On February 18, the latest outing in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series- simply called Texas Chainsaw Massacre – was released on Netflix.
The ninth installment in the gory and grotesque TCM story, the movie hasn’t gone down all that well with audiences or critics, with reviews being very mixed but predominantly on the negative side.
In this piece, we’ll be ranking all nine movies in the franchise, from 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the new movie, and linking you to the places you can watch them all online.
While you’re here, why not check out our piece on where to watch the Best Picture Oscar nominees of 2022?
9. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
Watch on: Amazon Prime (rental/purchase)
Set four years before the 2003 movie, it’s about two brothers who, before being sent to serve in Vietnam, take their girlfriends on one last road trip. However, when they get into an accident, they end up in a secluded house of horrors with a chainsaw-wielding killer.
While it’s full of the usual blood and guts, this is a poorly written, poorly acted and poorly directed slasher, and the story lacks coherence. One to avoid.
8. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995)
Watch on: YouTube (rental/purchase)
Starring Hollywood A-listers Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey (when they were still budding actors), Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is a movie the two stars should both want to forget.
It’s about four teenagers who encounter Leatherface and his murderous family in backwoods Texas – this time on the night of their prom.
A cynical reimagining-cum-shameless rehash of the original movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation really isn’t great. Zellweger and McConaughey both shine, but otherwise the most creative element of the movie was to put Leatherface in drag, which was just… odd.
7. Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III stars Kate Hodge and William Butler, but also features The Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen in one of his earlier roles.
This movie sees Leatherface and his cannibalistic family stalk a California couple and a survivalist in the backroads of their native Texas.
This movie was reportedly edited to give it an R-rating when it was originally shot to have an X certificate – and the lack of truly hardcore gore is very noticeable as a result. It’s as sadistic as any Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, but it’s also unintentionally amusing at times – which actually makes it fairly entertaining (even if for all the wrong reasons).
6. Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
Directed by John Luessenhop and presented in 3D, the movie focuses on Heather Miller, who discovers that she was adopted after learning of an inheritance from a long-lost grandmother. She goes on a road trip with her friends to collect the inheritance, unaware that it also includes her cousin, Leatherface.
In its attempts to rebrand Leatherface as a weirdly sympathetic antihero, Texas Chainsaw 3D is a bold move for the franchise. A few of the jump scares in the movie are skillfully aided by its 3D nature, but there are one too many plot holes (such as its completely nonsensical timeline) for it to be wholly praiseworthy.
Also, who actually has a 3D TV these days?
5. Leatherface (2017)
Working as a prequel to both the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie and Texas Chainsaw 3D, Leatherface is an origin story for Leatherface, crossing his path with five friends who head out on a journey to rural Texas. On the way, they stumble across what appears to be a deserted house, only to discover a monster of a man armed with a chainsaw inside.
Dorff and Taylor are particularly good in this movie which provides a respectful origin for Leatherface. It’s very story-driven – and while there’s nothing remarkable about it, there’s plenty of TCM’s signature gore to keep fans entertained.
4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)
Watch on: Netflix
The newest movie on this list – and the main reason this article exists – Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a sequel to 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This one picks up several decades after the original. It focuses on Leatherface targeting a group of teens and, once again, coming into conflict with Sally Hardesty – a vengeful survivor of his previous murder sprees.
A particularly violent and gory movie, Texas Chainsaw Massacre modernizes the series by adding social media, online buzzwords and social issues into the action. It’s not all that scary, but it’s well acted and certainly offers a fresh take on the TCM saga.
3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Watch on: Amazon Prime (rental/purchase)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a remake of the original movie of the same name. It has a decent ensemble cast, including well known names like Jessica Biel, Mike Vogel, Eric Balfour and the aforementioned R. Lee Ermey.
Just like the original, it’s about a group of young adults traveling through rural Texas who encounter Leatherface and his murderous family.
While it pales in comparison to the original, it’s still one of its better iterations. The polished cinematography doesn’t really suit the movie’s content (it takes away the grittiness and creepiness), but it certainly works as an unrelenting, fast-paced slasher.
2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 stands out as the only true black comedy in the series – albeit one with plenty of trademark horror and gore. This one’s about a radio host called Vanita “Stretch” Brock, who gets victimized and captured by Leatherface and his cannibalistic family, while a former Texas Marshal hunts them down.
Although it disappointed a few people when it was first released – due largely to the audience expectation that it would be a horror movie and not a comedy – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has aged very well with its spoofing of 80s horror conventions. Hopper is great, there’s loads of gore and plenty of laughs.
1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The original is still by far the best. Directed by Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a masterpiece that still shocks today. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen.
It’s about a group of friends – including one in a wheelchair – who fall victim to the franchise’s iconic family of cannibals while on their way to visit an old homestead.
Censored and deemed despicable at its time of release, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is now regarded as one of the finest horror movies ever made. It’s as bloody as its name would suggest, but it’s technically brilliant, superbly performed and gritty as hell. Many people would suggest it’s the one horror movie everyone should watch before they die – and that says everything you need to know about it.