Interesting Facts About The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The beloved flesh-wearing favorite, Leatherface, has been responsible for some of the most gruesome kills on screen of all time. He is a terrifying monster to encounter, especially if you’re traveling in a Volkswagen bus from the 70s! With that being said, many horror movie fans wonder, how did the Texas Chainsaw Massacre get so gruesome? What were the deciding factors in determining the scariest look and feel to this horror classic? Horror Enthusiast has searched deep through the horror and ‘macabre’ that was witnessed throughout the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies to find the most interesting and amazing Leatherface and Texas Chainsaw facts!
Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie Trivia
Two Family Names: Hewitt and Sawyer
The sadistic, cannibalistic family that stars throughout the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies actually had two different last names, depending upon the movie in the franchise. The first, third and fourth movies did not give the family a last name. The second film refers to the family as the “Sawyers.” The fifth and sixth Texas Chainsaw installments use the last name “Hewitt.” And the seventh and eighth movies return to using last name “Sawyer.” No clear reason has been given for the name change.
Tobe Hooper Has Hooks In Place
Director of the original 1974 horror masterpiece, has been somehow involved in literally every single Texas Chainsaw Massacre project. He directed and helped write the first two films. He helped write the 3rd and 4th films. And he helped write and/or produce the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th films.
A Director Fired and Then Rehired
The third movie in the installment, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III 1990), lost it’s director, Jeff Burr, when he was fired near the beginning of production. After looking for a new director and finding no one else would accept the job, he was rehired.
The True Inspiration for Leatherface Wasn’t Ed Gein
A lot of people instantly assume that Ed Gein was the primary inspiration for a flesh-mask-wearing killer. However, Tobe Hooper reveals in an interview that the true inspiration for Leatherface was a story he heard from a doctor once about his time in medical school. The doctor was taking a cadaver class and decided to creep into the morgue at night and skin one alive to create a scary Halloween mask for himself.
…and thus Leatherface was born…
Top Grossing Chainsaw Films
Other than the original movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), only the 5th installment has not been a flop. The 5th movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) was slated to be a loose remake of the original, with Jessica Biel leading the cast. The original movie made a profit of more than $30 million dollars (US domestic box office), while the 2003 remake raked in a whopping profit of more than $70 million (again, US domestic)! No other chainsaw movie has come close to a profit even close to the original film!
The Worst Grossing Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie
Most people recognize the second movie as the worst (probably because they go to see a horror film and wind up seeing a comedy). However, truthfully, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 doubled it’s budget in US domestic gross. The worst movie in the franchise was the 4th in the franchise, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994). Despite this flop making less than $150,000 in the United States, this film featured some of the cast most famous today from any of the Texas Chainsaw movies. The fourth installment will showcase both Renee Zellweger and also Matthew McConaughey. In fact, Sony would try to re-release this flop a few years later after McConaughey and Zellweger would rise to fame. After they threatened to bail on all future Sony projects, the re-release was halted.
A Damaged Soul
Most horror fans do not realize that Leatherface did not start out so evil. He was injured and suffered facial damage, as revealed by director Jeff Burr in an interview following the third movie, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Burr also speculated his vocal cords could have been damaged as a result of the injury, hence his inability to talk. However, other sources have indicated a mental deficiency and that Leatherface was born a little slow (also providing a possible explanation as to why he is mute). Regardless, plenty of the movies and/or the comic series give the audience ample reason to feel badly for Leatherface, despite his murders.
Cameo Appearance: Marilyn Burns
A lot of fans seem to miss Marilyn Burns’ cameo appearance in the fourth film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994). In one of the final scenes in the hospital, she is a patient that is on the gurney. In the credits, this role is listed as “Anonymous.”
While theme parks around the world hosting their version of “Halloween” mode feature a ton of fake chainsaw-wielding actors…the real Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies used real chainsaws. They were scary and intimidating. Actor Renee Zellweger commented in multiple interviews that the experience was dangerous, and she wasn’t sure it was all legal. She explained that a real chainsaw behind you made for incredible motivation!
A Narrator to Remember
Almost any Texas Chainsaw Massacre fan can recall the eerie feeling they get when the original movie begins with a crude film strip and narrator voicing an introduction about the “terror and macabre” that the young persons would experience that day. What most people do not realize, is the same narrator was hired to record the narration for the 2003 remake! It is the same voice folks!
The Original Film Title
There were a number of choices for the original film title. Two of the most notable runner-ups to the eventually-selected “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” included “Head Cheese” and “Leatherface.” Leatherface would later be used in a couple of film titles…making it’s debut; however, Head Cheese would only appear in the script of the first movie, serving as some Volkswagen butchery small talk.
Final Words About the Making of the Texas Chainsaw Franchise
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise has set the bar quite high for slasher movies in the similar horror sub-genre of “getting stranded in a remote place.” The truly horrifying results of long-term gore and carnage by Leatherface and his family has left their properties riddled with human remains and flesh, creating an immensely terrifying movie setting. Ultimately, Leatherface is one of the scariest, careless and most viscous killers of all horror movie slashers. He will likely go on to mutilate many more victims and remains one of the most feared killers of all time!
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.