31 Days of Horror. Day 22: Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Every year we have a tradition in the Forto house where we celebrate the greatest month of the year, October, with scare your socks off, hide under the covers, turn on all the lights, sleep with one eye open, fright fest, movie marathon everynight of the month! We call it 31 Days of Horror.

Opening Narrative:

“The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy that befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare.

The Events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” – August 18th, 1973

The True Story

This film is based on the life of American serial killer, Ed Gein of Wisconsin. WhileGein has been the subject of many horror movies over the years including Norman Bates of Psycho (1960) and Buffalo Bill the demented killer in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

In fact, Ed Gein did wear a human’s scalp and face. Gein did this however, to help quell his desire to be a woman, not because of a skin disease as with Leatherface in the film. Also included in his uniform, Ed Gein wore a vest of skin complete with breasts and female genitalia strapped above his own.

Fun Facts:

Despite the obvious implications of the film’s title, only one victim is killed by a chainsaw. Two more are bludgeoned, one is impaled on a meat hook, and one is run over by a semi truck.

This film is an example of a money maker! It was made on a budget of just sixty grand, later costing 83,000 but has grossed over 30 million to date.

Director Tobe Hooper claims to have got the idea for the film while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get out through the crowd, he spotted the chainsaws.

The human skeleton in the house at the end of the movie was a real human skeleton. They used a real one because a human skeleton from India is far cheaper then a fake plastic skeleton.

Alternate titles for the film included “Headcheese”, “Leatherface” and “Stalking Leatherface”.

Plot: En route to visit their grandfather’s grave (which has apparently been ritualistically desecrated), five teenagers drive past a slaughterhouse, pick up (and quickly drop) a sinister hitch-hiker, eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, before ending up at the old family home… where they’re plunged into a never-ending nightmare as they meet a family of cannibals who more than make up in power tools what they lack in social skills…

Due to the low budget, Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface) had only one shirt to wear as Leatherface. The shirt had been dyed, so it could not be washed; Hansen had to wear it for four straight weeks of filming in the Texas summer. By the end of the shoot no one wanted to eat lunch with Hansen because his clothing smelled so bad.

According to John Larroquette (of Night Court fame) his payment for doing the opening narration was a marijuana joint.

What is your favorite scary an/or Halloween movie? I would love to hear from you!

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