Beginnings

Back then, in winter of 1973, before Mo-Pac (Loop 1) was built, it was a short walk from my apartment on Waterston, across the old Mo-Pac railroad tracks to Tobe’s house on West 12th. That’s where we wrote Headcheese, the first draft of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Kim Henkel

 In the winter of ’73 both Hooper and Henkel had day jobs, Hooper directing commercials, industrial, and political spots for Filmhouse, a local Austin production company, while Henkel worked as a commercial illustrator. Late nights Henkel would walk over to Hooper’s, where they, “…squatted on the dining room floor and worked out the arc of the scenes.” Apparently there was no furniture—then Henkel would go out to the kitchen, “…there was a linoleum topped table and I had an old manual typewriter. I’d bang out a half-dozen pages and bring them in to Tobe. Our criterion was, if I kept him chuckling, we were doing okay.”

Once they had a completed script, Hooper and Henkel—without connections to investors willing to put money into high risk, low budget, independent films—got the script out to any and everyone they felt might lead them to an investor. They were prepared for the worst with three separate budgets: a high-end budget of $60,000.00, a mid-range budget of $40,000.00, and a desperation black and white budget of $25,000.00.

A friend of Henkel’s who got the script was Ron Bozman. Bozman and Henkel met on the set of J.D. Feigelson’s indy film, Windsplitter, and Henkel wanted Bozman to Production Manage on Leatherface (the film’s working title). Bozman—as it happened—had been a friend and classmate of Warren Skaaren’s at Rice University, and Skaaren was then Governor Preston Smith’s choice as the inaugural Commissioner of the newly-formed Texas Film Commission.

Henkel credits Skaaren with giving the film its final title, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and it was Skaaren who put Hooper and Henkel together with former state legislator, William J. Parsley. Parsley became the film’s principal investor. “I didn’t fully appreciate it then,” Henkel says, “but it was an enormous leap of faith on Bill’s part. My life, and the lives of many, many others would be unimaginably different, if not for him.“

Both production and post-production were fraught with problems. Before it was over, the budget would balloon to just over $100,000. Undaunted, Hooper and Henkel set about putting together the team that would bring to life The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a film that would bring about a quantum shift in the landscape of horror, create Leatherface –  arguably, the most iconic horror villian –  and imprint itself indelibly on the American psyche. 

Kim Henkel
Writer

Tobe Hooper
Writer & Director 

The Making of

In the grueling dog-days of a Texas summer, a ragtag band of filmmakers, students, friends, family, and hangers-on—working with a meager $60,000.00 dollar budget—set out to make an independent horror film. Shot in 16mm, their efforts would produce, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), a film that in the almost 50 years since its modest beginnings has come to be regarded as a classic of modern American cinema.

Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Allen Danziger, Teri McMinn, Tobe Hooper, Dottie Pearl & William Vail

Gunnar Hansen, Daniel Pearl & J. Michael McClary

Gunnar Hansen & William Vail

…There were times I wondered
whether we would survive
the filming conditions…

Gunnar Hansen

Kim Henkel

 Lou Perryman

Tobe Hooper

Cast

Marilyn Burns
Sally Hardesty

Gunnar Hansen
Leatherface

Paul A. Partain
Franklin Hardesty

Edwin Neal
The Hitchhiker

Allen Danziger
Jerry

Jim Siedow
The Cook

Teri McMinn
Pam

John Dugan
Grandpa

William Vail
Kirk

Robert Courtin
The Window Washer

Paul A. Partain
Franklin Hardesty

Edwin Neal
The Hitchhiker

Teri McMinn
Pam

Robert Courtin
The Window Washer

Allen Danziger
Jerry

Jim Siedow
The Cook

John Dugan
Grandpa

William Vail
Kirk

Impact

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
is a vile little piece of sick crap…”

Stephen Koch

Made in grueling heat in the summer of 1973, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, opened in 230 theaters on October 11th, 1974, to a less-than-stellar reception.

The Rice University football team blamed the film for their 25-6 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks. “It’s gross. It made me sick…I couldn’t sleep all night long,” the team punter groused.

Film critic and Tank McNamara creator, Jeff Millar, screamed, “…what’s the point of carping about construction and, you know, AESTHETICS when ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ is being pitched for the geek trade?”

But then came a review by Rex Reed that encouraged readers to …”run, not walk…” to the nearest theater. Soon, an invitation to the prestigious “Director’s Fortnight program” at the Cannes Film Festival, and the acquisition of a print of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the permanent collection at the  Museum of Modern Art, began to reflect the growing critical acclaim the film would eventually achieve. 

In the course of forty plus years it’s segued from “…sick crap…” to:

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a perfect horror film. From an aesthetic and narrative standpoint, it is one of the most emulated genre films of the last half century…The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is both of its time and timeless, the rarely-achieved goal of any serious work of art.”

Matt Risnes

Film Credits

Bearded Man
Storyteller
Cowboy
Cattle truck driver
Drunk
Pick up driver

Music Score

Narration
  
Voice of Radio News

Assistant Director

Lighting
Assistant Cameraman
Location sound recording
Post production sound/Boom Man

Art director
Grandfather’s makeup

Sound Mix

Dubbing Mixers

Titles, opticals & Prints

Makeup
Camera Assistant
Key Grip

Script Girl
Additional Photography
Rerecording
Grip
Stunt Driver
Stunts

Associate Producer

Production Assistants

William Creamer
John Henry Faulk
Jerry Green
Ed Guinn
Joe Bill Hogan
Perry Lorenz

Tobe Hooper
Wayne Bell

John Larroquette
Levie Isaacks

Sallye Richardson

Iynn Lochwood
Lou Perryman
Ted Nicolaou
Wayne Bell

Robert A. Burns
W. E. Barnes

TODD/AO

Buzz Knudson · Jay Harding

CFI

Dorothy Pearl
J. Michael McClary
Linn Schwitz

Mary Church
Tobe Hooper
Paul Harrison
Rod Ponton
Perry Lorenz
Mary Church

Richard Saenz

Robert Pustejovski
N. C. Parsley
Sally Nicolaou
Paullete Gochnour
Paula Eaton
Charlie Loving
Jerry Bellnoski
Jim Crow
David Spaw
George Baetz
Tom Foote

Sequels, Prequels, Remakes

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

     

     

     

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

     

     

     

  • Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

     

     

     

  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

     

     

     

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

     

     

     

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

     

     

     

  • Texas Chainsaw 3D

     

     

     

  • Leatherface

     

     

     

Kim Henkel

Kim Henkel is an American producer and screenwriter best known for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), (co-written and co-produced with Tobe Hooper), and Eagle Pennell’s masterwork, Last Night at the Alamo (1984) (Screenplay by Henkel. Co-produced by Henkel and Pennell).

Vincent Canby in his review of “Last Night at the Alamo,in the New York Times said this, “ Last Night at the Alamo,an 82-minute import from Texas, photographed on grainy, black- and-white film stock, is a small, unassuming, all-American classic. It's the kind of low- budget, regional movie that suddenly reminds us that, between New York and Hollywood, there's a vast, unruly, exuberant continent and filmmakers still capable of seeing and hearing what's going on in it. It's simultaneously funny and bleak, sweet and unsentimental. If I had to choose the one current film that most accurately reflects what a certain kind of American life is like today, this would be the film.

Other work includes a sequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), and Boneboys 2011, and Wild Man of the Navidad 2008, written and directed by former students Duane Graves and Justin Meeks.

Henkel is a founding partner of Exurbia Films, a film production and management company, headquartered in Austin, TX.

Tobe Hooper

(1943 – 2017)

Tobe Hooper was an American director, screenwriter and producer, best known for his masterful work in the horror genre. Working out of Austin, Texas, Hooper honed his craft making commercials, industrials, political spots, and documentaries, including Peter, Paul, and Mary: The Song is Love (1971). His first feature effort, Eggshells, although well received on the festival circuit, failed at the box office. Determined that would not happen again, his follow-up effort, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), would shake up the world of cinema, forever change the face of horror, and spawn a billion dollar franchise. An invitation to screen at the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Director’s Fortnight, the Museum of Modern Art’s acquisition of a print for its permanent collection, and rave reviews from Rex Reed and others fueled its status as a groundbreaking work.  Other credits include Funhouse, the televisions series, Salem’s Lot, Poltergeist, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Hooper died August 25, 2017 in Los Angeles CA.

"....The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a seminal work in horror cinema...."
                                                  - John Carpenter

“…he inspired me and kept me going when I was first learning to tell my stories….”
                                                  - Kevin Smith

"Tobe Hooper, a kind, warm-hearted man who made the most terrifying film ever."
                                                 - William Friedkin

Marilyn Burns (Sally)

(1949-2014)

Marilyn’s role in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) originated the Final Girl concept. Born: Mary Lynn Ann Burns May 7, 1949  Erie, PA – Died: August 5, 2014 Houston, TX. She is a graduate of the UT Austin School of Drama.

The early notoriety of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre made it difficult for Marilyn to land parts in mainstream films. “It hurt me,” Marilyn said in the Houston Chronicle interview. “They’d call me in for parts and complain about ‘Chainsaw.”

But perceptions changer: “Never in my wildest dreams,” Burns said of the film, “did I think that almost 40 years later I would be talking about it.”

In 1994, Burns briefly reprised her role as Sally Hardesty in the sequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), and again in Chainsaw 3D (2013).

While in high school, Burns made her film debut as a tour guide in Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud (1970).

Trivia: Months before her starring turn in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Burns worked as a stand-in for Susan Sarandon. She was featured as pregnant Manson family member, Linda Kasabian, in the television film, Helter Skelter (1976).

 

Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface

(1947 – 2015)

A gentle giant who breathed life into arguably the most iconic horror villain of all time. Born: March 4, 1947 Reykjavik, Iceland – Died: November 7, 2015 Northeast Harbor, Maine.

Hansen majored in English and mathematics as an undergraduate, and did graduate work in Scandinavian Studies and English at the University of Texas, Austin.

He is the author of the nonfiction work, Islands at the Edge of Time, A journey to America's Barrier Islands, 1993. And In 2013 he wrote Chain Saw Confidential, which gave readers a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the 1974 film.

Trivia: At 6’4” Hansen towered over Final Girl, Marilyn Burns, by a full 14 inches. Uncle of Kristin Hansen (Longmire, Breaking Bad)

Paul A. Partain (Franklin)

(1946-2005)

Memorable for his role as the whiny, obnoxious wheel-chair bound invalid, Franklin, Paul Alan Partain was born Nov. 22, 1946 in Austin, TX. His first film role was the character, Willy, in Sidney Lumet’s, Lovin’ Molly (1974). Other film appearances include Race with the Devil (1975) Rolling Thunder (!977). and a cameo in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994). Paul served in the US Navy and was a Vietnam veteran. He died January 28, 2005 in Austin, TX of cancer.

 

 

Edwin Neal (The Hitchhiker)

The straight-razor wielding Hitchhiker, his iconic palm-cutting scene in the van scars the brain.

Born July 12, 1945 in Houston, TX, Neal studied acting and directing at UT Austin with B. Iden Payne. Other film roles include the Mercer Interrogator in Oliver Stone’s JFK, and Big Chuck's Henchman in My Boyfriend’s Back. Her was inducted into the Hollywood Horror Hall of Fame in 1993.

Trivia: Father of six. Received a Bronze Star for Valor during his service in Vietnam (1969). Once owned the world’s largest collection of movie posters.

 

Allen Danziger (Jerry)Related image

Watching Jerry go down from a blow from Leatherface’s hammer was watching a man experience abject terror. Born July 23, 1942 Boston, MA., Allen appeared in Tobe Hooper’s first feature, Eggshells (1969) and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth (2000).

Allen was awarded a B.S. in Psychology from City College, N.Y. (1964), M.S. Social Psychology from UT Austin (1968), and a MSW the UT school of Social Work and received an MSW (1970).

Allen lives in Austin Texas. He owns an entertainment company, Three Ring Service, and occasionally attends horror and sci-fi conventions.

Trivia: His son Jason, at the age of 8 months, had a cameo in Tobe Hooper’s Eggshells (1969).

 

Jim Siedow (The Cook)

(1920 – 2003)

The unforgettably and preposterously conflicted Cook. In the midst of mayhem he obsesses over breaches in bourgeois values. “Look what your brother did to the door!”

Born June 12, 1920 Cheyenne, Wyoming – Died November 20, 2003 Houston, TX, Siedow performed in touring shows for the WPA, served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, and following the war, worked in radio soap operas in Chicago. Il.

Stage roles included appearances in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Lion in Winter. Directing duties included Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? Other film roles include a turn as a mad bomber in the television thriller, Red Alert,

 

 

Terri McMinn (Pam)Image result for teri mcminn

Teri is, unforgettably, Pam, The Girl on the Meathook. Teri was born August 18, 1951 Houston TX. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is set on that same day, August 18.

Teri studied at The Dallas Theatre Center, attended both UT Austin and St. Edwards University, and furthered her studies in Los Angeles and New York.

Trivia: Height: 5’3”. Both Teri and Marilyn Burns were more than a foot shorter than Gunnar Hansen. While shooting Chainsaw, Teri was a featured player in a Austin Theater production that starred Peter Breck of “Big Valley” fame.

 

John Dugan (Grandpa)

Grandpa pumping his fists and sucking Sally’s (Marilyn Burns) bloodied finger is imprinted on the brain of every horror fan. Dugan was nineteen, and the role of Grandpa in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) was his first film role. Forty years later he once again appeared as Grandpa in the 2013 film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 3D.

Born: Brazil, Indiana 1953, Dugan attended the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago. He continues to work in film—projects in the pipeline include

Rock Paper Dead: Betrayal, The Mangled, and the short, “Harp Brothers”.

Trivia: Dugan’s old man makeup was glued to his face with spirit gum. The spirit gum in combination with the intense heat and sweat caused painful burns.

 

William "Bill" Vail (Kirk)

The first to die. The sudden, shocking violence of his death and the steel door slamming shut reverberate across almost fifty years of cinema. Vail was born on November 30, 1950 in San Antonio, Texas. He is known for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Poltergeist (1982) and Nothing Sacred (1997).

After many years before the camera, Vail moved behind the camera to work as an Art Director and Set Decorator. His many credits include “The Gilmore Girls”, “Young MacGyver”, and “Entourage”.

 

 

Robert Courtin (Window Washer)

(1948 – 1985)

A long overlooked and neglected member of the Chainsaw family, Robert Courtin was born on July 22, 1948 in Minnesota. The Window Washer was Robert’s only film role. Robert worked behind the camera at a camera rental firm in Los Angeles from 1979 until his death on July 11,1985.

 

 

Paul A. Partain (Franklin)

(1946-2005)

Memorable for his role as the whiny, obnoxious wheel-chair bound invalid, Franklin, Paul Alan Partain was born Nov. 22, 1946 in Austin, TX. His first film role was the character, Willy, in Sidney Lumet’s, Lovin’ Molly (1974). Other film appearances include Race with the Devil (1975) Rolling Thunder (!977). and a cameo in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994). Paul served in the US Navy and was a Vietnam veteran. He died January 28, 2005 in Austin, TX of cancer.

 

 

Edwin Neal (The Hitchhiker)

The straight-razor wielding Hitchhiker, his iconic palm-cutting scene in the van scars the brain.

Born July 12, 1945 in Houston, TX, Neal studied acting and directing at UT Austin with B. Iden Payne. Other film roles include the Mercer Interrogator in Oliver Stone’s JFK, and Big Chuck's Henchman in My Boyfriend’s Back. Her was inducted into the Hollywood Horror Hall of Fame in 1993.

Trivia: Father of six. Received a Bronze Star for Valor during his service in Vietnam (1969). Once owned the world’s largest collection of movie posters.

 

Terri McMinn (Pam)Image result for teri mcminn

Teri is, unforgettably, Pam, The Girl on the Meathook. Teri was born August 18, 1951 Houston TX. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is set on that same day, August 18.

Teri studied at The Dallas Theatre Center, attended both UT Austin and St. Edwards University, and furthered her studies in Los Angeles and New York.

Trivia: Height: 5’3”. Both Teri and Marilyn Burns were more than a foot shorter than Gunnar Hansen. While shooting Chainsaw, Teri was a featured player in a Austin Theater production that starred Peter Breck of “Big Valley” fame.

 

Robert Courtin (Window Washer)

(1948 – 1985)

A long overlooked and neglected member of the Chainsaw family, Robert Courtin was born on July 22, 1948 in Minnesota. The Window Washer was Robert’s only film role. Robert worked behind the camera at a camera rental firm in Los Angeles from 1979 until his death on July 11,1985.

 

 

Allen Danziger (Jerry)Related image

Watching Jerry go down from a blow from Leatherface’s hammer was watching a man experience abject terror. Born July 23, 1942 Boston, MA., Allen appeared in Tobe Hooper’s first feature, Eggshells (1969) and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth (2000).

Allen was awarded a B.S. in Psychology from City College, N.Y. (1964), M.S. Social Psychology from UT Austin (1968), and a MSW the UT school of Social Work and received an MSW (1970).

Allen lives in Austin Texas. He owns an entertainment company, Three Ring Service, and occasionally attends horror and sci-fi conventions.

Trivia: His son Jason, at the age of 8 months, had a cameo in Tobe Hooper’s Eggshells (1969).

 

Jim Siedow (The Cook)

(1920 – 2003)

The unforgettably and preposterously conflicted Cook. In the midst of mayhem he obsesses over breaches in bourgeois values. “Look what your brother did to the door!”

Born June 12, 1920 Cheyenne, Wyoming – Died November 20, 2003 Houston, TX, Siedow performed in touring shows for the WPA, served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, and following the war, worked in radio soap operas in Chicago. Il.

Stage roles included appearances in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Lion in Winter. Directing duties included Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? Other film roles include a turn as a mad bomber in the television thriller, Red Alert,

 

 

John Dugan (Grandpa)

Grandpa pumping his fists and sucking Sally’s (Marilyn Burns) bloodied finger is imprinted on the brain of every horror fan. Dugan was nineteen, and the role of Grandpa in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) was his first film role. Forty years later he once again appeared as Grandpa in the 2013 film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 3D.

Born: Brazil, Indiana 1953, Dugan attended the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago. He continues to work in film—projects in the pipeline include

Rock Paper Dead: Betrayal, The Mangled, and the short, “Harp Brothers”.

Trivia: Dugan’s old man makeup was glued to his face with spirit gum. The spirit gum in combination with the intense heat and sweat caused painful burns.

 

William "Bill" Vail (Kirk)

The first to die. The sudden, shocking violence of his death and the steel door slamming shut reverberate across almost fifty years of cinema. Vail was born on November 30, 1950 in San Antonio, Texas. He is known for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Poltergeist (1982) and Nothing Sacred (1997).

After many years before the camera, Vail moved behind the camera to work as an Art Director and Set Decorator. His many credits include “The Gilmore Girls”, “Young MacGyver”, and “Entourage”.