Tobe Hooper’s landmark horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was released in October of 1974. But the events the movie purported to chronicle supposedly took place on August 18, 1973 — making today the 50th anniversary of the (fictional) Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
That date appears at the end of the original Texas Chain Saw’s opening crawl, which reads that “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.” The crawl was famously read aloud by actor John Larroquette.
(The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was actually a work of fiction, albeit one very loosely based on the actions of a real-life serial killer named Ed Gein. But hey, calling it an “account” of a “tragedy” makes for a great and terrifying opening.)
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After the opening crawl, this title card appears:
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre became a major independent hit of the early 1970s, spawning a franchise that continues to this day. The most recent film sequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, premiered just last year on Netflix, and purported to be a direct sequel to the original movie, and featured Leatherface massacring another group of teenagers, and battling the survivor of the original film, Sally Hardesty. (If you haven’t seen it, uh, maybe celebrate the anniversary by watching the original movie instead.)
And just in time for the 50th anniversary, there is a brand new The Texas Chain Saw Massacre video game, which lets users play as either the franchise’s signature killer Leatherface or as his potential victims.
Happy Texas Chain Saw anniversary to all who celebrate.