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Movie Myths: ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Was Real

New Line

Following the 1974 release of Tobe Hooper’s horror classic ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,’ many people believed the film was based on a true story thanks to the grainy, low-budget style in which the film was shot. And the home video release featured this synopsis:

“The film is an account of a tragedy which befell a group of five youths (…) This video cassette is based on a true incident and is definitely not for the squamish or the nervous.”
And, well, have you guys driven through the middle of nowhere in Texas? It’s pretty easy to believe a family of cannibals and their skin-mask-wearing, chainsaw-wielding kin are waiting to eat you if your car breaks down.

True or False? Sort of true! No, there’s no Sally or Leatherface or backwoods cannibal family, but there was a serial killer in Wisconsin named Ed Gein, who also inspired the stories in ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho.’ He was a mama’s boy with some serious lady problems — he’d murder women and make furniture and other knickknacks out of their skin, bones, and organs. So yes, there did exist someone as depraved as the cannibal family and Leatherface, but no, the film wasn’t based on a real murder-family or series of events, and was only somewhat inspired by Gein.

Next: The 10 Most Confusing Movies Ever

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