1. Teri McMinn, who played Pam, was actually hung up the meat hook by an apparatus with a nylon cord that went between her legs, causing her a great deal of pain.
DID YOU KNOW?
2. During the dinner scene, when Leatherface cuts Sally's finger, he actually does cut her finger because they couldn't get the fake blood to come out of the tube behind the blade. Gunnar Hansen explains in the DVD commentary that he got so frustrated that the tube wasn't working, he actually cut her finger to get it over with.
3. The film wasn't released in Australia until the early 1980s.
5. When it was first released, the film was so horrifying that people actually walked out on just the sneak previews for it.
6. After getting into the old-age makeup, John Dugan decided that he did not ever want to go through the process again, meaning that all the scenes with him had to be filmed in the same session before he could take the makeup off. This entire process took about 36 hours (five of which which took to put the makeup on).
7. Because of Dugan only having one session to film, the whole dinner scene took 27 hours straight to film. This was during a brutal summer heat wave where the average temperature exceeded 100 degrees, with the cast and crew sitting in a room filled with dead animals and rotting food with no air conditioning, ventilation or electric fans. Edwin Neal, who played the Hitchhiker, claimed, "Filming that scene was the worst time of my life...and I had been in Vietnam, with people trying to kill me, so I guess that shows how bad it was."
8. The film was one of the rare movies actually shot in chronological order.
9. The chainsaw used in this film was a Poulan 245A, with a piece of black tape covering the Poulan logo in order to avoid a possible lawsuit.
10. The film was rejected by the British film censors in 1975, but it did get a limited cinema release in the London area thanks to the GLC (Greater London Council). It was banned again in 1977, when the censors' attempts to cut it were unsuccessful, (for the purposes of a wider release). It was then banned again in 1984 due to the growing controversy involving 'video nasties'. In 1999, after the censors finally changed their policy, they took the plunge, and passed it uncut, for the cinema and video, after 25 years.
11. The original titles of the film were "Head Cheese", "Stalking Leatherface", and "Leatherface", before Tobe Hooper ultimately decided on "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".
12. A family was actually living in the house that served as the Sawyer family house in the later half of the movie. The owners rented out their house to the film crew and continued to stay there during the entire shoot. During filming, the crew discovered that one of the residents had been cultivating a marijuana field in the back yard; fearful that production would be shut down if they were found near the plants, the filmmakers called the Sheriff, but he never arrived to investigate.
13. The human skeleton in the house at the end of the movie was a real human skeleton. They used a real one because a human skeleton from India is far cheaper then a fake plastic skeleton.
14. Tobe Hooper allowed Gunnar Hansen to develop the Leatherface character as he saw fit, under his supervision. Hansen decided that Leatherface was mentally retarded and never learned to talk properly, so he went to a school for the mentally challenged and watched how they moved and listened to them talk to get a feel for the character.
15. Leatherface had "lines" in the script that were gibberish with little side notes indicating what he was trying to say.
16. The close-up of Leatherface cutting his leg on the chainsaw was the last shot to be filmed; Gunnar Hansen was wearing a metal plate over his leg, which was then covered with a piece of meat and a blood bag.
17. Edwin Neal, who played the Hitchhiker, said that making the film was more miserable than his service in Vietnam and said that he might kill director Tobe Hooper if he ever saw him again.
18. Due to the low budget, Gunnar Hansen had only one costume to wear as Leatherface. The shirt had been dyed, so it could not be washed; Hansen had to wear it for four straight weeks of filming in the Texas summer. By the end of the shoot, no one wanted to eat lunch with Hansen because his clothing smelled so bad.
19. Tobe Hooper originally intended to make the movie "PG" by keeping violence moderate and language mild, but despite cutting and repeated submissions, the Ratings Board insisted on the "R" rating for the effectiveness of what is onscreen and what is implied offscreen. Hooper had a similar ratings problem with the sequel.
20. The soundtrack contains the sounds an animal would hear inside a slaughterhouse.
21. Contrary to popular belief, this film is not a true story. It was filmed from July 15- August 14, 1973, while the opening narrative claims that the real events took place on August 18, 1973. So it is impossible for the film to be based on actual events which had not happened at the time of filming.
22. The van the group drove in the movie belonged to Ted Nicolaou, who worked as a sound recordist on the film. There were 2 vans used- one small one was for the grip, and the other, larger one was for the film. Subsequently, two days after production, the larger van was destroyed when it hit a cow going 40 mph.
23. Gunnar Hansen said that during filming, he didn't get along very well with Paul A. Partain, who played Franklin. A few years later, Hansen met Partain again and realized that Partain, a method actor, had simply chosen to stay in character, even when not filming. The two remained good friends up until Partain's death in 2005.
24. Leatherface's teeth were prostheses made especially for Gunnar Hansen by his dentist.
25. Tobe Hooper used a stunt double for Sally's leap through the window; all the same, Marilyn Burns actually hurt herself shooting the insert of her falling to the ground.
26. Gunnar Hansen hit his head on doorways and other objects several times during the shoot because the Leatherface mask severely limited his peripheral vision and the three-inch heels he wore made his 6'4" frame too high to clear all obstacles. He even knocked himself out once when he was dragging Pam back into the room.
27. Even in his lift boots, Gunnar Hansen could run faster than Marilyn Burns, so he had to improvise and do random things when chasing her through the woods (you'll notice in one head-on shot that he starts slicing up tree branches in the background).
28. Edwin Neal said in a documentary that he read for the part acting like an eccentric nephew of his and that, luckily for him, it was exactly what Tobe Hooper was looking for.
29. Some urban legends say that the "real" Texas Chainsaw Massacre took place near Poth, (a small town about 36 miles southeast of San Antonio. This is false. The film is fictional and based loosely on the life of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein (as is the classic 'Psycho').
30. Tobe Hooper said his motivation for creating the Sawyer family was to 'create a family of Ed Geins'.
31. Marilyn Burns' costume was so drenched in fake blood that it was virtually solid by the last day's shoot.
32. Marilyn Burns, whose character was chased by Leatherface through the undergrowth, actually cut herself on the branches quite badly, so a lot of the blood on her body and clothes is real.
33. The financing for this film came from the profits of a previous film the production company (Bryanston Pictures) had made- 'Deep Throat'.
34. Since the film's original release, the location used as the Sawyer family house has changed completely. It's now an open field, with no indication there had ever been a house there. The house itself has been relocated and fully restored. It is now operated as the Junction House Restaurant on the grounds of the Antlers Hotel complex at 1010 King Street in Kingsland, Texas.
35. 'Entertainment Weekly' magazine voted this the the second scariest film ever made, behind 'The Exorcist'.
36. The film originally had a two-week shooting schedule, but filming ultimately took four weeks to complete.
37. The company (Vortex, Inc.) worked seven days a week, 16 hours a day, in the summertime in one of Texas' notoriously brutal heat waves, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees every single day of the shoot.
38. One of the crew members, Dorothy J. Pearl, accidentally injected herself in the leg with formaldehyde while preparing one of the animal carcass props.
39. The film's original distributor was Bryanston Distribution Company, in fact a Mafia front operated by Louis "Butchie" Peraino, who used the movie to launder profits he made from the film 'Deep Throat'. In return, the production received only enough money to reimburse the investors and pay the cast and crew $405 a piece. The producers eventually discovered that Peraino had lied to them about the film's profits; after Peraino was arrested on obscenity charges when his role in 'Deep Throat' was revealed, the cast and crew filed a suit against him and were awarded $25,000 each. New Line Cinema, which obtained the rights to TCM from the bankrupt Bryanston, paid the cast and crew as part of the purchase agreement.
40. According to John Larroquette, his payment for doing the opening narration was a marijuana joint.
41. Many of the film's original locations were later featured in 'Head Cheese', a short film named after one of TCM's early titles during production in 1973.
42. The film's original budget was $60,000; during the editing process, the filmmakers amassed an additional $80,000 in costs, requiring that they sell off portions of their ownership in the film's royalties.
43. The film has had a long and troubled "relationship" with German law. The original theatrical version in West Germany was denied a rating and therefore cut. In 1982, the film was put on the index for youth-endangering media. Then in 1985, the film was banished by the Munich district court and all existing copies were confiscated. Over the years, the film was released on VHS and DVD in various (legal and illegal) versions, mostly cut. Since April 2008, the new German licensee, Turbine Medien, has tried to get the banishment revoked and the film removed from the index. In September 2011, the district court of Frankfurt/Main finally lifted the banishment of the film (it is the first time in Germany that such an attempt was successful, making judiciary history). A few months later, in December 2011, the film was removed from the BPJM index and subsequently rated "Not Under 18" by the FSK.
44. Jim Siedow, who played The Cook (Leatherface's brother), was 20 years older than John Dugan, who plays Leatherface's grandfather.
45. A still photo taken during filming of the entire Sawyer family posing outside the house as a gag was found and stolen from the set by a visiting German reporter who took it back to West Germany with him, and the image of the family eventually became the advertising poster for the first release of the movie in West Germany.
46. Despite the obvious implications of the film's title, only one victim is killed by a chainsaw. Two more are bludgeoned, one is impaled on a meat hook, and one is run over by a semi truck.
47. The chainsaw is actually seen cutting through flesh only twice on-screen, once for Franklin's death, and then the leg of Leatherface himself at the very end.
48. In the original script, a dead dog was supposed to be used instead of the armadillo that actually became an iconic shot and a sick form of foreshadowing.
49. Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel wanted to get to Hollywood and make a name for themselves, and they knew they weren't going to do it making documentaries for PBS, so they decided to make a horror film.
50. During Franklin's death scene, several crew members, including Tobe Hooper himself surrounded the shot and physically threw splotches of caro syrup at the scene for the blood effect. Some even spit it out of their mouths.
51. According to Tobe Hooper, the best shot of the entire film was when he was dollied under the swing outside as Pam approaches the house.
52. During the infamous 27-hour dinner scene shoot, cast and crew used to take breaks to go outside and throw up from heat exhaustion.
53. During the early scene where Franklin loses control and rolls down the hill into a ditch, Paul Partain actually has a paycheck in his front shirt pocket. Up to that point, he hadn't been paid, and demanded right then and there to be paid or he would quit the film. Kim Henkel subsequently wrote the check and filming continued. I wonder if that check bounced?
54. Producer Ron Bozeman would go on to work on the Oscar-winning 'Silence Of The Lambs'.
55. Paul Partain (Franklin) stayed in character the entire shoot, to the point where his fellow cast mates got sick of him.
56. The cast would not talk to or see Gunnar Hansen in costume until their death scene-- it made the scares more authentic.
57. Cinematographer Daniel Pearl almost lost an eye during filming the Leatherface/Sally chase scene. As he was being wheeled through the woods, his elbow hit a tree, forcing the camera back into his eye.
58. When Leatherface is about to carve up Jerry, Leatherface actually tripped and fell with the live chainsaw due to his limited vision in the mask. As he fell, he instantly covered up and hoped the saw did not hit him. Luckily, it landed next to him.
59. When the Hitchhiker is hit by the truck, the scene was actually shot in reverse, then through the magic of editing, played backward so it looks like he got ran over.
60. One of the original scenes called for cars to be buried near the Sawyer House with their antennas sticking out of the ground. This was cut for budgetary reasons.
61. Allen Danziger (Jerry) owns a company in Austin called 'Three-Ring Service' that provides entertainment for parties, corporate events, and carnivals, which include balloons, concessions and entertainers. They can be found at www.threeringservice.com.
62. There were several scenes that had to be re-shot because of a bad camera lens.
63. There was originally a scene where Leatherface would be unmasked, revealing how deformed he was underneath. Tobe Hooper cut this because he wanted to maintain the mystery of the masked killer.
64. There was only one scene where Sally (Marilyn Burns) used a stunt double, and that was the scene where Drayton covers her with a burlap sack and beats her with a stick.
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