My son Bruce turned 1 on Halloween. This past year has been absolutely amazing. Being a mom is a trip, a fun, awesome, weird, cool trip. For health reasons I needed a C-section, and when the doctor asked me what date I'd like to schedule it for, I immediately thought of Halloween. I've got a bit of an interest in morbid and macabre shit, so having a Halloween baby sounded pretty rad.
As far back as I can remember, the very first horror movie I ever watched was Texas Chainsaw Massacre, after school. I was probably 6 or 7, and every day I'd sit in my grandpa's La-z-boy and watch after school shows. But, this one afternoon, I wanted to watch something else and I'd recently seen the movie Summer School, a comedy where Mark Harmon plays a teacher who has to get these delinquent students to pass some test or whatever. Well, a couple of the students in the movie were big horror fans. For one of their "projects" they showed the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre, so I was first exposed to the gore classic there. My dad was a major movie buff and he kept a massive printed ledger of all the films he recorded off the TV. I checked, and we had it.
We literally had hundreds of VHS tapes that had anywhere from 3-5 movies on them. My dad was a bit OCD (like a lot OCD) and he had all the movies in our den organized numerically. The numbered tapes corresponded with his ledger, which was organized both alphabetically and by genre. I checked to see if we had it, we did, and I popped it in the VCR. It was the second movie on this particular tape, so I had to fast-forward through 2 hours to get to it, and I was in a rush, cause if I got caught watching it, I knew I'd be in trouble.
Once the movie began, I knew it was gonna be good. I was riveted. It was such a different kind of film than the standard fare I'd been used to watching (Goonies, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Last Unicorn). This seemed real. I instantly fell in love with horror, and specifically, cult horror. Ever since I've amassed quite the horror film collection, and since I was never allowed to celebrate Halloween as a kid (seriously never, not once…religious parents), when my doctor asked if I had a preferred date for delivering Bruce, the first thing I thought of was Halloween.
So, it's no big shock that when I decided to road trip around Texas this past September, I knew I had to visit the real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre House that was used for the filming. I learned that the house had been dismantled then rebuilt in its entirety in Kingsland, Texas, and currently operates as a restaurant.
When my baby Bruce and I rolled up to the iconic horror home, it was actually pretty surreal. I mean, not only did the filmmakers use the house for exteriors, but it was used for interior shots as well. The house is exactly like it looks in the movie except for all the corpses and taxidermies animals.
We visited for lunch on a weekday and there were only a few other people in the restaurant, who were finishing up their meals, so by the time my burger and fries came we had the place all to ourselves. The house was filmed in Round Rock, Texas, but then moved here in Kingsland in 1988. It's a historic house, famous not just for being in the movie. The waitstaff sadly had never watched the film, but they let me take so many pictures and even took some pics of me and my little boy.
I ordered a "Leatherface Lemonade", which was Jake Daniels, a splash of coke and lemonade.
Then I got a tour around the house. It was gorgeous.
Incredibly well-kept and reminded me of homes I've visited in Savannah, Georgia.
It had a thoroughly Southern feel throughout. I can honestly say I can't wait to go back.
Recently, director Tobe Hooper opened up about some of the set secrets, in honor of the anniversary. Below is a fantastic interview by Hooper on the "brutal" and "extreme" filming conditions on set. As a side note, this description is what I was envisioning while eating my rare burger covered in bacon and blue cheese:
"The last day of shooting went on for like 26 or 27 hours. Maybe even longer because I had to shoot an actor out. And it was the last prosthetic job on Old Granpa, and he was melting. The lights were so damn strong that the bones [they were using as props] started cooking. So every time I'd say cut everyone would run to the window and puke, throw up. A doctor had to come out and administer dramamine to help settle people's stomachs.
This family was into death art, it was a hobby. And we needed animals. The city pound had done their due for the month and they came out with a dump truck, I was in the house I didn't even know it has happening. Anyway they pulled up about 20 meters from the house and dumped about 500 lbs of dead animals out front. I came out and looked at it and realized it was over the line, that a domestic animal is like a child so seeing all those dead cats and dogs would ruin the movie. So I said, "get rid of these." And then I went back inside and I was shooting.
The house was tinted because we were shooting the dinner table scene, which takes place at night but we were shooting part of it in the day. But when I told them to get rid of it, someone got 5 gallons of gasoline and poured it over all of those dead animals and set fire to them. I guess they were thinking that they were going to disappear or go up into ashes. The house was bad enough with the bones cooking and everyone throwing up, but then all of this smoke [from burning fur and flesh] started coming in through the house. That's when everyone really started losing it. "- Bloody Disgusting