Props That Create Dread in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie Props That Instill Existential Dread

The flesh-wearing, chainsaw-wielding horror movie slasher, Leatherface, loves to accent his kills with some of the most horrifying objects and tools.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies feature a number of unique advantages for including a variety of interesting props. The Texas Chainsaw plot involves a collection of victims’ vehicles, personal belongings, and skeletons…and this collection has apparently been occurring over time.  This means nearly anything could be found in the Sawyers’ house or a Texas Chainsaw graveyard, even a speak-n-spell!

Some of the Most Dreadful Texas Chainsaw Props

Although there are plenty of spooky items found in a Texas Chainsaw movie, some of the props are much more realistic and terrifying than others.  These are some of the subtle and no so subtle scary props used.

Decrepit, Rotting House

Decrepit old house from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre horror movie

Setting the scene is important in delivering a truly fearful experience.  While Leatherface is prone to pop out anywhere, giving the impression he actually stalks his prey like a hunter…providing him a scary place to live is also important.  Many horror films utilize a decrepit home that may be caving in on itself..but few horror movie slashers live in a home littered in rotting human and animal remains. It is almost as if they are collecting disease!

Meat Hooks

Probably one of the most obvious props that terrify throughout a Texas Chainsaw movie, are Leatherface’s meat hooks. Being hung on a meat hook would be catastrophic to one’s chances of survival.  Many characters have tried to pull themselves off, and there is little success to be had there. In the event one does make it off a meat hook, they are severely injured, likely suffering a punctured lung, damaged heart or other unsustainable injuries. And then there’s the bleeding…a trail that leads the killer right to them.

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Zagone Studios masks and costumes

Immobile Vehicle Graveyard

a car and actors from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie

A lot of horror movies feature vehicles that stop working, giving the owner trouble or leaving them stranded. However, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre features vehicle graveyards, filled with immobile vehicles.  Additionally, the vehicle that brings the group into danger to begin with, generally becomes disabled one way or another (either the Sawyers disable it, someone crashes it, or the keys are located on a dead victim).  Disabled or otherwise immobile, abandoned vehicles are a notable part of the fear that is felt during a Texas Chainsaw movie. They instill the inevitable hopelessness the victims will ultimately experience.

A Chicken

Leave it to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre creators to make something as simple as a chicken and chicken bones scary. The live chicken and scattered chicken bones are probably so terrifying because they are next to, and among, human skulls and human bones.  The subconscious idea that the audience absorbs from seeing these bones together, is that the owner of the property views human beings in the same sense as a chicken: food.  It is also really unsanitary.

Wheelchair

Being stuck in a wheel chair during an encounter with Leatherface is a special kind of nightmare.  It would become absolutely impossible to survive in a wheelchair, thus the prop of the wheelchair is used to highlight immobility as a weakness. Unfortunately, Franklin dies within seconds of meeting Leatherface largely due to his inability to escape.

A Meat Freezer

meat freezer in texas chainsaw massacre film

In the original film (1974), a victim is stuffed into a coffin-sized meat freezer, later to briefly emerge in terror only to be stuffed back inside.  Being that a meat freezer is a rather cold, dark place to be, it is reasonable to understand the terror one must feel when stuffed inside.  This freezer of horrors was being used to keep the meat fresher (victim still alive). Leatherface’s apathy to humanity may the intangible horror prop here.

Human Face Lamp

Leatherface is notorious for his meticulous leather working of human flesh.  Similar to “Ed Gein” the grave robber, Leatherface and his family outfitted their home with a variety of furnishings made from human flesh.  One particularly eerie prop that is terrifying in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) dinner scene is the human face lamp hanging over the dinner table.  It is often so bright that people overlook it is an actual face…however, it adds a touch of raw horror that surpasses the skeleton in the room!

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Last Notes About Texas Chainsaw Props

Although many people immediately assume the scariest props in a horror movie are the masks or weapons, in this one a chainsaw..the truth is a horror movie requires much simpler props to design a terrifying setting and realistic feel.  As seen in the Texas Chainsaw films, even the simplest prop can become a terrifying horror movie asset. It is almost as if Leatherface could make anything scary!

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