The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 1974 US horror film by Tobe Hooper. See IMDb
Famously banned by the BBFC for a UK 1975 cinema releaseTobe Hooper’s seminal horror film was first seen informally by the BBFC’s Secretary, Stephen Murphy, on 27 February 1975. Murphy regarded it as a good, well-made film but felt strongly that the level of terrorisation, particularly towards the end of the film, and the film’s focus on abnormal psychology was unsuitable for a BBFC X certificate to be issued. The distributor reacted to this advice by making some minor reductions in the final scenes of terrorisation, formally submitting a slightly truncated version on 12 March 1975.
A pre-cut version was passed X by the GLC for a London 1975 cinema release. The film was shown in some others towns with a local authority certificate overruling the BBFC ban but the BBFC ban was enforced in others
The Pre-cert VHS was released uncut on the Wizard label in 1981
At around this time, the BBFC was once again asked to consider cuts for a legitimate video release but failed to see how an acceptable version could be produced. The film therefore fell into limbo and was removed from the shelves following the introduction of the Video Recordings Act.
After a long time in limbo it was passed 18 uncut by Camden Council in London for a Camden 1998 cinema release. It was given a late night screening at the 1998 London Film Festival and then ran successfully in Camden at the beginning of 1999.
The BBFC finally relented on their ban in 1999 when they passed the cinema release and subsequent video/DVD versions 18 uncut. The BBFC commented:
The notoriety of the film may owe a lot to its original rejection by the BBFC in 1975. It was passed for viewing in Europe, the USA, Australia and other countries. It received a GLC licence in the 1970s and was most recently shown in central London in 1998 under a licence from Camden Council. There is, so far as the Board is aware, no evidence that harm has ever arisen as a consequence of viewing the film. For modern young adults, accustomed to the macabre shocks of horror films through the 1980s and 1990s, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE is unlikely to be particularly challenging. Unlike more recent examples of the genre, violence in THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE is throughout implied rather than explicit. By today’s standards, its visual effects may seem relatively unconvincing.
Possibly the most notorious feature is the relentless pursuit of the ‘Final Girl’ throughout the last half hour or so of the film. The heroine in peril is a staple of the cinema since the earliest days. It is nonetheless legitimate to question the unusual emphasis THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE places on the pursuit of a defenceless and screaming female over such an extended period. The Board’s conclusion, after careful consideration, was that any possible harm that might arise in terms of the effect upon a modern audience would be more than sufficiently countered by the unrealistic, even absurd, nature of the action itself. It is worth emphasising that there is no explicit sexual element in the film, and relatively little visible violence.
Since then the film has been released uncut several times for:
- UK 2009 Second Sight RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon
- UK 2008 Second Sight R2 DVD at UK Amazon
- UK 2002 Universal R2 DVD
- UK 1999 Blue Dolphin video
- UK 1999 Warner video
- UK 1999 cinema release