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Trivia / The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

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  • Actor-Inspired Element: Gunnar Hansen came up with a backstory for Leatherface - saying that he was handicapped and never learned to talk properly. He tried to make his portrayal as non-offensive as possible, and got positive reactions from fans.
  • Amateur Cast: Many of the cast members at the time were relatively unknown actors—Texans who had played roles in commercials, television, and stage shows, as well as performers whom Hooper knew personally, such as Allen Danziger and Jim Siedow.
  • Banned in China:
    • The film was banned in Finland for over twenty years.
    • It was also banned in the UK for having "Chain Saw" in the title. It was never on the official Video Nasties list, though it has at times been reported as such.
    • Banned in Germany for 25 years, save for a heavily censored version that lacked 12 minutes of film. The ban was lifted in 2012 after a three-year lawsuit carried on by the new rights holder.
  • Breakthrough Hit: For Tobe Hooper.
  • Channel Hop: The film was produced and released independently by Bryanston Pictures. The home video rights are currently with MPI Media Group, under their Dark Sky Films banner. They also licensed it to Pioneer Home Entertainment (better known for their anime releases) back in the 90s/early 2000s.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • Italian, Non aprite quella porta (Don't Open That Door).
    • Japanese, 悪魔のいけにえ (Akuma no Ikenie), Devil's Sacrifice.
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  • Dueling Movies: With Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile, another 1974 movie that was inspired by the Ed Gein case from the 1950s.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • For the scene where Pam was hung up on a meathook, Teri McMinn was held there by nylon rope tied between her legs. The position ending up being extremely painful for her, and the screaming Pam does in the scene is genuine pain on the part of Teri.
    • When Leatherface cuts Sally's finger so Grandpa can drink her blood, the device attached to the knife that was supposed to squirt stage blood broke. Gunnar Hansen, already breaking down from having to film the scene (see Sanity Slippage), proceeded to cut Marilyn Burns' finger open for real in order to get the scene done.
    • Most of the actors didn't actually meet Gunnar Hansen, let alone see him in costume, before their first (which is also usually their last) scene with him. Additionally, there was only one Leatherface outfit and they didn't dare wash it, so Hansen was in the same outfit for weeks in hot Texas weather, making the other actors physically repulsed by his, um, aroma. His smell reportedly got so bad that no one wanted to eat lunch with him, further isolating him from the rest of the cast, even his own "family."
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    • When Leatherface cuts his leg on the chainsaw, the friction of the blade caused the protective plate on Gunnar Hansen's leg to heat up and burn his leg. So his scream of pain was real.
  • Inspiration for the Work: Tobe Hooper credited the graphic coverage of violence by San Antonio news outlets as one inspiration for the film and based elements of the plot on murderer Ed Gein. The idea of using a chainsaw as the murder weapon came to Hooper while he was in the hardware section of a busy store, contemplating how to speed his way through the crowd.
  • Late Export for You: The movie wasn't released in Australia or New Zealand until the early 1980s, and it was only released in Super 8 format in New Zealand until the mid-'90s.
  • No Budget: As mentioned on the main page, the film only had a budget of $140,000.
  • Pop Culture Urban Legends: A persistent urban legend is that the movie's popularity was due to including subliminal messages telling viewers they loved the film.
  • The Red Stapler: Inverted. According to Edwin Neal (Nubbins/Hitchhiker), Texas State Troopers actually shook his hand and thanked him for causing crime to drop 18%; apparently the message audiences took away from the movie was "Don't pick up hitchhikers".
  • Scully Box: Gunnar Hansen wore three-inch lifts in his boots so that he towered over the rest of the cast.
  • Throw It In!:
    • Marilyn Burns cut herself on the branches while running from Leatherface, so a lot of the blood on her skin and clothes is real.
    • Gunnar also improvised the iconic chainsaw tantrum when Sally gets away. He was scripted to just stamp his feet in frustration, but he did it to scare Tobe Hooper as payback for the Troubled Production.
    • The roadkill armadillo at the beginning was real. The script called for a dead dog, and a fake one was built for the scene, but the producers stumbled across the armadillo while out location scouting and decided to go for authenticity.
  • Troubled Production: Filming went reasonably smoothly for the most part, but its third act seemed to be trying to make up for that.
    • First, lead actress Marilyn Burns proved completely unable to convincingly keep ahead of Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface while he was chasing her through the woods, forcing Hansen to run much slower than he actually could, and even resorting in one shot to pointlessly cutting up tree branches to let Burns widen the gap between them. There was also an incident where Hansen slipped on the wet grass and lost his grip on the still-running chainsaw, which flew up in the air and then came down point-first just inches from his head.
    • For the scene where Sally's finger is cut for the Grandfather to suck on, the device to spurt fake blood wouldn't work. Thus, what you're watching in that scene is Marilyn Burns actually getting her finger sliced open and blood actually sucked.
    • And then came the worst part of all with the climactic dinner scene. The 110 degree Texas heat plus the filming lights meant all the food on the table quickly rotted, and the room's poor ventilation made the stink even worse, raising it to genuinely health-threatening levels. Filming for 27 straight hours led to several of the actors suffering genuine Sanity Slippage and taking Tobe Hooper's direction as meaning they really were their characters, not exactly the result you want when most of them were playing cannibalistic murderers. (The DVD commentary has Gunnar Hansen eerily recounting how he genuinely wanted to kill Marilyn Burns for a few seconds after being ordered to by his "brother.") Edwin Neal, who played the Hitchhiker, had just come home from the Vietnam War and described filming this scene as worse than anything the Viet Cong put him through. After it was all over, the rest of the crew were all furious at Hooper, who said it took years for any of them to cool off.
  • Word of Saint Paul: Teri McGinn has said in interviews that she feels Pam escaped from the freezer and made it out alive, as she thought of her as The Determinator.
  • Working Title: Stalking Leatherface and Head Cheese.


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