Goodbye,Original Leatherface

As everyone knows,the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was a modern horror film that helped strongly carry the torch for horror cinema throughout the 70s until the monstrous success of HALLOWEEN which made horror a commercially successful celluloid entity.  In spite of its lack of gore(via being originally intended for a [70s era] PG rating during film[only to end up with an R rating{via its strong content}]),TCM was a multi successful film that forever played drive-in and downtown grindhouse screens and was numerously rented on video stores via its multiple VHS video incarnations. As the 80s became an important era in establishing the major importance of both modern and exploitation horror cinema TCM was always the lead film amongst those discussions amongst modern horror scholars that included the likes of Bill Landis,Chas. Balun,Rick Sullivan,and Joe Bob Briggs,with TCM’s main star Gunnar Hansen(alias Leatherface) happily lending a hand in discussing the sheer importance of TCM in modern genre cinema.

As everyone knows today,we just lost Gunnar Hansen to pancreatic cancer at the age of 68,which is very sad in a year where we’re already lost an awful lot of major screen names that also include the likes of fellow modern horror cinema icon Wes Craven. Hansen represented an important horror film that lend its hand in establishing the likes of modern horror cinema,the Beta/VHS video movement(via renting films in video stores),and the way people look at horror films. Hansen’s success as the iconic Leatherface(who was based on 50s serial killer Ed Gein[as was PSYCHO’s Norman Bates])took a while to take off despite his follow-up film being a small role(as an occult expert) in THE DEMON LOVER,landing his next role 10 years later in Fred Olen Ray’s campy T&A laced horror comedy HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS,which he quickly followed up with the likes of  MOSQUITO,CHAINSAW SALLY,FREAKSHOW,HELLBLCK 13,CAMPFIRE TALES,BRUTAL MASSACRE,RACHEL’s ATTIC,THE DEEPENING,the schlocky duo of HATRED OF A MINUTE and MURDER-SET-PIECES(the latter being Nick Palumbo’s unintentional horror “comedy”),and TEXAS CHAINSAW 3-D.  In the early 90s,he was also part of a horror/genre convention scene controversy where several fans accused him of highly overcharging for his autographs,which is a practice that many celebrities practice these days and Gunnar actually had them considerably cheap,for those fans should fully appreciate that Gunnar even considered doing convention appearances during those early days of the genre convention circuit.  Hansen and Balun also worked on the screenplay for BUTCHER’S PRIDE,a splattery mad scientist yarn that was never filmed nor released as a screenplay to the screenplay buying fandom market.

With the loss of Gunnar Hansen,the horror film scene will never be the same considering that he was part of a sensational horror classic whose multitude of both success and on-screen eeriness that never be fully duplicated in any way,shape,or form whatsoever. Goodbye,Gunnar Hansen,for your major impact as the original Leatherface will always be still strongly felt.

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Steven M.


About stevenmillan

I'm just a simple genre cinema fan(NOT a fanboy and NOT a geek)who widely glimpses onto the latest in cinema news,cinema events,and world news of the day events,and just to warn you(especially if you're one of those politically correct elitists,or strongly despise folks that never brownnose the genre cinema media press):I do sharply bite.
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