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#077 Tobe Hooper: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre vs. Night Terrors

Download MP3 In today's episode Nate and Austin compare Tobe Hooper's best and worst rated films, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Night Terrors (1993), respectively. Nate is going to have night terrors after watching that movie, Austin wants to know where Zoe went, and they both decide to stay away from cannibalistic murderous families in Texas. Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare George Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Survival of the Dead (2009), his best and worst rated films.
Also check out this interview with director Tobe Hooper about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:

Night Terrors Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A young girl travels to Cairo to visit her father, and becomes unwillingly involved with a bizarre sadomasochistic cult led by the charismatic Paul Chevalier, who is a descendant of the Marquis de Sade.
  • Ratings: IMDb 3.3 | RT N/A % C / 7% A
  • Released: 1993
  • Director: Tobe Hooper
  • Writer(s): Rom Globus, Daniel Matmor
  • Cinematographer: Amnon Salomon (The Mangler, The Milky Way, Infiltration)
  • Notable actors: Robert Englund, Zoe Trilling, Alona Kimhi, Juliano Mer-Khamis, Chandra West, William Finley, Irit Sheleg
  • Budget: N/A
  • Box office: N/A
  • Fun Facts:
    • Director Gerry O'Hara left the project because he didn't want to shoot a screenplay which envisioned the De Sade character in the eighteenth century.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: Two siblings visit their grandfather's grave in Texas along with three of their friends and are attacked by a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.
  • Ratings: IMDb 7.5 | RT 88% C / 82% A
  • Released: 1974
  • Director: Tobe Hooper
  • Writer(s): Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper (screenplay by), Kim Henkel (story by)
  • Cinematographer: Daniel Pearl (Friday the 13th, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem)
  • Notable actors: Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail, Teri McMinn, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, John Dugan
  • Budget: $300 thousand
  • Box office: $30.9 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Marilyn Burns, whose character was chased by Leatherface through the undergrowth, actually cut herself on the branches quite badly, so a lot of the blood on her body and clothes is real.
    • Director Tobe Hooper claims to have got the idea for the film while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get out through the crowd, he spotted the chainsaws.
    • Surprisingly, this film is one of the least bloody horror films of all time. This is because Tobe Hooper intended to make the movie for a "PG" rating, by keeping violence moderate, language mild, and having most of the horror implied off-screen rather than shown in great detail onscreen. However, this plan had actually backfired, and made the film even more horrifying. Because despite cutting and repeated submissions, the Ratings Board insisted on an "X" rating, and it wasn't until the film received the "R" rating when Hooper gave up and released it. Hooper had a similar ratings problem with the sequel.
    • According to John Larroquette, his payment for doing the opening narration was a marijuana joint.
    • Even in his lift boots, Gunnar Hansen could run faster than Marilyn Burns, so he had to do random things when chasing her through the woods (you'll notice in one head-on shot that he starts slicing up tree branches in the background).
    • Leatherface had "lines" in the script that were gibberish with little side notes indicating what he was trying to say.
    • A still photo, taken during filming of the entire "Sawyer" family posing outside the house as a gag, was found and stolen from the set by a visiting German reporter, who took it back to West Germany with him, and the image of the family eventually became the advertising poster for the first release of the movie in West Germany.
    • The soundtrack contains no sounds from musical instruments (with the exception of some copyrighted music they had the rights to), instead they used sounds an animal would hear inside a slaughterhouse.
    • Tobe Hooper allowed Gunnar Hansen to develop Leatherface as he saw fit, under his supervision. Hansen decided that Leatherface was mentally handicapped and never learned to talk properly, so he went to a school for the mentally handicapped and watched how they moved and listened to them talk to get a feel for the character. He also tried his best to make his portrayal as non-offensive as he could. Many fans including those who are mentally handicapped, say he succeeded.
    • After getting into the old-age makeup, John Dugan decided that he did not ever want to go through the process again, meaning that all the scenes with him had to be filmed in the same session before he could take the makeup off. This entire process took about 36 hours (five of which which took to put the makeup on), during a brutal summer heat wave where the average temperature was over 100 degrees, with a large portion of it spent filming the dinner scene, with him wearing a heavy suit and necktie, sitting in a room filled with dead animals and rotting food with no air conditioning or electric fans. Everyone later recalled that the stench from the rotting food and people's body odor was so terrible that some crew members passed out or became sick from the smell. Edwin Neal who played the hitch-hiker claimed: "Filming that scene was the worst time of my life . . . and I had been in Vietnam, with people trying to kill me, so I guess that shows how bad it was."
    • Gunnar Hansen wore three-inch heels so that he was taller than the rest of the cast, but it meant that he had to duck to get through the doorways in the slaughterhouse.
    • Gunnar Hansen said that, during filming, he didn't get along very well with Paul A. Partain, who played Franklin. A few years later he met Partain again and realized that Partain, a method actor, had simply chosen to stay in character even when not filming. The two remained good friends up to Partain's death.
    • Due to the low budget, Gunnar Hansen had only one shirt to wear as Leatherface. The shirt had been dyed, so it could not be washed; Hansen had to wear it for four straight weeks of filming in the hot and humid Texas summer. By the end of the shoot, no one wanted to stand near Hansen or sit next to him during breaks to eat lunch because his clothing smelled so bad.

Intro music by Eric Lynch

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