Thursday’s Thoughts: Leatherface – A True Story?

Posted: January 3, 2013 by jperritt in Horror, Thursday's Thoughts
Tags: , , , ,

the_texas_chainsaw_massacre_imageDid you know Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based on a true story?

I’m sure many of us have either said or heard that phrase in relation to this film, however, the statement is more false then true.  The 1974 cult classic film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, made such an impact on audiences they wanted it to be true.  Of course marketing apparently assisted with the fabrication, but audiences also embraced it.
The story of Leatherface actually came from the life of a man named Ed Gein.  However, Gein never went on a massacre (he killed two people, which is one short of the classification of a serial killer), he didn’t use a chainsaw, and he didn’t live in Texas – he lived in Wisconsin.  I guess The Wisconsin Chainsaw Massacre doesn’t have the same ring to it.
However, people took elements from the story of Gein and fused it with Chainsaw to make it scarier.  The aspect of the story possibly being true just sends chills down people’s spines.  I remember going to see The Blair Witch Project in high school (I believe this was the first film in the ‘found footage’ genre).  There was a rumor going around that this movie was true, and the documentary style of the film added to that.  There hadn’t been a movie I had seen like this, so many believed it really happened.  Needless to say, it was much more frightening to think this truly happened.
Whether the filmmakers or movie-goers perpetuated the tale about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn’t matter.  The point is, the story being true seems to enhance the emotional aspect of watching the film.  Imagining a madman using a chainsaw to kill is scary enough.  But, imagining that there was a real man in Texas using a chainsaw to kill real people adds another layer of fright to it.  Or does it?
Be sure and check back tomorrow as we explore this a bit further.
  1. […] Yesterday we looked at the “true story” of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Even though the story is merely a fabrication of some actual events, we concluded that adding the element of truth to the story makes it more frightening.  Everyone is  more at ease to know a movie is only make-believe.  The thought, It didn’t really happen, helps us sleep without a nightlight. […]

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