By Gavin Baddeley

Horror films have long been criticised as immoral, inspiring all manner of antisocial behaviour in their impressionable audiences. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in particular was singled out as a bad influence: Banned by the British censors in the 70s, several of its sequels were caught up in the ‘video nasties’ panic of the subsequent decade. Yet surely this was unfair. For The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was actually a public information film in many respects; warning viewers of the hazards of picking up hitchhikers, while highlighting the issue of rural unemployment. In particular, the film led the way in stressing the perils of being careless with power tools.

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