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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

texasI hadn’t seen this movie since the 1980s when I watched it on television with my Halloween-loving cousin, Pam. It was a little too much for me to handle then, so I left Pam’s house early without finishing it and ran quickly home to my mama.

Last night, the movie was on FUSE, and it wasn’t as terrifying as I remembered as a kid, but I’m sure it still has the potential to scare the leggings off anyone who hasn’t seen as many horror films as I have.

I recently read a review about “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” that contrasts the 1974 version and the “Chainsaw” film released a couple of years ago. The reviewer argued that one element missing from the remake is Vietnam. Apparently, the director had the Vietnam war in mind when he shaped the original film, and the murder and mayhem within it supposedly symbolizes the terror and insanity of Vietnam.

I also read a short piece today about Ed Gein, the man who inspired the character Leatherface. I hadn’t realized that Gein was also the basis of Norman Bates’ “Psycho” character and the Buffalo Bill serial killer in “Silence of the Lambs.”

“Chainsaw” is not a completely accurate picture of Gein. Apparently, he did wear human skin on his face like Leatherface and a hand-sewn skin suit on his body like Buffalo Bill because he had gender-identity issues and wanted to become a woman.

Gein, however, didn’t chase his victims with a chainsaw. I guess that element was thrown in for effect, but if you ask me, murdering people and wearing a suit made of epidermis is pretty terrifyingly effective without the added power tool.

Gein also wasn’t from Texas, and none of his murders occurred there. They happened in Wisconsin, his home state. I guess the backwoods Southern “Deliverance” character is a stereotype too irresistible not to perpetuate.

The article reported that the “Chainsaw” farmhouse was very similar to Gein’s home. Apparently, he hung bone mobiles inside, crafted nipple belts and decorated with skin lampshades. Talk about someone in need of a consult from Vern on “Trading Spaces.”

Click here to learn more about Gein.

Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.


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