In 1974, Tobe Hooper, legendary director of several classic horror flicks including Poltergeist and Salem’s Lot, introduced us to Leatherface.
A totally terrifying serial killer with zero mercy and a penchant for human skin masks and motorized landscaping equipment. In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, he ruthlessly hunts down a helpless group of teenagers who happen upon his house and, foolishly, decided to get too close.
There’s been plenty of remakes over the years but the 1974 original is still the one that gets most under our skin and into our nightmares — and that god-awful farmhouse is at the center of it all.
So, if you’re wondering whether or not Leatherface’s house is real, or more likely, praying that it’s not, you’ve come to the right place.
Was it built especially for the movie? Or, is there a real Texas Chainsaw Massacre house actually out there somewhere? Keep reading, the answer to this one might rrrrr rrrrr rrrreally surprise you…
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre House — the fictional version
Located in sunny Texas and with a, let’s say, ‘highly motivated’ seller, this spacious Victorian farmhouse sits miles from civilization.
You’d never get cell service but who needs it with so much private open land that’s as perfect for hiding as it is for seeking? Upon entering the home you’ll find it’s so well set up for receiving guests they’ll never be able – sorry – want, to leave.
It’s also fully furnished with one-of-a-kind, handcrafted furniture pieces made from… well, the bones and skulls of previous, erm, guests. So, you know, buyer beware and all that.
And is it real? I’m just as shocked as you are, but yes it is!
Where to find The Texas Chainsaw Massacre House in real life
Turns out, Leatherface’s now iconic Victorian house is a real property — one that you can see for yourself if you ever find yourself in Kingsland, Texas. You’ll find the Texas Chainsaw Massacre at 1025 King Ct, in Kingsland, TX.
Though I’ve certainly never considered stepping foot inside (because I like my back meat-hook-free thank you) I did take it upon myself to track down the current location of the sinister Sawyer house.
As it turns out, I needn’t have been so afraid. According to Wikipedia, the real Texas Chainsaw Massacre house was built at the turn of the century in La Frontera in Round Rock, Texas.
Aside from, of course, acting as the fictional home of the Sawyer family, it housed families and students before it was sold in 1998 to The Antlers Inn. Upon purchasing the house, they dismantled the structure, picked the whole thing up, and moved it to Kingsland, Texas!
Once there, they promptly put the house back together and turned it into a hotel, cafe, and movie attraction called the Grand Central Cafe which horror enthusiasts the world over now travel to see.
The Grand Central Cafe — with its unassuming name, stripped clear of hints to its gruesome former nickname of Texas Chainsaw House — allows horror movie fans to “Enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in this beautiful Queen Anne-style home-turned-restaurant with Texas cult film history. The cafe is the original ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ house, renovated and moved from Round Rock to Kingsland. Sip drinks in the Club Car Bar inside,” according to Llano County’s tourist website.
You can go visit the infamous property
Though it did look a little worrisome there for a while with a possible closure on the horizon, it has now been announced that what was once known as the Grand Central Cafe and Club Car Bar went under refurbishment and has since reopened — under the new name Hoopers in honor of the film’s later director, Tobe Hooper.
Inside you’ll find the restaurant of course, but the owners also do a great job preserving the home’s original features, hosting fan events, and even decorating the space for Halloween.
And, though you won’t be stumbling over any skeletons or encountering Leatherface himself, it’s still a must for fans of the cult classic to pay a visit and snap a few pictures… particularly of the life-sized replica of grandpa which sits and waits ready to terrify unsuspecting visitors brave enough to venture upstairs!
Sequels and prequels did not film on location & instead re-built the house on set
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre house didn’t make a comeback in the movie’s many sequels and prequels.
Instead, the production crews for the 2013-2017 film series built replicas of the house, seen in Texas Chainsaw 3D and its 2017 prequel Leatherface.
Same goes for the 2022 sequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the ninth (and most recent) installment in the franchise. While the action of the movie takes place several decades after the original film, a replica of Leatherface’s house pops up in the post-credits scene.
More real (and some not-so-real) things about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
So, we know the house was real, but what about the rest of those horrifying 83 minutes? Well, firstly, though the movie claims to be based on real events, that’s not entirely true.
Sure, Leatherface as a character shares similarities with and was inspired by real-life killers Ed Gein and Elmer Wayne Henley, but the actual plot of this movie never happened.
However, according to IMDB, many elements of the film were in fact real.
Not least, the freaking chainsaw! Yes, they used a 100% real Poulan 245A chainsaw (they only had one due to budgetary constraints) with a piece of black tape covering the logo to prevent any potential lawsuits.
Apparently, during a particularly unfortunate take, Gunnar Hansen, the actor playing Leatherface, made a sharp turn, tripped, and sent the chainsaw flying into the air.
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