Did the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Really Happen?


A Quick Note from the Webmaster

I'm truly amazed at this phenomenon, that people around the world believe that the Texas chainsaw Massacre actually happened.  The recent remake is a double-edged sword as well.  Because for some reason, when they read the poster and the trailer that says, "Inspired by a true story", people replace the word, "inspired" with "based".  I suppose it's the same phenomenon when people say that the TCM was the GORIEST movie they ever saw, or swear that the meat hook came out the other side of Pam's chest (which did not happen).  In fact, there is very little blood shown at all throughout the entire movie.  Again, in both cases, it's a strange phenomenon that happens inside of people's minds.

So because of this phenomenon, whether or not they've seen the remake or not, they e-mail me about this question.  This page is an attempt into providing the information to you before you feel the urge to send me an e-mail.  By all means - if you've gone over this entire page and you feel that you have more questions, please feel free to do so.

On the other hand, I have received numerous e-mails from people who I don't even know, who are actually outraged at *me* and they call me every name in the book.  Why?  I believe it's because they have never had the opportunity to understand what is really behind the movie.  They have been told their entire lives, by friends or family, that the story is true.  And then they come across my site, and I wind up being the first to tell them otherwise.  Then, for some reason, I become a target for their hostility.  I opened this site in 1998 ONLY TO REPEAT THE INFORMATION THAT'S ALREADY BEEN OUT THERE FOR OVER 30 YEARS.  Ever heard of the saying, "Don't shoot the messenger"?  I'm tired of being shot repeatedly for doing research that you could have already done yourself.

I'll make one more remark about the hostile e-mails, and then I'll proceed with giving you the information you came here for.  If you e-mail me without the respect for another human being that you don't even know deserves, I will not respond.  I expect that every person, TCM fan or not, should have enough respect to sit behind a keyboard and write a friendly message.  With that being said, let me try to shed some light on this urban legend.


PS - Please disregard my notes about the hostile e-mails if your intentions are good.  I hope you understand that I get over 1000 hits per day to my web site.  With that kind of traffic, I get all kinds of e-mails from around the world.  It's very disconcerting to get these types of e-mails from people I've never met, after I have spent thousands of hours and dollars on a web site I made for the friendly TCM fans for FREE.


The Facts

Sorry, there is/was no such person as "Leatherface", nor was there ever a real Texas Chainsaw Massacre in Texas or any other location in the world for that matter.

The story is VERY LOOSELY based upon Ed Gein, a man from Plainfield, Wisconsin in the 1950's, who murdered only a few women and used parts of their bodies for clothing and furniture. There wasn't even a chainsaw involved in the murders. Ed's story inspired many fictitional stories and movies including Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, the movie Ed Gein, Three on a Meathook, Deranged, and several others. He was eventually caught and put in a mental institution in Wisconsin. He never entered the Texas justice system as thought by many. Gein never even visited Texas in his life. He died in Wisconsin in 1984 in a mental institution of natural causes.

The story of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an original idea created by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel in 1973. Tobe knew of the story of Ed Gein and incorporated his idea of using a chainsaw to create the Leatherface character. If there ever was any "chainsaw massacre" of any kind, anywhere, it is totally unrelated, completely coincidental and had no bearing or impact on Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel's creative process during the production of their 1974 film.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a HUGE urban legend known by many people around the world. If your friend or family member swears that it happened, or they personally knew Leatherface in prison, etc., they're not alone. They're either lying or they themselves have been lied to. If you are still not convinced, please refer to these links for more detailed information on this topic.

The deluxe DVD version of the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, released on March 30th 2004, has two excellent documentaries that helps to explain this. One is entirely focused on Ed Gein's life. The other one goes over the making of the movie. Both are extremely well done and should inform you with great detail about this topic than you probably desire.

Read Gunnar Hansen's FAQ on the matter. He was the actor who originally portrayed Leatherface in the 1974 movie.

There is also http://www.snopes.com/movies/films/chainsaw.asp

There is an official statement from the Texas Prison Museum on this topic as well.

And there are TONS of other sites on the Internet. I suggest http://www.google.com as a starting point. You've already found my site. So keep going if you're not convinced!

In reference to the recent remake of the film, none of it is true. Not even the fake police footage that so many people talk about. Again, the entire premise of the movie is very loosely based upon Ed Gein.

And if you swear that the movie says it's "based" on a true story, you need to look again. It says it's "inspired" by a true story. Which is a completely different meaning than "based". You can visit the official movie web site at http://www.texaschainsawmovie.com, read the packaging on the DVD jacket, or watch the official trailer from the movie. As I'm sure you know, the words "based" and "inspired" have two completely different meanings.

There are over 30 years worth of interviews and documentaries with the original 1974 cast and crew members that also support this fact. If you have the DVD of the original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, listen to the audio commentary track with Tobe Hooper, Gunnar Hansen and Daniel Pearle who also repeat this information again on that track.

Not only has my web site, http://www.texaschainsawmassacre.net been online continually since 1998, I have several credits in the documentary, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Shocking Truth" which is available on DVD. I write monthly articles on the TCM for magazines, I have been published in many newspapers and I have been interviewed in TV news specials and other documentaries. I am also close friends and business partners with most of the original cast and crew of the 1974 movie as well as the 2003 remake film.

If after going over this material you still have questions, please let me know.





Texas Chainsaw Massacre on DVD - Listen to the commentary track with Tobe Hooper, Daniel Pearl and Gunnar Hansen.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Shocking Truth - A thorough documentary focusing on the cast, crew and film locations.  I have a credit in this documentary for research.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre - A Family Portrait - The first documentary about the making of the film, released in the 1980's.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003 Remake 2-Disc Deluxe DVD - There are two excellent documentaries in this package that once again repeats this information.  One focuses only on Ed Gein, the other is about the making of the movie, which again restates Ed Gein's minor influence on the movie.


Web Sites

The Straight Dope - This is a good starting place.

The Crime Library - Great info on the man who inspired TCM, Ed Gein.

Gunnar Hansen - How about hearing this from the man who played Leatherface himself?

Google - Click on THIS LINK and you will find the search results for Ed Gein, the cannibal killer of the 1950's.  It was his real life antics that inspired Tobe Hooper to create the character of Leatherface.  Most results on this search will talk about Ed Gein's life and how his story inspired classic movies such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho and Silence of the Lambs (just to name a very few).

House of Horrors - For some reason, this site comes up top on the Google search (right above mine) for Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Saw is Family

Robert A. Burns - Burns was the production designer for TCM.  On this page from his site, he has an entire list of other sources for your enjoyment.

A page with references to Ed Gein and TCM.



This is a good chunk for you to chew on.  Plus, I don't think I need to do ALL the research for you.

Again, please e-mail me if there is still something I have not covered in this page.  If you still believe that the TCM is a true story, please refer to the sources I have listed above.  If you do not follow through with checking out these sources and still believe that the TCM happened, or, you feel the urge to be hostile, don't even bother.



2004 Tim Harden timh@texaschainsawmassacre.net

The latest re-make of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre stars Jessica Biel who was recently on a Hatteras Yacht for sale. I wonder if they watched the TCM documentary from the tv on board.