Was There a Real Life Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
The obnoxious sound of Leatherface’s chainsaw slicing through the wall in a decrepit, bone-filled house off the beaten path will strike pure terror in anyone’s heart. In fact, it is possible that many people would drop dead of a heart attack right away if they actually saw Leatherface in real life. Chainsaws are most certainly real. Masks of flesh are most certainly possible. And deranged cannibalistic psychopaths are absolutely possible. So, did the Texas chainsaw massacre happen in real life, is there a true story behind it?
Was Ed Gein the Inspiration for Leatherface?
Movie Marketing at it’s Finest
As seen above in the poster, the marketing for Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s original 1974 release certainly made claims that it was based on a true story. “What happened is true. Now the motion picture that’s just as real” is the sub text of the movie title.
The Real Inspiration for Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Despite beliefs that Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by a true story, Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its 2003 remake were actually based only loosely on Ed Gein, who is suspected to have taken victims between 1954 and 1957. The most notable similarity is the house in the movies, whose grisly contents were similar to those in Gein’s home seen below.
Edward Theodore Gein Born August 27, 1906 – July 26, 1984, also known as the Butcher of Plainfield or the Plainfield Ghoul, was an American murderer and body snatcher. Gein’s crimes, committed around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin, gathered widespread notoriety in 1957 after authorities discovered he had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. Gein also confessed to killing two women: tavern owner Mary Hogan in 1954 and hardware store owner Bernice Worden in 1957. – Wikipedia
Gein was initially found unfit to stand trial and confined to a mental health facility. By 1968, he was judged competent to stand trial; he was found guilty of the murder of Worden, but he was found legally insane and was remanded to a psychiatric institution. He died at Mendota Mental Health Institute of respiratory failure, on July 26, 1984, aged 77. He is buried next to his family in the Plainfield Cemetery, in a now-unmarked grave. – Wikipedia
The Texas Chainsaw movies undoubtedly inspired by Ed Gein. Furniture that has been made out of bone and flesh, Leatherface’s masks made from the flesh of human faces, and a truly unkempt home are all parts of the movies that were inspired by Ed Gein. Still, there are real life examples of home decor, furnishings and masks found made by Ed Gein that show this type of corpse and body mutilation is more than possible, psychologically. There are many documented cases of human cannibalism, some close to home in the past and some abroad in third world territories still occurring today. Obviously there are murders all the time.
And thus, yes it is more than possible for a corpse mutilating, murdering cannibal to exist. Yes, it is possible for a real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre to happen. YES, it is possible for a real life Leatherface to exist.
What Would a Real Life Texas Chainsaw Massacre Be Like?
There are many components of a true Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. Here are some of the most commonly found attributes which make a Leatherface movie, a real Leatherface movie.
Unfortunately for the victims, most do not realize what is happening until it is already too late. Leatherface may be really scary, but he usually does not show up right away. Instead, his family first begins interacting with the victims, almost as though they are normal, contributing members of society. The victims usually have an ultra low guard by the time they are any where near Leatherface himself.
Tow Trucks and/or Immobile Vehicle Graveyard
A lot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre films feature tow trucks that respond to victim car crashes, and/or a full-on vehicle graveyard. The vehicles in this graveyard are always immobile and appear as though they may have been there for a long while.
Gas Station and/or Rest Stop
The Leatherface movies almost always start out on the road somehow, and the victims almost always end up stopping at a gas station or a rest stop of some kind for one reason or another. Usually, it is for gas. Sometimes, they get directions. It is always unwise to follow those directions…but they usually do!
There would be lots and lots of blood in a real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Sawyers (or Hewitts, depending upon which part of the franchise you are watching) are cannibals and furniture artists…and they prefer human-only parts! This means being fully comfortable with cutting, slicing and dicing up human flesh and body parts. Not to mention the actual murders themselves.
Human Flesh and Bone Furnishings
Leatherface and his family love crafting the flesh and bone of their victims into furniture. Their house is absolutely decorated with human body parts. There are human face lamps. There are chairs made of bone. And a variety of other furnishings and horror decor.
Fun Fact: Did you know you can actually BUY Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Leatherface Inspired Horror Decor?
Leatherface drags victims through his house and into his room for butchering, collecting parts for use in his family’s famous cannibal soup.
From Ed Gein to…???
The funny thing about people like Ed Gein (only a grave robber and corpse mutilator) and serial killers is that normally they are discovered after the fact. This means, unfortunately, if there could be a real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre, that it could be happening already. So be careful out there on those Texas highways…and never take any unfamiliar detours not on your GPS!! As one simply never knows when a real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre could be taking place off the beaten path, on some dirt road somewhere!
Check out Surprising Facts About Leatherface and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movies to learn more!
Tritone’s love of horror and mystery began at a young age. Growing up in the 80’s he got to see some of the greatest horror movies play out in the best of venues, the drive-in theater. That’s when his obsession with the genre really began—but it wasn’t just the movies, it was the games, the books, the comics, and the lore behind it all that really ignited his obsession. Tritone is a published author and continues to write and write about horror whenever possible.