THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE meets
Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO
It’s probably the most infamous horror film ever made. Love it or
hate it you can’t deny that THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE certainly
changed the way anyone ever looked at a horror film again. It’s
disturbing depiction of a mass murder of 5 teens struck fear into all
that watched it and set a path for the many horror films that would follow
in its footsteps. But there is probably a lot you don’t know about
this sick flick (or probably a lot you thought you did).
"The Texas Chain Saw Massacre... What happened is true! Now the movie
just as real!” screamed the posters for the 1974 horror classic.
Combine this with the narration of John Larroquette, instilling a documentary-like
feel that only made the whole experience more disturbing, forever engraving
a fear into the human psyche that could only happen in America. I hate
to break it to you all... The Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn't a true story.
An elaborate con or clever marketing?
The truth is Tobe Hooper (writer/director) loosely based Leatherface on
mass-murderer Ed Gein, a source that forever shaped the way we watch horror
films today. He has in fact served as a model for many of the greatest
villains to ever ravage across the silver screen: Norman Bates, Leatherface,
and the crazed killers, Hannibal Lector and Buffalo Bill from SILENCE
OF THE LAMBS.
Since Ed Gein there have been far more notorious serial killers within
America but he still remains a Hollywood favourite. What makes this even
more strange is that from the estimated 15 bodies found when Gein was
arrested, no one could be certain how many murders he had actually committed.
In fact it is believed to have only been 2 as he had obtained many of
his corpses from stolen graves. He was committed and died in the geriatric
ward in 1984, aged 77. It is said he was always a model prisoner - gentle,
polite and discreet (a la Hannibal Lector).
Gein first achieved pop immortality thanks to horror writer Robert Bloch,
who had created a fictional character based on Gein; a deranged mama's
boy named Norman Bates. In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock transformed Bloch's
pulp chiller PSYCHO into a cinematic masterpiece. Since PSYCHO initiated
the craze for "slasher" movies, Gein is revered by horror buffs
as the prototype of every knife, axe, and cleaver-wielding maniac who
has stalked America's movie screens for the past thirty years.
The Gein case also provided a basis for the 1967 monster movie "It",
ostensibly based on the mythical Jewish folk demon, the Golem, in which
mad curator Roddy McDowell carries on conversations with the rotten corpse
of his mother, which he keeps at home in her bed.
OTHER INTERESTING FACTS:
the obvious implications of the film's title, only one victim is killed
by a chainsaw.
- The financing
for this film came from the profits of a previous film the production
company that financed Deep Throat (1972).
- The film
was banned by the British film censors in 1975, but, it did get a limited
cinema release, thanks to various city councils. It was banned again
in 1977, when the censors' attempts to cut it were unsuccessful. Then
it was banned again in 1984, due to the growing controversy involving
'video nasties'. In 1999, after the censors finally changed their policy,
they took the plunge and passed it uncut, for cinema and video, 25 years
since they first banned it.
- The movie
wasn't released in Australia until the early 1980s.
- An uncredited
and then unknown John Larroquette provided the narration in the original
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Despite becoming a distinguished actor
in the years since, he happily agreed to reprise his role for the remake.
OTHER FILM FACTS