Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Killer Movies

Leatherface

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

In early October 2006, New Line Cinema released The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. A prequel to the 2003 remake of the 1974 original film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it features Leatherface's first chainsaw murder, set four years prior in 1969. While there have been many different types of teenage slasher movies that feature infamous fictional serial killers, from Halloween, featuring Michael Myers, to Nightmare on Elm Street with Freddy, to Friday the Thirteenth's Jason Voorhees, TCM perhaps outdoes them all.

Tobe Hooper directed the original movie and its widely-panned 1986 sequel as low-budget horror. An article on Wikipedia notes that he devised the film when he spotted some chainsaws while trying to get out of a crowded store. It became an international sensation and is considered one of the most memorable horror movies of all time.

Ed Gein
Ed Gein

Loosely based on the creepy tale of Wisconsin killer Ed Gein, who didn't use a chain-saw but did gut at least one of his victims like slaughtered deer, this film begins in 1969 as four teenagers cross Texas to have some fun before one gets drafted to go to Vietnam. Three of them wind up captured by a cop and taken to the Hewitt farm, where Thomas is becoming Leatherface. Directed by John Liebseman, the new film recognizes scenes from the original that were cut in the remake.

Leatherface
Leatherface

There were other sequels as well: Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994). In 2003, Marcus Nispel directed the remake, updating the teenagers' situation and personalities, and cutting some of the more gruesome cannibalism scenes. However, the formula for slasher movies holds true throughout: promiscuous, good-for little kids get whacked while kids with moral fiber and stamina generally manage to survive and even to save or assist others.

Since Gein figures into several films, including Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho, featuring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins (also with three sequels), let's review his grisly deeds.


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