If you want a real scare, this is the film for you. Ignore the horrid recent remake.
Director Tobe Hooper's defining moment as a film creator took place about twenty-five minutes into "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". In this scene, a happy-go-lucky teenager, who forsees himself getting laid later that night, stumbles inside an old farmhouse in search for directions to a lake. As he walks into the house, he trips and falls at the feet of Leatherface, the cannibalistic maniac that captures people for his family to eat. Leatherface proceeds to bash his head and face with a hammer and drags him into the kitchen, shuts the door quickly, and the audience if left to hear a resounding "grrrr" from the scratchy soundtrack. The scene sets the tone for the entire film, if not Hooper's entire career.
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" revolves around a group of young adults who are investigating the grave diggings of some of their relatives. While they are staying at their grandparents' cottage out in the middle of no where, they are tormented by a chainsaw wielding freak who wears past victim's skin as a mask. The overall premise is disturbing, twisted, and halfway stupid, but Hooper creates great tension and incorporates a diabolically shrieking score to send chills down viewers' backs.
While the film is as influential as any to the horror genre, along with "The Exorcist" and "Halloween", this classic is unique compared to many films because of the theatrical presence that it had--which is obviously lost on video or DVD. Truly terrifying during its day, slightly more comical in the present. One of the best horror films of the middle 1970s.