It is a hot August day in Shreveport, Louisiana - not Texas - on the set of Texas Chainsaw 3D. The “set” is a huge barren field on an unused portion of an Army base, and for good reason: in the field is an exact replica of the Sawyer house from Tobe Hooper’s seminal horror film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was something special, to walk that dusty road up to the house that chilled me as a child.
Texas Chainsaw 3D (at the time, they were calling it Leatherface 3D) opens where Hooper’s film ended - hence the replica farmhouse. But it jumps forward to modern day, to follow a young woman named Heather (Alexandra Daddario) who goes to collect an inheritance from a relative she didn’t know she had, and discovers she has a deep family history with the notorious Sawyer clan. We spoke with the cast and crew about this new entry into the Texas Chainsaw franchise - including some familiar faces.
On resurrecting the Texas Chainsaw franchise:
John Lussenhop, director - “The approach for the script and the story is all inspired by Tobe’s original. We skipped anything to do with the sequels - as far as I’m concerned, this is the only sequel. I didn’t have to tie in any past narrative - I just picked up where Tobe left off. ... I sprinkled in fun things from the original in a new way, which will give the film some familiarity, but makes the audience off-balance.”
Bill Moseley, Drayton Sawyer - “Through producer Carl Mazzocone, I got a chance to come up with a treatment [for a new Texas Chainsaw] which I ended up pitching at Lionsgate, along with a bunch of other people. I came in second according to Carl. ... I love the idea that they’re trying to basically end it at the beginning. That part has been pretty interesting. Of course, you don’t see the cook at the end of the movie, so Leatherface and the hitchhiker are out there on the road. I think it’s kind of interesting. Because the cops would come to the house, kind of a flashback to The Devil’s Rejects. The cops are coming for the embattled family. So that’s pretty interesting. I was trying to convince Carl to try to give us a little trap door so we could all escape. And you know, come back in 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, whatever they’re planning.”
Gunnar Hansen, “Boss Hog” Sawyer - “Years and years ago, before there even was a Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel, I had this notion of what would make a great Chainsaw 2. Years have gone by; the older brother has escaped with Leatherface and the Cook and the Hitchhiker, who is not dead but merely a crumpled up pile of bones. They’re living in an abandoned hotel at the edge of a small city in the Midwest. The Cook has made a deal with the owner of the hotel to basically housesit, to stay in residence so that the hotel doesn’t get vandalized. Some people try to pull a scam on the owners and show up and tell the Cook that they’re prospective buyers and they’ve made this arrangement to come and spend a couple of days at the hotel to make sure it’s what they want to buy, which sets up basically another ‘Teenagers trapped in an old house’ movie.
"There are a couple things, which I’m not allowed to say, about the new Leatherface that are really neat. I would never have thought of them. A lot of times when they create a new Leatherface in these movies it’s like they ignored the original Leatherface. So they’ve got a kid with a skin problem and an attitude, that makes him nothing. But they did some details on the new Leatherface that when I read them I thought ‘Oh, what is this?’ And then I thought about it and thought they were really nice additions to the personality of Leatherface that were consistent with the Leatherface from 1974, which I like.”
Texas Chainsaw Massacre alumni on returning to the franchise:
Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface in the original) - “Oh man, it was a shock [to see the recreated house.] We usually come up the back road here, but yesterday when I first came, we came up the main road. So I’m sitting in the car and I look over and through the trees I get a glimpse of the house, and I’m really startled. And we pulled up right at the foot of the driveway. So I got out and it’s like right out of ’73. I was really shocked at how real it was and how everything was right. You know the old house has been cut up and moved and it’s a restaurant now. [The producers] went out there and measured it, took pictures and measured it. It was the creepiest feeling, looking down the road, down the driveway, and seeing the house kind of coming up. Then Carl, the producer, said ‘I want you to tell me what’s wrong with this set up so we can fix it before we shoot interiors.’ And I found only one thing that I would have changed. The chicken cage wasn’t exactly in the right spot; otherwise it was just dead on.”
Marilyn Burns, Verna (Sally in the original) - “It feels like coming home. ... The heat makes it better - it makes it just as horrible as when we shot the original.”
Bill Moseley (Chop-Top in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) - “I consider it a real honor to be channeling my buddy Jim Siedow. I try to channel and communicate some of the joy he had and this strange energy he brought to both Chainsaw one and two.”
Mike McCarty from KNB on the Leatherface’s mask and the gore:
In recreating the mask from the end of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, “the film is all you have because there just aren't that many stills out there of that particular mask with that particular paint job on it. Because of the scene that was cut out of the movie where he's putting the makeup on there just aren't that many stills of it. So we researched the film obviously, got the best copies of it we could get and just took stills from that and basically recreated that. ... There will be three new masks in this film. ... It’s a Chainsaw Massacre buffet. I came here with 20 gallons of stage blood and I’m ordering more.”
Texas Chainsaw 3D will hit theaters January