The original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (yep, “chainsaw” originally spelled as two words in the title of the 1974 classic) claimed to be based on historical occurrences. Still, the truth is murkier (and maybe much darker) than fiction. Continue reading (if you dare) to find out if the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is true, but be warned: the information you are about to read is frightening and may be triggering for some.
Is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre True?
Tobe Hooper, the filmmaker of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has stated that several parts of the murders, particularly Leatherface’s distinctive skin mask, were inspired by serial killer Ed Gein’s crimes. Gein’s murders are thought to have occurred between 1954 and 1957, but Gein was based in Wisconsin, not Texas.
“My family in a town near Ed Gein told me these awful stories of human skin lampshades, furniture, and other such things. “I assume it was a little grave robbery,” Hooper (a native Texan) stated, adding that he grew up with Gein as a bogeyman character in “campfire legends.” “However, he was unaware of the murderer’s actual past.
Judge Robert H. Gollmar, who presided over Gein’s trial, wrote a book about the case called Edward Gein: America’s Most Bizarre Murderer, detailing the horrors discovered in Gein’s home, such as murder victims’ heads, bones, and bodies; human skulls; and masks, bowls, chair covers, leggings, and lampshades made of human skin.
Gein, a serial grave robber, was eventually tried and convicted of only two genuine murders, leaving open the question of whether the bones in his home came from bodies he illegally unearthed or from more victims who went undiscovered.
Where did the true chainsaw slaughter take place?
Gein’s murders were conducted in and around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin—he was known in real life as the “Butcher of Plainfield”—but no actual chainsaws were used in his killings, as far as the world is aware. Elmer Wayne Henley is said to have influenced Leatherface. Dean Corll employed Henley and David Owen Brooks as teenagers to assist him to seduce, rape and murdering teenage boys.
At least 28 boys were killed by the group known as The Houston Mass Murders before Henley shot Corll and confessed to his role in the other boys’ deaths. The perpetrators’ method of choice for killing, according to reports, was strangling rather than chainsaws. Henley was convicted of six 99-year prison terms when he was 18 years old. Brooks, who was condemned to 99 years in prison, died in May 2020 from COVID-19.
Was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre inspired by a true story?
The cannibalistic and bloodthirsty Sawyer family is featured in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, however, they are not based on any real persons. However, Gein, like Leatherface, had a strange obsession with his mother, which inspired the Norman Bates character in Psycho.
Was Leatherface modeled after a real person?
Leatherface was heavily influenced by Gein, right down to the skin mask. However, Texas Chain Saw Massacre co-writer Kim Henkel noted to Texas Monthly that Gein was not alone in being a gruesome muse. “I studied Gein, but I was also interested in a murder case in Houston at the time, involving a serial killer named Elmer Wayne Henley. He was a young man who helped an older homosexual man find victims “Henkel remembered.
“I saw a news program in which Elmer Wayne… stated, ‘I committed these atrocities, and I’m going to stand up and take it like a man.’ That he had this conventional morality at that point struck me as interesting. He wanted it known that now that he’d been apprehended, he’d do the right thing. So I attempted to imbue the characters with this type of moral ambiguity.”
Who was the true Texas Chainsaw Massacre assassin?
There was never such thing as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (thankfully, yet). Gein and Henley are loosely based on the violent family in the film franchise.