By EW Staff
October 16, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Everett Collection

”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” made our countdown of the 13 scariest movies of all time

Truth is stranger than fiction…and it’s a hell of a lot scarier, too. Based (like much of Psycho) on the horrific ritual murders committed by Ed Gein, Chainsaw looks, feels, and smells so much like a grainy, low-budget documentary that it borders on snuff. It opens with a sober-voiced narrator (a young John Larroquette) detailing a heinous killing spree. Then we see the split-second flashbulb pops of crime-scene carnage before finally meeting Leatherface — a deranged homicidal lunatic wearing a butcher’s apron and a mask stitched out of human skin. Director Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist) says that when he settled on the film’s title, ”I lost several friends. But I thought, They’re putting so much energy into hating the title, maybe there’s something there.” Indeed there is; a copy of Chainsaw resides in the Museum of Modern Art.

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