As a little boy, Tobe Hooper (the writer and director of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) was visiting relatives and overheard the adults talking about a local farmer (Ed Gein) who was convicted of necrophilia and who had a fondness for making masks from the skin of his victims and fashioning furniture from human skin. Hooper was forever scarred and he never forgot the story. This story would become the basis for the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
THE STORY BEHIND THE “TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE”
Despite being heavily touted as “inspired by actual events,” the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is lightly based on real life serial killer Ed Gein (pictured above, first photo).
Ed Gein was the son of Augusta and George Gein, he spent the majority of his childhood in Plainfield, Wisconsin. Augusta was a deeply religious, overbearing and domineering mother. She warned Ed about loose women and she preached the Bible to him, night and day. George was an alcoholic who Augusta viewed as useless. Augusta wouldn’t allow Ed to have friends, and she forbade him from socializing with kids from school. Ed grew up to be introverted and feminine and the townspeople referred to him as ‘Weird Eddie.’
Ed would be suspected of killing his brother Henry but was quickly dismissed as a suspect due to his age. Ed’s mother died the following year. Ed was still emotionally enslaved by the woman who tyrannized his life, even after her death.
Over time, he became fascinated with medical experiments performed on Jews in concentration camps. He went to the local cemetery to dig up bodies, mainly skulls, livers, hearts and intestines. He was especially interested in female genitalia, which he would fondle and play with, sometimes stuffing the genitalia in panties that he wore around the house.
His victims were usually his late mother’s age. Mary Hogan, 54, disappeared from the tavern she ran in 1954 and Bernice Worden, a woman in her late fifties, disappeared on November 16, 1957. Mrs. Worden’s son Frank was also the sheriff’s deputy and upon learning that Gein had been spotted in town the day his mother disappeared, he decided to investigate.
The gruesome evidence proved that Gein’s bizarre obsessions had finally exploded. In the woodshed, Bernice Worden was found hanging upside down from a meat hook and slit open down the front. Her head and intestines were discovered in a box and her heart in a plate in the dining room. The skins from human heads were found preserved and another skin taken from the upper torso of a woman was rolled up on the floor. There was also a belt fashioned from carved-off nipples, there was a chair ‘upholstered in human skin’ and a table propped up by human shinbones.
Like ‘Leatherface,’ a mask (human scalp and face) was found nearby.
Gein later confessed that he enjoyed human-skin garments and pretending he was his mother.
After ten years in a mental hospital, Gein was considered fit to stand trial and was sentenced to two life terms. He died in 1984 of heart failure.
Gein never used a chainsaw on his victims, instead he used a pistol. Gein was also the suspect in several other missing persons cases and his actual farm house was similar to the slaughter house featured in the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ pictured above.