Two guys, two chicks and a wheelchair bound brother of one of the chicks walk into a bar… no, not really. But they do get in a van. The siblings want to take a little trip to check on their grandfather’s grave. They’ve heard about some grave robbing going on in Texas, and they’re going to go… I dunno… do absolutely nothing about it probably.
When they get to the graveyard, there’s a drunk guy sitting in a tire. Yeah.
So they get back in the van and decide to go visit the old house. They pick up a hitchhiker on the way. This weirdo carries around pictures of slaughtered cows. This was also the first official clue that picking up this guy wasn’t the smartest decision. The later clues that reinforce that line of thinking are when the hitchhiker takes a picture of the brother in the wheelchair then tries to sell it to him for $2, and when the guy takes the pocket knife from the brother and slices his hand open, and when he takes the picture that no one will give him $2 for and places it in some tin foil that he just happens to have and then sets it on fire. (I honestly thought he was going to try to freebase a burning photo… but he didn’t.) Oh, and then he pulls out a straight razor and cuts the brother’s arm.
So after all this, they freak out and kick him out of the van. They’re trying to pull off and this guy is smearing his blood on the passenger side of the van. Dude. Is. Crazy. Or “cray cray” as the kids are calling it these days.
Then they go to a gas station, but the owner says they don’t have any fuel. Some guy at the gas station starts washing the front of the van and the front window. For some reason, he doesn’t try to wash any other part of the van… you know, like the blood on the side of the van. Kind of a dick move if you ask me. I mean, if you’re not going to do it right, just don’t even bother. It’s like, “Great, the grill and bumper are clean. That’s so helpful when there’s blood on the side.”
Anyway, they go to the old house thinking they’ll get gas tomorrow. The house is most definitely not up to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Maybe this is because the film came out in 1974 and the ADA was passed in 1990. There’s your fact of the day.
One guy sees a bunch of spiders in a ceiling corner of the room. At this point, they should have brought in a flamethrower and burned the whole house down, but for whatever reason, they did not. Probably the same reason they allowed crazy hitchhiker man to stay in the van as long as he did.
But I digress…
So one couple decide to go check out the ol’ swimmin’ hole that’s supposed to be somewhere nearby. They’re traipsing through the woods with a picnic blanket that the dude is carrying like it’s his superhero cape or something. The swimming hole is dried up, but they hear a generator running nearby. Generators run on gas; they need gas. Maybe it’s a win-win situation. So they go to the house.
Dude is calling “hello” everywhere, but no one is answering. He’s knocking on the door, and it opens. He’s walking inside, still yelling “hello?” all around. Ol’ girl is wanting to leave. She’s outside on the swing, getting upset that her man won’t just leave.
Dude walks toward this doorway, and this giant dude in a leather mask – we’ll refer to him as Leatherface… because, well, that’s what he’s called – comes out and bashes dude in the head with a sledgehammer. Dude is on the ground twitching and bloody while Leatherface drags him away. There are also a lot of animal heads and bones around. It’s home decor, maybe like a post-modern-killer-taxidermy style, or whatever term Better Homes and Gardens is using these days.
So girlfriend comes looking for her man and falls into a bunch of chicken feathers and bones. Leatherface gets her, picks her up and places her on a meathook as he takes a chainsaw to her boyfriend.
It’s getting close to sunset, so other dude decides to go look for the missing couple. He ends up at the creepy Casa de Leatherface, finds ol’ girl in the freezer – she’s still alive – and he gets the bad end of a sledgehammer as well. Leatherface shoves ol’ girl back in the freezer and says “Ice to meet you!” No, not really; he didn’t say anything. That was an Arnold Schwarzenegger quote from “Batman and Robin” when he played Mr. Freeze. That film was terrible. (Consider that a film review within a film review.)
So it’s getting dark, and the only two folks at the van are the siblings. The brother doesn’t want to be left alone while his sister goes looking for them so he whines (he is actually pretty whiney throughout the film) until she relents and pushes him. And I mean pushes him in his wheelchair so they can look for their friends together, not “pushes” him like she’s shoving him down or something.
So they’re going through the woods toward Casa de Leatherface when ol’ Leatherface himself comes out of the darkness and carves the brother up with the chainsaw. The sister freaks out (as any of us would) and starts running toward the Leatherface house. She goes in, locks the door, runs upstairs to find two old people dried up like raisins, except the human kind. Operation Freakout continues. Leatherface uses his chainsaw to get through the door and chase her some more.
She jumps out a second story window and runs through the woods in the dark, screaming, getting her hair caught in branches, all while being chased by this big murderous dude in a leather mask who, for his height and weight and the Texas heat, has some very impressive stamina.
She goes to the gas station. Mr. Gas Station Man from earlier is going to help her. Oh, but not really. He beats her ass with a broom – yes a broom – and ties her up, puts her in a bag and throws her in his truck. Leatherface is nowhere to be seen. Gas Man is driving home and sees hitchhiker dude. He gets out of the truck and starts whipping his ass, then both of them drive up to Casa de Leatherface, who is hitchhiker’s brother. One big creepy ass family.
So the whole family is sitting down eating meat – I assume it’s of the human variety – and Leatherface is dressed as a woman. I’m not sure why. But why not, right? They’re tormenting ol’ girl. She’s tied up. They cut her finger and put it in creepy, emaciated, dried-up grandpa’s mouth. Creepy. They decide they’re gonna let Gramps do her in, so they bend her head over a bucket and put a hammer in Grandpa’s hand. He’s weak. He can’t hold on to it. He’s dropping it. She manages to escape and runs to the road being chased by the creeper brothers.
She gets to the road and this semi-trailer truck ends up running over hitchhiker dude. Trucker dude gets out to try to help her, but then both of them are running from Leatherface and his chainsaw. The truck driver hits Leatherface in his leather face with a big ass wrench. A pickup truck is coming up the road. He swerves and stops, and ol’ girl jumps in the back, bloody and screaming, as the guy drives away, saving her life. As he’s driving off, Leatherface is in the middle of the road doing ballet dances with the chainsaw above his head.
Pretty damn terrifying.