5 Horror Films Inspired by Real Life Murderer Ed Gein

6 of 6

1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

From the start, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre promoted itself as a movie based on a true story. Telling viewers that “what happened was real”, the on-screen tale of Leatherface butchering teenagers on behalf of his equally-demented family horrified so many people who thought these events all actually happened the same way as shown in the movie.

Well, those frightened filmgoers were half-right. TCM isn’t technically a true story, as it’s loosely based on the crimes of Ed Gein. Obviously, Gein was a lone murderer, not having any crazy family members to assist in luring him new victims. As far as we know, he also never killed anybody with a chainsaw, sticking with guns for his actual murders.

Beyond those differences, Gein and Leatherface are eerily similar. The entire concept of Leatherface flaying faces to wear over his own is directly from the police report from Gein’s arrest. In fact, Gein even went a step further, wearing entire flesh-suits skinned from corpses. How terrifying is it that the real murderer was actually a tad sicker than the freaky on-screen killer he inspired?

Next: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010): 10 Things You Didn't Know

The inside of the TCM house also looks a lot like how Gein’s home was found. The place was filled with various corpses, bones, and body parts, and the “Butcher of Plainfield” would have found himself right at home in the Sawyer family household.

It may not be what actually happened— but it’s horrifyingly close enough.