I got this book christmas 2014. I love horror movies. I had never seen the movie before I read the book. I read about half way through before I watched the movie. On April 9th 2015 I watched “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” for the first time, and WOW what a movie. I can now say this movie is in my top 10.
“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” was ground breaking in its day and while successful during initial release it has become a franchise. But most of us who love or hate the film (and the sequels) gave no idea why or how it was made though we may hear things from horror movie buddies or on the Internet now. Gunnar Hansen who played Leatherface in the film uses his skills as a published author and poet as well as his experience with other films and people in the industry to share the story of how it was made, how it was received, and how it affected the lives of those who made it.
Hansen’s prose is engaging, smoothly guiding us through his first encounter with the production through the film as we al saw it (not as it was filmed) with side journeys that offer insight not merely wandering memories before returning to the filming. For those of you who have been in small horror movies in any fashion I think you’ll find a lot of this familiar and perhaps reassuring as well. There are lessons here to be learned about safety, communication, financing and contracts, as well as managing the years that follow a hated-loved movie.
Beyond the production of the movie, Hansen gives a very profound reading on the times of the movie and how reception and understanding of it have changed over four decades. He compares this change in the world of movie critics and customers to a few other changes in our world from time to time but primarily looks at the immediate affects and reactions to the film.
By including interviews and conversations with others who were part of the production as well as historical and media research, Hansen has created what seemed to me to be a very honest narrative that offers hope as well as cautions for anyone in the industry or thinking of getting into it. As a horror movie lover this book made me want to re-watch the film to appreciate all of the work behind and the layers within it.
All in all, Chain Saw Confidental was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I kid you not, the night I finished reading Gunnar’s book, I went out and brought the DVD.
And yes, The movie still scares the ******out of me. Even though there is little blood
Texas Chain Saw Massacre fans, rejoice! This is the book you’ve been waiting for. The rumors are squashed, the realism exposed, and the W.E. Slaughter family will have some good barbeque waiting for you.
Very, very highly recommended.