You may remember Gunnar Hansen as the murderous Leatherface from the 1974 horror classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Well, unfortunately, the iconic actor tragically passed away this weekend after his battle with pancreatic cancer at the still young age of 68. He was, for many of us, our horrifying introduction to the horror genre, so here are 5 Texas Chainsaw Massacre facts in honor of the late, great, Gunnar Hansen.
1. Death Threats to the Director
The original hitchhiker, Edwin Neal, expressed his feeling about the making of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre by saying that it was worse than his experience fighting in Vietnam and says that if he ever saw director Tobe Hooper that he would probably kill him due to reportedly never getting paid for the film.
2. Some Brownies to Lighten the Mood
On the final night of filming, the cast and crew shared a batch of marijuana laced brownies. This was Leatherface actor Gunnar Hansen's first time experiencing the drug right before he had to perform some difficult scenes.
3. Fake Props Weren't Used Too Often
When you're making a super low-budget film, especially in the '70s, you have to make due with what you have and that's exactly what The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did. In one of the scenes where Sally (played by Marilyn Burns who we tragically lost as well last year) gets her finger sliced open by Leatherface, the injury was actually real. After a prop failed to work properly, actress Marilyn Burns actually got her finger cut open along with may other injuries that she sustained throughout filming. As a result of that, much of the blood that we see on Sally is in fact her real blood. There is also a real human skeleton in the film due to it apparently being cheaper then a fake one.
4. Getting Paid With a Different Kind of Green
According to John Larroquette, he accepted payment in the form of a joint for doing the opening narration for the film. He also went on to do the narration for the 2003 reboot The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its 2006 prequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
5. Taking Method Acting to Another Level
Director Tobe Hooper gave Leatherface actor Gunnar Hansen most of the creative control over the character. Hansen imagined the character being mentally challenged and not being able to speak properly. This led Gunnar to spend time at a school for the mentally challenged so that he could study how they acted and spoke to get prepared for the role.
R.I.P. Gunnar Hansen
Thank you for being many of our horror awakenings, Gunnar. Thank you for giving us such terrifying, yet joyful nightmares. Rest in paradise.