that Sally’s (Marilyn Burns) group experiences when they travel to rural Texas is frightening—not just because of the family of cannibals, either. And Leatherface was definitely not the one to mess with. This film was actually one of the first to be labeled a “video nasty” and was banned in several countries after its release. Not all iconic or influential horror gained respect immediately, especially not when some parts of the film were loosely inspired by Ed Gein’s real-life crimes. In the end, the truth remains that this film is iconic in horror! And Tobe Hooper was a genius director who knew how to direct horror.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
A second movie in a franchise sometimes doesn’t live up to its predecessor. In the case of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), it’s a tossup. If you don’t like black comedy slashers, then you won’t like this sequel. Leatherface isn’t as scary, and his family members are more menacing than he is, with Chop-Top (Bill Moseley) being the most chaotic of the bunch. It focuses mainly on DJ Vanita “Stretch” Brock (Caroline Williams), a radio host who is harassed and kidnapped by Leatherface and his family. And there’s a rogue Texas Marshall obsessed with hunting the family down. Does it have a cult following? It sure does! But despite the great gore and some laughs, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)
Bananas, that’s the best way to describe this third entry in the franchise. The film’s focus is on a couple that gets stalked by Leatherface and his family. And also Ken Foree plays a survivalist named Benny, who helps them out. The plot isn’t all that unique, and the movie itself shouldn’t have been trimmed down. Nevertheless, it’s certainly not the worst entry in the franchise. It’s actually a pretty good time where slashers are concerned, and who doesn’t love seeing final girls lose their shit, Black characters actually survive to the end, and rapists get whooped?
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995)
Have I watched this movie in its entirety? No, I certainly have not. Plenty of horror fans warn folks not to bother because this movie is really not good. The film simply follows a group of irritating high schoolers who run into Leatherface and his murderous family on prom night. It’s genuinely a shame too because the plot could have been interesting if executed properly. And for this to be the last installment in the original franchise isn’t the greatest look, either.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
As far as horror remakes go, this is without a doubt one of the best. The aughts was quite the time for horror remakes, and it fed horror fans well. Just like the original, this film follows a group of young people who travel to Texas in the ‘70s and run into Leatherface and his family. This early 2000s horror entry had a hot cast for the group of friends, an eerie atmosphere, a horrifying Leatherface (not just in appearance, either), realistic gore, and perfect grittiness. Watching Jessica Biel go from rightfully terrified to persevering like a great final girl should is always great. Who could possibly forget her bravery during the locker scene?
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
Was this horror prequel entirely necessary? Not really. But it serves as a good slasher, and it’s the epitome of 2000s horror. This prequel is set 4 years before the 2003 remake and has its own formula. It follows two brothers and their girlfriends on their last road trip before the brothers are sent to serve in Vietnam. After getting into an accident, they end up being taken back to the farmhouse that Leatherface and his family reside in. This is one of the bleaker entries in the franchise (at least in my opinion). The suffering that the protagonists endure is horrendous, and by the end, you’re just hoping something goes right. For horror fans who actually like gore, this one hits it out of the park, not to mention the film follows that trend of having pretty people in the cast.
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
Somewhat nonsensical and poorly executed is what this strange direct sequel to the original is, and the group of friends is almost too insipid to even root for them. The movie follows a woman who finds out she’s adopted, goes on a trip with her friends to claim her inheritance, and meets Leatherface as a result. So much went wrong with this movie, but it’s remembered mainly for a cringey quote that Alexandra Daddario’s character delivers near the end.
For whatever reason, this entry had to be a prequel to the original and the 2013 entry, which absolutely contributes to how chaotic the timeline is. It’s certainly not a favorite amongst fans of the franchise, but it’s still something different compared to the disaster that the 2013 film still is. The film is meant to serve as an explanation as to why Leatherface became the killer he is in the original and 2013 entry. Somehow it makes that interesting though because there’s an explanation, though it’s somewhat bogged down by unlikable characters.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)
To say this film caused a huge ruckus in the horror community is almost simplifying things. This entry into the franchise caused a lot of reactions. Not all good either because it wasn’t the movie some folks were hoping for. It does have some memorable kill scenes (the bus scene alone was bananas), but it fails in ways a good horror movie shouldn’t. The characters aren’t very likable, there’s a severe lack of characters of color, and the plot is almost too ridiculous. And it basically shits on Sally as a final girl. But if you’re looking to just kick back and watch a slasher, then it’ll be enjoyable. Though for some folks it’s not worth the watch.
(featured image: New Line Cinema, 20th Century Studios, and Focus Features)
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