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