The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)



The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released into theaters on October 1st, 1974. Filming locations include Bastrop, Hutto, Leander and Round Rock, Tx. Filming started on July 15th, 1973 and lasted for thirty-two days. There's not a whole lot to say regarding this masterpiece that hasn't already been said or covered somewhere else prior. There are the documentaries The Shocking Truth and Flesh Wounds as well as numerous books that include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Companion, Devil's Advocates The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Chain Saw Confidential and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and It's Terrifying Times. 

 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has always been my favorite horror movie 1-A, with The Exorcist being 1-B. The very first horror convention I ever attended was the 2004 Cinema Wasteland in Strongsville, Ohio. That Texas Chainsaw Massacre 30th anniversary reunion was quite possibly the largest gathering of Chainsaw alum ever assembled. In attendance was Roger Bartlett, Bob Burns, Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Gunnar Hansen, Ed Neal, Paul Partain and Lou Perryman. Needless to say, I was starstruck. Sadly however, on May 31st of that same year, only two months later, Bob Burns would pass away. And roughly seven months after Bob's death, Paul Partain passed away as well, on January 28th, 2005. 

The chainsaw model wielded by Leatherface was a Poulan 306a and it weighed roughly thirteen pounds. The generator (air cooled engine) that Pam and Kirk are drawn to was a Wisconsin brand, which was the state Ed Gein, the influence for the Leatherface character was from. Probably a complete coincidence but interesting nonetheless. The films distressing score was composed by Tobe Hooper and Wayne Bell. Among instruments used were a stand-up bass, a five-string Kay upright double bass, a Fender lap steel guitar, an African instrument with attached tambourines, a pitchfork and children's musical toys like cymbals, xylophones and shakers. The total score length is fifteen minutes. Songs used in the film include Fool for a Blonde by Roger Bartlett, Daddy's Sick Again & Misty Hours of Daylight by Arkey Blue, Waco & Glad Hand by Timberline Rose and Feria de las Flores & Poco a Poco No by Los Cyclones. The films first DVD release was on October 6th, 1998.



The cemetery - 400 N. Bagdad Rd. Leander, Tx. 78641
(Bagdad Cemetery)

The cemetery opened in 1857. When faced with the burial of his three year old son John L. Babcock, Charles Babcock donated one acre of land as burial ground. Eight years later Col. Charles C. Mason, the first postmaster of Bagdad died and was buried in close proximity to John. Not only is Mason's monument among the tallest in the cemetery, but it would later go on to serve as the opening for one of the most famous and influential horror films ever made. It's the rear of the monument that's shown in the opening scene of the film, sitting about ten feet behind the false monument made for the movie in which the rotted corpse was postured atop of. In the scene where the van first pulls up to the cemetery, there are three men slowly approaching it. The man in the middle, wearing the white wife beater and cowboy hat, is none other than John Dugan, the 20 year old actor who also played the 113 year old grandpa in the film. There have been more than 3,500 burials at the cemetery since it first opened.


All "Now" pictures taken in 2018.






The gate to the main entrance of Bagdad Cemetery.

The reverse (front) side of the large monument shown in the opening scene and 2nd ever burial at the cemetery.

The grave stone of the first ever burial at Bagdad Cemetery in 1857.


Hitchhiker gets picked up Across the street from* 101 Farm to Market Rd. 685 Hutto, Tx. 78634

There were two things that helped me find this location. The first was a tip from Paul Partain to fellow Chainsaw fan Tim Harden where he pointed out that most of the driving scenes near the beginning of the film were shot along highway 685. The second was a deleted scene that first appeared on the 40th anniversary collector's edition blu-ray. The scene showed an angle of the location that hadn't been shown prior, where you can see a small distinct building down the road in the background. I was able to match the building in question in a vintage aerial image. The small building was removed at some point during the early 90's. Hutto High School, which was built in 1999, now sits across the street from where the van picked up the hitchhiker.


All "Now" pictures taken in 2018.



Gas station - 1073 Texas 304 Bastrop, Tx. 78602

Since it's appearance in the film, the gas station has had a few different names over the years that include Hills Prairie Grocery and Bilbo's Texas Landmark. In 2016 the name was again changed, this time to The Gas Station. It now sells horror movie memorabilia and BBQ, as well as rents cabins that are located just behind the building. The original Gulf sign that used to be there, as seen in the film, is now located at Dick's Classic Car Museum located in San Marcos, Tx. Aside from the Gulf sign, they have a plethora of antique automobile's that date all the way back to 1911 and I recommend checking it out if you find yourself in the area.


2010

All "Now" pictures taken in 2018.




An honorary memorial that was first unveiled at the Cult Classic Convention in Bastrop in September 2018.

The interior of The Gas Station.


Grandparents house - Hester's Crossing Rd. and Country Road 172 Round Rock, Tx. 78681

Although it was made to appear quite a distance from the family house in the film, in actuality they were almost directly across the street from one another. The mostly limestone house was erected in the late 1800's. Built by William S. Thompson who lived there until his death in 1903. In 1909 the house and property were purchased by William Quick. He married Sally Stark and they had five children (Emma, Marie, Edith, Edward and Erik) while living there. Erik would later go on to have a daughter named Norma. It was Norma's former room in the house that was shown with the animal print wallpaper when Sally talks about her fascination with the zebra's. The house sat unoccupied for sometime before burning down in the last 70's. The pile of limestone as well as the porch foundation were still there when I visited the site in January of 2001. In 2002 construction began on Texas State Highway 45 and today the exact spot where the house once stood at is now where TSH-45  now lies.


The house in it's earlier days.

As seen in the film.

January 2001



Family house - 1010 King Ct. Kingsland, Tx. 78639
(Grand Central Cafe)

The house was designed by architect George Franklin Barber. The rooms feature twelve foot ceilings, ornate wood moldings and a curved entry hall along the central staircase. Barber published a monthly magazine in the late 1800's called American Homes, which also promoted his original house plans that he sold through his publication. He had hundreds of house plans available which ranged from one bedroom homes to more elaborate three story houses. There were actually three of these nearly identical houses built in Round Rock at the beginning of the 20th century. One is the house seen in the film, the second remains a mystery and the third was located just down the road from the house in the film and was also known as the Burkland-Frisk house, as it was built by Leonard Frisk and later owned by Tony Burkland. The house still stands today and is currently a dentist office, located just up the interstate in Georgetown. Back to the Texas Chainsaw house, it was built in 1909 for the Thompson family, the previous occupants of the grandparents house used in the film that was located just across the street. It was then purchased in the early 40's by Robert and Nina Sellstrom. In 1949, their daughter Betty even had her wedding reception at the house. In 1971 they sold the house and the surrounding one-hundred plus acres to Celia Nueman who rented the property out. The first tenants were Stuart and Rebecca Isgur. During the filming of the movie in 1973, Stuart's brother Ron was the only resident staying in the house. The filmmakers found the house through the softball team Ron was playing on because Bob Burns, the art director of the film, had a commercial art company that sponsored the team that season. The house would continue to be leased out off and on through the years. In 1998 the house was purchased by Dennis and Barbara Thomas, cut into seven pieces and moved 61 miles west to Kingsland, Texas where it became part of the Antlers Inn resort. It was then reassembled and restored to it's original condition by carpenter Anthony Mayfield. Since then it's been called The Kingsland Old Town Grill and The Four Bears Restaurant but is now known as The Grand Central Cafe. Not only does the place have outstanding food but it completely embraces it's Chainsaw past. While exploring the house you'll come across pictures, posters, shirts, new paper articles and other Texas Chainsaw Massacre artifacts. Also, the staff couldn't possibly be more accommodating to fans of the movie. I highly recommend The Grand Central Cafe, not only to Chainsaw buffs but anyone else who may be looking for somewhere with great food and the atmosphere to match.


All "Now" pictures taken in 2018.












The entrance to The Grand Central Cafe.

Myself having breakfast in the chicken and bones room from the film.

A comparison picture of the family house (top) and the Burkland-Frisk house (bottom) as they appear today.


Original family house location and ending - Hester's Crossing Rd. and Country Rd. 172 Round Rock Tx. 78681
(Quick Hill)

Known as Quick Hill for former resident and land owner William Quick. Country Road 172 once ran directly over the hill, right in between the family house and the grandparents house from the film. Then in the early 90's the new Country Road 172 was built just to the west of the hill turning the original into Old Country Road 172. Not long after, Old Country Road 172 was gated off and inaccessible to the public. And finally in 2002, construction for Texas State Highway 45 started and it cut directly through the center of Old Country Road 172, dangerously close the the 89 year standing spot of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre family house...which had been moved four year prior. The portion of road shown at the end of the movie where Sally escapes and Leatherface does his infamous chainsaw dance is still there. The very first movie location I ever visited was Quick Hill, on January 1st, 2001. I was moving cross country from Kentucky to California and I had everything I owned stuffed into my car but I decided to roll the dice and venture about 300 miles off course anyway. This was before GPS was widely available and even though I'd never been to the Austin area before I had very little trouble locating the spot, thanks to the reliable directions provided by www.texaschainsawmassacre.net. I remember it vividly. I was a sunny day, unusually warm for early January. As I made my way up the gated off road I examined the surroundings and with each step what I was seeing resembled more and more what I had seen on the screen so many times. This was only a couple years after the family house had been moved and almost all of the other structures were still there, albeit they'd certainly seen better days. One of the sheds was filled to it's ceiling with what looked to be mostly junk. I was pretty sure that most of that "junk" were things removed from the house prior to it being moved just a couple year earlier and if I had ANY room in my car I probably would've taken some if it as mementos. Also still there during my visit were the remains of the grandparents house, just across the street. While it had burned down in the late 70's, all of the limestone from it was still there, just sitting in a big pile. The porch foundation was also still visible. I was able to take two souvenirs that day, although very small one's. One was a chunk of the limestone from the grandparents house and the other was a small piece of cement that had broken off from the steps of the family house. I still have both of them to this day. I must've stayed on that hill for about two hours that day exploring and just taking it all in and I didn't see another person up there the whole time. It was so worth the near 300 mile detour and a day I'll never forget. Since then I've visited the location another half dozen times, each time seeing it get smaller and smaller. In 2013, the Camden La Frontera apartments were built near the bottom of the north side of Quick Hill, intruding upon the hill even more. For years there has been a large billboard on the south side of the property facing Texas State Hwy. 45 reading "For Lease" and to be honest I'm not quite sure why the remaining land on Quick Hill still hasn't been developed. All Chainsaw fans can do is cross their fingers and hope it stays that way.


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An aerial shot of Quick Hill taken with my drone (2018).

29 comments:

  1. Good pictures loved them

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  2. Was there today, didn't make it in...coyote roaming...def wont be there much longer, too much development :-/

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  3. I Wanna Go Explore Tha House. Otc Loved The Pictures Tho c:

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  4. Was there yesterday and took a couple pictures. Looks like it is about to be cleared. How can I send the pics to you if you are interested?

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    1. Tim, that's a shame. With all the development in that spot it was kind of inevitable though. If you'd like you can send pics to l1uck3y@yahoo.com

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    2. Will do. Yes it is a high rent area now. Sad to see them clearing the area. Enjoy your site - cool stuff.

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    3. Great post! I will be in the area this weekend and plan to visit these sites. If anyone knows if the gas station in Bastrop is even still standing and/or tips on how best to get to the Quick Hill site (assuming it hasn't been paved over yet) - I'd appreciate it! Thanks!

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    4. Thank you James. Last year huge TCM fan Roy Rose purchased the gas station & property and is currently restoring it to it's former glory as well as turning it into a tourist attraction from what I understand. Even though he's currently doing restoration work on it I'm sure he wouldn't mind if fellow TCM fans stop by to see it. As for the Quick Hill site, it's best accessed from the Hester's Crossing Rd. side.

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    5. Thanks, Paul! Great news about new ownership of the gas station - love to hear this. I will make the trip to Bastrop to check it out and see if Roy is around. The hotel I am staying in is just down the street from the Quick Hill site in the La Frontera area of Round Rock - so as long as it's not too fenced off or there aren't rattlesnakes and/or coyotes milling about, then I should no problem getting to it. And my niece lives in Leander - not TOO far from the cemetery. Will send any pics that turn out nicely. (I spend too much time on this site - fascinated by the 'then and now' comparisons). :-)

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    6. Good luck on your site visits and feel free to let me know how they went, James.

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    7. Dane from AustraliaJuly 30, 2015 at 3:57 AM

      I am also keen to see whatever you have too, guys. Email me - bilders26@gmail.com

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    8. Tim, you could send me, please? leonardoliz05@hotmail.com

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  5. Guys if there have been any further photos taken in 2015 please email me - bilders26@gmail.com

    It looks like I won't be getting there before it is built over so I would love to see whatever I can. Thanks a lot! From Australia.

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  6. I am back from my whirlwind visit. Here is an update of the following sites as of 08/01/2015:

    Gas station/BBQ stand: it is indeed being rehab'd. Everything is intact - but the exterior wall facings are removed for the job. It looks as if he added a new slab for a side patio. There is a fence around the building with No Trespassing signs, but you can still get pretty close to it (out of respect, I did not step pass the fence, although I really wanted to!). The best part - behind the fence in the back is a green Ford van...like the one from the movie!

    Quick Hill: it's still there - progress has not claimed it just yet. I parked at the rehab business across Hester's Crossing and darted across the street. No No Trespassing signs posted, so I climbed the padlocked gate and made the short trek through the overgrown location to where the old highway emerges from the grass. I walked up the hill to where the road ends at the top. It's a wild surreal setting to think of the history, now amongst all the new construction and major highways all around. Didn't see any scary critters - just a few really big rabbits! (as some people say - where there're rabbits, they're snakes - I didn't see any of the latter). I suggest wearing long pants/jeans and socks to avoid being attacked by chiggers. For the life of me, though, I could not place the location of where the house used to stand - any tips for my next visit are appreciated.

    Bagdad Cemetery: looks just like it did in the movie. Not a soul around - very desolate, except when you look off in the distance to see the strip shopping centers and the likes of CC's Pizza, etc.! My niece lives in Leander, just about 1.5 miles away from this location (I was there to visit her and turned her on to the TCM - she's now a new fan!).

    The Family House: Now the Grand Central Cafe in Kingsland, part of the Antler Inn. Looks just like it did in the film - maybe just a little cleaner inside! My niece and I had dinner there - the food was really good (and I don't think it was human). They encourage you to tour the place and take pics, but it can be awkward with all the other diners there. I managed to take several.

    I have a few pics to upload if anyone is interested.

    And Paul - your site was very helpful in tracking down these locations. Thank you!

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    1. Now that's what I call an update! Great stuff, James...thanks a lot for sharing. As for where the house used to stand on Quick Hill, the driveway was right about where the road ends now, at the top. So a little ways back through the brush is where the house used to be.

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    2. James, the house location appears to be partially developed over by the road that connects Sundance Parkway and W. Louis Henna Blvd about 200' in from the latter along the undeveloped side. The dirt road at the top of the hill leads you to it but I would suspect it's easier to get to it from this new road.

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    3. James Garner, you could send me, please? leonardoliz05@hotmail.com

      Thanks.

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  7. Me and the wife just went to all sites from the original and the remake this past weekend. Awesome!!! Walked quick hill, went in and around BBQ store in bastrop, ate at grand Central and cele store which BTW has the best BBQ ever!!! Walked in and around Crawford mill.FANTASTIC!!! Taylor meats and remake chainsaw house which is absolutely no trespassing!! Can't wait to do it again!!

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  8. Your. Website. Is. AWESOME!! I never knew I was this close to these filming site, only about 3 hours or so! I will have to make a trip soon to see them before new development takes over! Thank you so much for all this info!

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  9. What does it look like now? can you still tell what it is?

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  10. Look! I found a green van parked behind the gas station! It seems that the current owners are TCM fans also!

    https://www.google.com/maps/@30.0477726,-97.3390356,3a,90y,20.99h,81.79t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1skqbFyxi_oPaDS44X5XspBQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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  11. I went and walked the grounds yesterday was really creepy but awesome...I still cant figure where the house was on the grounds...Is it next to the big leasing sign by the toll?

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  12. Amo este Blog, obrigado, Nostalgia perfeita.

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  13. Do you have a location of another house? That of Franklin's grandfather, a first house.

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    1. That house was just across the street and slightly to the left from the Family's house. Unfortunately W. Louis Henna Blvd. now covers the spot where it once stood.

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