Contrary to its opening narration and marketing, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre wasn’t based on a true story at all. No hippy teens were brutally butchered by a family of chainsaw-wielding maniacs which is kind of reassuring and disappointing in equal measure.
According to Hooper, the old ‘based on a true story’ gimmick was a response to the political climate of America in 1973 and a criticism of government untruths about events like the Vietnam War and Watergate.
Despite its fictional roots, moviegoers back in the 70s were nevertheless convinced it was real and actor Gunnar Hansen even had people claim they knew his character Leatherface in real life. Poor naifs – they didn’t have Snopes back then.