In 1974, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre made its debut. The slasher film, about a chainsaw-wielding cannibal called Leatherface who terrorised and murdered a group of teenagers, created a great deal of controversy upon release but *cough* also made a killing at the box office.

And if a horror movie becomes successful, then it is eventually followed by sequels. Which is what happened to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Well, actually, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was followed by sequels, prequels, and remakes – and not all in that order. Some of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies followed on from each other, while others created an alternate and/or rebooted timeline.

The result? One very mixed up movie series.

Yeah, there’s one thing that is very clear about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie series, and that is… that the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie series isn’t very clear at all. In fact, it’s downright confusing and almost as perplexing as the Halloween series.

In this post, I am going to detangle the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, to explore the different viewing orders for the movies. So, sit back, relax, and let me go to work.

*Revs up a chainsaw*

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies in production order

Image: ©New Line Cinema

OK, to begin with, I’m going to list all of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies in production order. This list will give you a rundown of all the films that have been released so far.

Below this list I will then subcategorise the films into their correct viewing orders/timelines. Trust me, it’ll all become clear.

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Here is a list of all the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies in production order:

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
  • Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
  • Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
  • Leatherface (2017)

OK, those are the films, now let’s break them down into their subcategories.

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The original timeline

As mentioned above, in 1974 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre kick-started the series. This film was then followed by a sequel in the shape of the appropriately titled The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, then Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, and finally Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.

Over a 21-year period, four films were released and all by different studios: Bryanston Distributing Company (1), The Cannon Group (2), New Line Cinema (3) and Sony/Columbia Pictures (4). Yet despite the different studios involved in the series, the films are all part of the same timeline.

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If want to follow the original timeline, you need to watch the films in this order:

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
  • Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995)

Simple enough, right? OK, here’s where it gets a little bit confusing.

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The rebooted timeline

Image: ©Platinum Dunes/New Line Cinema

In 2003, Platinum Dunes/New Line made the decision to reboot The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, to update the story for a modern audience. The four previous entries were jettisoned, and in their place stood a remake/reboot which followed the same plot as the 1974 movie only with a new cast.

Despite mixed reviews The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ’03 proved to be a huge hit at the box office, so a second film was put into production. However, rather than release a sequel, Platinum Dunes/New Line opted for a prequel called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.

This film was neither a critical or financial hit and the rebooted series stopped after two entries.

If you wish to watch the films in the rebooted timeline, you have two options.

Production order:

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

Chronological order:

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
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The new original timeline

Image: ©Millennium Films/Lionsgate

After the release of the rebooted series, the rights to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie series changed hands again. This time Millennium Films/Lionsgate took over the series and decided to go back to the original timeline – only with a slight alteration.

Instead of producing a fifth entry, to follow on from 1995’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, the studios decided to produce a direct sequel to the 1974 film. Movies 2 to 4 were ignored, and 2013’s Texas Chainsaw 3D took their place as the follow-up to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

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Four years later, Millennium Films/Lionsgate released another entry in the series, but this time decided to take the prequel root (perhaps taking inspiration from the Platinum Dunes/New Line series). This film – simply titled Leatherface – was released in 2017 to act as a prequel to the 1974 movie.

So, if you want to watch the movies in this series, you also have two options.

Production order:

  • Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
  • Leatherface (2017)

Chronological order:

  • Leatherface (2017)
  • Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

Got it? Good!

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Hopefully that has helped to make the series a little less confusing. All you need to do now is decide which timeline you wish to follow – but I can’t help you with that, as the decision is yours!

Image: ©Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures

But before you get started, did you know that across the course of the series a number of well-known actors appeared in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies? Dennis Hopper, Viggo Mortensen, Tom Everett, Renée Zellweger, Bill Moseley, Jessica Biel, Matt Bomer, Jordana Brewster, Scott Eastwood, Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, and Finn Jones, all cropped up at various points during the series – so keep an eye out for them!

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If you have found this post useful please feel free to give it a ‘like’ or even a cheeky ‘share’ amongst friends. And if you want more horror, then take a look at one of the recommended reads below.

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