How much of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based on the real life murderer Ed Gein?
Despite being heavily touted as "inspired by a true story," both Tobe Hooper's original 1974 film and the 2003 Marcus Nispel remake are only lightly based on the real-life murderer Ed Gein, who is suspected to have taken several victims between 1954 and 1957. Perhaps the most recognizable similarity is the film's house, whose gruesome content was similar to that found in Ed Gein's home (above right) in 1957.

Did the real Ed Gein ever wear a human's face as a mask like Leatherface did in the film?
The real Ed Gein did wear a human's scalp and face. The real Ed Gein did this however, to help quell his desire to be a woman, not because of a skin disease as with Leatherface in the film. Also included in his uniform, Ed Gein wore a vest of skin complete with breasts and female genitalia strapped above his own. -carpenoctem.tv

Did the real Ed Gein use a chainsaw to kill his victims?
No, both of Ed Gein's identified victims, Mary Hogan and Bernice Worden, were shot with a pistol. In November of 1957, police found Bernice Worden hanging from the rafters in a shed behind Gein's house. Her body had been gutted like that of a deer, and the head had been removed. Ed Gein was also the suspect in several other missing persons. The element of the chainsaw that was added for the film's story once again emphasizes the loose connection of the film to Gein. -carpenoctem.tv

Who exactly was Ed Gein and why did he commit such atrocities?

Eddie Gein was the son of Augusta and George Gein. Augusta was a deeply religious woman, who preached the Bible to Eddie and his brother Henry on a daily basis. She warned them about the dangers of loose women, in an effort to keep them from being cast down to hell. She was a strict, hard woman, who never wavered from her own beliefs, which she ingrained into the family. Eddie's father, George, was an alcoholic, and Augusta viewed him as being worthless. She began a grocery business in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and when she had saved enough money she moved the family away from the sin of the city to a farm in Plainfield, Wisconsin. Eddie grew up shy and was ignored by the other kids at school, who saw him as quiet and feminine. If he did try to make friends, his mother scolded him. As a result Eddie turned inward and began to reside in the dark corners of his mind.

He worshipped his mother, and grew upset when his brother Henry criticized her. On May 16, 1944, while fighting a brush fire near the farm, Eddie and Henry split up and went in different directions. After the fire had been extinguished, Eddie grew concerned because his brother had not returned. When police arrived Eddie lead them directly to his "missing" brother Henry, who was lying dead in an area untouched by the fire with bruises on his head. The shy and seemingly harmless Eddie was quickly dismissed as a suspect, and the coroner listed asphyxiation as the cause of death. -crimelibrary.com

Were any other films based on Ed Gein?
Both Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs (1991) were also loosely based on Ed Gein:

Psycho (1960)

Norman Bates, the main character in Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, was loosely based on Ed Gein. Hitchcock had adapted Psycho from a story by author Robert Bloch, who had modeled the character of Norman Bates after Ed Gein. The main similarities include the feminine qualities of both Norman Bates and Ed Gein, as well as both individuals' attachments to their domineering mothers.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The movie famed killer from The Silence of the Lambs, Buffalo Bill, perhaps most closely resembles Ed Gein. Buffalo Bill as well desired to be a woman, and he displayed actions that could categorize him as a transvestite. They both skinned their victims and enjoyed parading around in garments of flesh. They both also preyed on women. However, Buffalo Bill chose somewhat younger women for his victims than Ed Gein did.

  • Including 2003's remake, there are a total of five Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. The first four are The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - directed by Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) - directed by Tobe Hooper and starring Dennis Hopper, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990) - directed by Jeff Burr, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994) - directed by Kim Henkel and starring Matthew McConaughey and Renée Zellweger.

    Of course there have been spin-offs, including 1988's Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (right), which is about a private eye named Jack Chandler who stumbles upon a cult of chainsaw wielding prostitutes in his search for Samantha the runaway. The biggest star of this B-movie is the original Leatherface himself, Gunner Hansen. He plays the master of the women, who serve him the fresh limbs of their victims. Oh, and what's the tagline for Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers? "They charge an arm and a leg."




Plainfield, Wisconsin - Ed Gein's House

Ed's house was burned to the ground on March 27, 1957, shortly after he was arrested. It was reportedly burned because an entrepreneur planned to open it as a tourist attraction called "The House Of Horrors."

Plainfield, Wisconsin - Serial Killer Ed Gein's Grave

There is a chain link gate and many "No Trespassing" signs. His gravestone is still gone, but people have left artificial flowers in place of the headstone.

Plainfield, Wisconsin - Serial Killer Ed Gein's Hometown

The hometown of the infamous butcher of Plainfield. The grave robbing cannibal was the inspiration for Psycho, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs. Plainfield, Wisconsin is where his home once stood.


(Serial Killer Ed Gein's Hometown and Grave: Plainfield, WI Directions: Just off highway 39 in the middle of Wisconson, west of Appleton. When leaving highway drive east into town, cemetery is on the 5th Avenue, 2nd right once off the highway. His house was on the other side of the highway in the farming area on the left side of the highway. Archer Street and 2nd I believe, just off Archer, there are NO TRESPASSING signs on almost every tree on his property that line Archer. His driveway is overgrown and blocked by a chain with a wooden sign that reads "Fischer." )

Plainfield, Wisconsin - Ed Gein's Gravestone Rescued, But Will It Ever Be Seen Again?
The stolen tombstone of Ed Gein, perhaps America's most "beloved" grave robber, murderer, and cannibal, has been brought home to Plainfield, WI. Last June it mysteriously disappeared from Gein's grave in Plainfield Cemetery.

The police aren't sure what to do with it.

"We could put it back in the cemetery, but it would only get stolen again," said Waushara County Sheriff Patrick Fox in an interview with the Stevens Point Journal.

The Waushara County Historical Society wants to display it in the old jail museum in downtown Wautoma, a town not far from Plainfield. Gein was held in the jail briefly after his grisly crimes came to light. The police haven't yet decided the stone's fate, but if past experience with politically incorrect memorabilia is any guide, it may take up permanent residence in an unmarked closet or basement.

Gein, described often as a mild-tempered farmhand, murdered women and robbed the graves of others in the Plainfield area more than 50 years ago. His ghoulish souvenirs -- carefully preserved human body parts, some meant to be worn as clothing -- were found strewn about his farmhouse near Plainfield.

He served as the model for the Norman Bates character in "Psycho," and Leatherface in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Police expected to find Gein's tombstone for sale on eBay. Instead, they discovered it in Seattle, WA, in the hands of the promoter of the band Angry White Males, who was selling rubbings of the stone for $50 each on his web site.

The promoter claimed that his tombstone was a reproduction, but it was covered with the same Satanic symbols and obscenities as the missing stone, and it had the same chips taken out of it by years of irrepressible Gein fans. Interest in Gein has never waned, frustrating Plainfield's residents, who want the town to be associated with more pleasent subjects. The town has even formed a committee, Positive Plainfield, to do just that.





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