*Note: REEL FACES content below is slightly graphic in nature as the real individual is separated from the movie's fictional elements. Reader discretion is advised.
Questioning the Story:
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.