Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Leatherface
10. The Character Wasn't Just Based On Ed Gein
Director Tobe Hooper and writer Kim Henkel have famously admitted to drawing inspiration for some of Leatherface's nastier habits from real-life killer Ed Gein, who murdered several individuals in Wisconsin in the fifties, kept parts of their bodies as macabre trophies, and raided local graveyards to collect human remains. But Hooper was also influenced by a much more obscure case: that of a Houston serial murderer named Elmer Wayne Henley. In an interview with Texas Monthly, the director explained:
"I saw some news report where Elmer Wayne was identifying bodies and their locations, and he was this skinny little 17-year-old, and he kind of puffed out his chest and said, I did these crimes, and Im gonna stand up and take it like a man. Well, that struck me as interesting, that he had this conventional morality at that point. He wanted it known that, now that he was caught, he would do the right thing. So this kind of moral schizophrenia is something I tried to build into the characters.
TCM is obviously not the "true story" that many believe it to be. But just knowing that parts of the story are in fact based on these real life psychos should be enough to keep you from leaving the house for about a week.