With the release of a new Texas Chainsaw Massacre film starring Elsie Fisher on Netflix today, Leatherface fans are reflecting on the franchise's beginnings in 1974.
The good news is that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is unreal. The bad news is that the film is undoubtedly based on a real-life killer. Delightful! If you've seen the film, which you should if you enjoy being emotionally traumatized, you know that it's about a group of friends who are hunted by a cannibal family in the middle of nowhere.
Leatherface is a notable member of the cannibalistic family, and his preferred method of murder is with a chainsaw. Delightful x 2!. A cool aspect of the original film is that it begins with a crawl that resembles a documentary or news report, framing it as a true story.
Tobe Hooper was inspired by the graphic news coverage of the 1973 arrest of serial killer Elmer Wayne Henley, as well as the Vietnam War coverage on television.
Who is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Based on?
The good news is that the story is not based on actual events, so fans do not have to worry about having to flee from Leatherface in the near future.
However, a number of real cases served as inspiration for the original film and the creation of Leatherface, most notably that of serial killer Ed Gein, who is believed to be responsible for multiple murders in Wisconsin during the mid-1950s.
There are a few similarities between Ed Gein and Leatherface, including the fact that they both wore masks made of human skin and kept gruesome mementos in their homes, but Gein never used a chainsaw, instead shooting his victims with a pistol.
Gein was reportedly the inspiration for two other iconic film villains, Psycho's Norman Bates and The Silence of the Lambs' Buffalo Bill, and American Psycho also makes reference to him.
Kim Henkel, who co-wrote the original film and serves as a producer on the remake, has previously stated that he “definitely studied” Ed Gein, but that Elmer Wayne Henley served as inspiration.
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In 2004, he stated, “I saw a news report where Elmer Wayne said, ‘I committed these crimes, and I'm going to stand up and take it like a man.'” “I found it intriguing that he possessed this conventional morality at that time.
Now that he had been apprehended, he wanted it to be known that he would do the right thing. Consequently, I attempted to imbue the characters with this type of moral schizophrenia.”
Meanwhile, the addition of the chainsaw itself was inspired by a less macabre tale: Hooper's 1972 Christmas shopping trip. In a 2004 interview with Texas Monthly, he explained: “I was frustrated by the large Christmas crowds and found myself near a chainsaw display rack.
I sort of zeroed in on it. I performed a rack focus on the saws and thought, “I know a way to get through this crowd quickly.”” I returned home, sat down, all the channels suddenly came on, the zeitgeist blew through, and the entire story came to me in what seemed like thirty seconds.
The hitchhiker, the older brother at the gas station, the girl's two escapes, the dinner scene, and the gasless people in the country.” Currently, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is streaming on Netflix.
Looking to watch something else? Check out our list of the best Netflix television series and movies, or visit our TV Guide.
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