Texas blood court

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German title Blood Court in Texas (Cinema)
Chainsaw Massacre (Video)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Blu-ray Disc / DVD 2012)
Original title The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1974
length 83 minutes
Age rating FSK 18
Director Tobe Hooper
script Tobe Hooper
Kim Henkel
production Tobe Hooper
music Tobe Hooper
Wayne Bell
camera Daniel Pearl
cut Larry Carroll
Sallye Richardson

Successor  →
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Blood Court in Texas (Original title: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre ) is an American horror film from 1974 . Directed by Tobe Hooper , who also produced and contributed to the script and the film music .

The film tells of a group of five young people who fell into the hands of a family of cannibals in rural Texas . Only one young woman escapes the subsequent series of murders.


In the opening sequence, a newscaster reads out reports on grave looting and violent deaths, highlighted with flash photos of decaying corpses and pictures of sun prominences .

Five young people (Kirk, Pam, Jerry, Franklin, and his sister Sally) search for Sally and Franklin's grandparents' home in rural Texas. In doing so, they come across a family of former butchers who have degenerated into cannibals and who collect human and animal remains in their country estate, with which they decorate the house. The family consists of a mentally confused man whom the group had already hitchhiked with, the initially relatively sensible operator of a gas station, an infantile giant with changing masks made of human skin called "Leatherface", who prefers his victims chopped up with a chainsaw , and her grandfather, called "Grandpa", who is in a wheelchair .

During the day, Kirk, Pam, Jerry and Franklin are successively killed in the family's series of murders. The last of the five, Sally, is also captured but escapes while attempting to retrieve her for slaughter. During her escape, she is followed by Leatherface and the hitchhiker, but the latter is run over by a truck and killed. Injured and covered in blood, she finally manages to save herself on a passing pickup and thus escape. In the last frame of the film, “Leatherface” swings his chainsaw aimlessly as the sun rises over the scene.


In 1969, director Tobe Hooper presented his debut film Eggshells , which won an award at the Atlanta Film Festival but couldn't find a distributor. Frustrated by the experience, Hooper decided to make a film in a proven genre that would open the doors to professional production in Hollywood for him. Hooper and co-writer Kim Henkel developed the script together, but it is not based on an authentic criminal case, as the opening credits claim (this dates the events shown to August 1973 - at which time the shooting ended). One source of inspiration was the case of the serial killer Ed Gein , who was also the basis for the novel Psycho (1959) by Robert Bloch and the 1960 film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock . In 1973 Hooper and Henkel founded the manufacturing company "Vortex Inc." and Bill Parsley of Texas Tech University helped raise the starting budget of $ 60,000 .

Hooper and Henkel recruited their actors mainly from young actors and acting students , only Jim Siedow had several years of theater experience. Allen Danziger had already played a role in Eggshells . Another actor was originally intended for the role of "Leatherface", but he refused to leave the hotel room while drunk. The shooting, under changing working titles such as "Head Cheese" ("Presskopf") and "Leatherface", took place in July and August 1973 around Austin , Texas. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre , the correct, original spelling of the final movie title, was the low budget (ultimately about 80,000 US dollars) according to Super-16 shot slide film (Eastman Ektachrome 25T 7252), which for the theatrical release on 35 -mm film was " inflated ".

The actors and crew members worked in difficult conditions. The filming took place at high temperatures and the smell of cadavers on set was an additional burden for the actors, especially during the recordings of the dinner scene, which lasted 26 hours. Leading actress Marilyn Burns was occasionally gagged with a dirty rag on the floor and was injured by a colleague with a cut in her finger. Other actors suffered injuries or barely escaped physical damage: Gunnar Hansen ("Leatherface") used a chainsaw to glow an iron plate on his leg that was intended as protection, and William Veil was hit on the head by a flying hammer . Edwin Neal sustained facial injuries when he had to press his head on the hot asphalt. Hansen also talks about the intensive use of drugs on the film set.

The level of violence, which led to controversy in the media and with the censorship authorities, was agreed by Hooper with the Motion Picture Association of America (responsible for age ratings for films). Initially, Hooper had even considered a PG rating ; eventually he got an R-rated clearance. Hooper's original idea of ​​making hanging one of the actresses ( Teri McMinn ) on a meat hook bloodier was successfully talked out of him by outfitter Robert Burns on the grounds that the less you show the scene, the more effective.

After the distribution company AIP refused to include the film in their program, the producers signed a contract with the distributor Bryanston Pictures , led by Louis Peraino , a New York mafia member . Reviews for the film's release in October 1974 were mixed, but critic Rex Reed's frequently quoted saying, "The most horrifying motion picture I have ever seen" contributed to the film's rapidly growing popularity at and was included in the marketing campaign. Taglines in the trailers read, among other things, “After you stopped screaming, you'll start talking about it”, while the poster with “Who will survive, and what will be left of them? ”(“ Who will survive, and what will be left of them? ”).

The film was included in the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art . Since Bryanston refused to allow the producers to see the cash books, the exact turnover of the first exploitation of the film is not known. As part of an out-of-court settlement in February 1977, the producers were given back the distribution rights, combined with a one-off payment of 400,000 US dollars. As a result, New Line Cinema took over the theatrical exploitation. The unexplained box office results meant that some members of the cast and crew who had participated in the film on a profit-sharing basis only received minimal fees; This led, among other things, to the break between actor Edwin Neal and decorator Robert Burns with Hooper.

1975 Blood Court ran in Texas at the London Film Festival and at the Cannes International Film Festival (in the series "Quinzaine des Réalisateurs"), where Hooper was abused by members of the audience as a fascist . The film struggled with censors around the world; It was shown regularly in France - after several bans - only in 1982, in Great Britain from the end of the 1990s (with the exception of earlier performances limited to London ).

Despite the commercial success of Blood Court in Texas , Hooper's wish for a Hollywood career was only partially fulfilled: With the exception of Poltergeist (1982) and Lifeforce (1985), his later films were limited to productions on a smaller budget, and from the end In the 1980s , he mainly shot for television. Few of the other contributors continued their work in a permanent professional setting: Daniel Pearl , now a member of the American Society of Cinematographers , made a name for himself as a cameraman of music videos for Michael Jackson , Duran Duran , Jennifer Lopez and many others. Dorothy Pearl , responsible for make-up , later worked on Cape Fear (1991), Groundhog Day (1993) and Big Fish (2003), among others . Edwin Neal appeared in various television series and dubbed commercials and computer games.

Publication in Germany

The film was shortened for a release in German cinemas and started in 1978 under the title Blutgericht in Texas with the distribution youth film . It was published on video as a chainsaw massacre , later also under its original title.

In 1982 the video version - although already shortened - was indexed and then confiscated several times for glorifying violence - most recently in the DVD version by the Frankfurt am Main district court on August 11, 2010 (file number: 4863 Js 213972/10 - 931). Turbine Medien , the owner of the rights to use the film in Germany since 2008, filed a complaint against the last indexing . The appeal proceedings were ruled in favor of the plaintiff by the Frankfurt am Main regional court on September 6, 2011 , and the seizure was lifted. On December 1, 2011, Texas Blood Court was removed from the index. The film was then submitted to the FSK for review and the unabridged version was labeled “No youth release”.

There is also a version that has been shortened by more than ten minutes and is released for people aged 16 and over. Earlier unabridged releases of the film that came out on the German market are a laser disc from cmv-Laservision and a DVD from Laser Paradise . These were produced in small editions and are sought-after collector's items. Several uncut releases are available in Austria , including the so-called "35th Anniversary Edition" which contains a German synchronization of the full film.

The film was first broadcast on German television on October 15, 2015 at 11:55 p.m. on Kabel Eins .


Due to the continued success of Blood Court in Texas , three sequels were made: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), directed by the director of the first part, Tobe Hooper, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994) . The film also received a remake , Michael Bay's Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), and a related prequel , Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006). Texas Chainsaw 3D was released in US cinemas in January 2013 . Another prequel was released in 2017, Leatherface .

While there are numerous references to blood court in Texas in popular culture, most are limited to horror-based exploitation or B-movies . Well-known examples in which reference is made to the film include Christoph Schlingensief's Das deutsche Kettensägemassaker (1990) or the cartoon series South Park . The title and the cover design of the debut album Das RapDeutschlandKettensägeMassaker by the band KIZ refers to the blood court in Texas .

In 1983 Wizard Games released the computer game The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the Atari 2600 game console .


“I can't imagine why anyone would want to make a movie like this, but it's well done, well acted, and effective. […] Texas Blood Court belongs to a select group […] of films that are much better than the genre demands. Which doesn't necessarily mean that it's fun to look at. "

Texas Blood Court captures the language and structure of nightmares with amazing accuracy. The nature of the images, the nature of the sounds, the inconsistency with which one event follows another, correspond to the way we dream. What makes [the movie] interesting is that we look at it with open eyes, and it becomes a nightmare that we cannot wake up from. "

- Michael Goodwin, The Village Voice

“This slaughterhouse from a movie […] is loud, merciless and about as subtle as if your leg were sawed off without anesthesia. […] The three men are dealt with without much effort, while the women (without bras or in hot pants) […] are endlessly messing around […] Malicious stuff, and not even based on facts, as the advertising claims […] "

- Chris Petit, Time Out Film Guide

"Unrestrained, sadistic horror film with a pesky soundtrack, technically and in terms of content equally level."

"These films [ Cannibal Girls and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ] speak the language of the tabloid press, and their myth is that cruelty is everywhere and the state of our terminal society."

- Georg Seeßlen / Claudius Weil

"If you had to explain humanity to an alien civilization by showing ten films, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would surely be one of them."

“The most bloodthirsty thing about this horror classic [is] the title. That doesn't mean, of course, that blood court in Texas is a candidate for the children's class, but the horror is mostly in the head, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre suggests more and creates a sick and morbid atmosphere, especially through the skillful work of the camera and noise - and use of music. "

- Echolog.de


In 1976 blood court in Texas received the special jury award of the "Festival of Fantastic Films", which was held from 1973 to 1993 in Avoriaz . In later years, the film landed on the best lists with a focus on horror film in polls for the publications The Guardian , Time , Entertainment Weekly , Total Film and Empire .


  • Hahn , Jansen: Lexicon of Horror Films. 1989, ISBN 3-404-28130-6
  • Stefan Höltgen: Interfaces. The construction of authenticity in the serial killer film. Dissertation as a PDF file online
  • Tom Milne , Paul Willemen: The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror. Edited by Phil Hardy. 1985 (in it the entry on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ; English)
  • Kim Newman : Nightmare Movies. A Critical Guide to Contemporary Horror Films. 1988, ISBN 0-7475-0295-1 (English)
  • Acting in Splatter: The Making Of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". In: John McCarty: Splatter Movies. Breaking the Last Taboo of the Screen. 1984, (interview with Ed Neal)
  • Christopher Sharret: The Idea of ​​Apocalypse in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". In: Barry Keith Grant: Planks Of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film. 1984 (English)
  • Carol J. Clover: Men Women and Chainsaws. Gender in the Modern Horror Film. 1992, ISBN 0-85170-419-0 (English)
  • Michael Farin , Hans Schmid (Ed.): Ed Gein. A quiet man. "Psycho", "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Deranged", "The Silence of the Lambs". ISBN 3-923646-52-6
  • Chas Balun: Of Head Cheese and Chainsaws. In: Horror Holocaust. 1985, p. 13 ff.
  • Julia Köhne / Ralph Kuschke / Arno Meteling: Splatter Movies. Essays on modern horror films. Berlin 2005. Bertz + Fischer-Verlag, ISBN 3-86505-157-X
  • John Bloom: They Came. They sawed. In: Texas Monthly. November 2004

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f Documentation Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Shocking Truth on the 2008 Blu-ray of the film (Dark Sky Films, USA 2008, Second Sight, Great Britain 2009)
  2. John Bloom: They Came. They sawed. Texas Monthly , November 2004, accessed November 19, 2019 .
  3. a b c d e blood, hash and animal carcasses. Spiegel Online , September 5, 2014, accessed September 6, 2014 .
  4. Interview with Daniel Pearl in Jacqueline B. Frost: Cinematography for Directors - A Guide for Creative Collaboration, Michael Wiese Productions, 2009
  5. a b Texas Blood Court in the Internet Movie Database
  6. Michael Goodwin: A Real Nightmare Makes a Great Horror Film in The Village Voice , New York, February 9, 1976
  7. ^ Rolf Giesen : Lexicon of the fantastic film. Horror - Sciencen Fiction - Fantasy, Ullstein, Frankfurt / Berlin / Vienna 1984
  8. ^ Danny Peary: Cult Movies, Dell Publishing, New York 1981.
  9. Documentation Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of the Saw on the 2008 Blu-ray of the film
  10. ^ Daniel Pearl in the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ Dorothy Pearl in the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ Edwin Neal in the Internet Movie Database
  13. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - A First Balance" - Communication on Schnittberichte.com dated December 22, 2008, accessed on December 15, 2011
  14. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Will Be Removed From Index" - Notice on Schnittberichte.com dated December 20, 2011, accessed December 20, 2011
  15. "I can't imagine why anyone would want to make a movie like this, and yet it's well-made, well-acted, and all too effective. […] The Texas Chainsaw Massacre belongs to a select company […] of films that are really a lot better than the genre requires. Not, however, that you'd necessarily enjoy seeing it. ”- Review in the Chicago Sun-Times of January 1, 1974, accessed December 14, 2011.
  16. ^ " Chain Saw captures the syntax and structure of a nightmare with astonishing fidelity. The quality of the images, the texture of the sound, the illogic by which one incident follows another - all conform to the way we dream. What makes Chain Saw interesting is that since we are watching it with our eyes open, it's a nightmare from which we can't wake up. "- Michael Goodwin: A Real Nightmare Makes a Great Horror Film , in The Village Voice , New York , February 9, 1976.
  17. "This abattoir of a movie [...] is noisy, relentless, and about as subtle as having your leg sawed off without anaesthetic. […] The three men are despatched unceremoniously, and the women (bra-less and hotpants respectively) […] are toyed with endlessly […] Pernicious stuff and not even true, like the ads suggested […] "- Time Out Film Guide, Seventh Edition 1999, Penguin Books, London 1998.
  18. Texas Blood Court. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  19. Georg Seeßlen / Claudius Weil: Kino des Fantastischen - Geschichte und Mythologie des Horror-Films, Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1980.
  20. ^ Escalating Dreams STB Alexander Schmidt 2016. In: www.eskalierende-traeume.de. Retrieved April 6, 2016 .
  21. Review at Echolog.de