Most hardcore horror fans know that the iconic villain Leatherface from director Tobe Hooper’s enduring 1974 horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. That real-life killer also served as the inspiration for a number of iconic horror movies such as Psycho, Maniac and Silence of the Lambs. Tobe Hooper revealed quite the surprise in a new interview, when he revealed that this iconic character was actually inspired by a cartoon character.
October 1 marked the 42nd anniversary of the original horror classic, and Tobe Hooper made this surprising revelation during an interview with the New York Post. The filmmaker revealed that the beloved cartoon duck Baby Huey was the real inspiration for Leatherface, even though they both don’t seem to have much in common. In the Baby Huey cartoons, the massive duck was hunted by a fox who wanted to eat him, but in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it was Leatherface and his sadistic brothers who hunt down their victims. Here’s what Tobe Hooper had to say about how Baby Huey inspired Leatherface.
“He never became an adult. He was like Baby Huey. It’s kind of the way I envisioned him from the cartoons.”
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre spawned a franchise that is still going strong to this day. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 hit theaters in 1986, followed by 1990’s Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and 1994’s The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Nearly a decade later, Platinum Dunes’ Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form rebooted the franchise with 2003’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the 2006 prequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. The last incarnation of the horror franchise was Lionsgate’s Texas Chainsaw 3D in 2013.
While we don’t know when it will hit theaters quite yet, there is a Texas Chainsaw prequel that started production earlier this year. What’s interesting about this project is the story will center on four main characters, one of which will be revealed at the end of the movie as the real Leatherface. Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, James Bloor and Jessica Madsen star as the four teenagers who escape from a mental institution, all of whom have an affinity for wielding chainsaws. They kidnap a young nurse (Vanessa Grasse) as they make their escape, with a local sheriff (Stephen Dorff) trying to track them down.
Tobe Hooper also revealed that the MPAA originally wouldn’t let him hang a girl on a meat hook, without being slapped with the dreaded X rating. However, he promised that the scene wouldn’t be too gory, and they let him keep the scene in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Even 42 years later, this beloved horror classic is still finding ways to surprise the fans.