4 Horsemen of the Serial Slasher, and 1 Real Deal

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Clockwise from top left: Freddy Krueger, LeatherFace, Michael Myers, and Jason Voorhees

I am looking at these masks for an upcoming performance video featuring the horror genre monster men with faces obscured by heavy scars or masks. Since they are masked, they could be anyone, and in fact the identity of Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th is used in the original by his mother and in one sequel by a local man inspired by his methods. Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, and Hallowe’en – all iconic slashers – have lots in common besides the monstrous freaks that terrorize their protagonists. All feature hapless teenagers lopped off one by one, a triumphant female scream queen who outsmarts or at least outruns the badguy, and a behind the scenes mega sequel generator.

Though all are fictional stories, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was originally presented as a true story. Some horror theorists suggest the story, or at least the family butcher compound, was based on police findings at the home of Ed Gein, a serial killer from America’s Dairyland, Wisconsin. So gruesome were Gein’s heinous acts that they inspired not only the Leatherface butcher character but also Psycho‘s Norman Bates and Silence of the Lamb‘s Buffalo Bill. A few nights ago on The Chiller Channel I watched a made-for-TV style film, Ed Gein The Butcher of Plainfield, which is not for the feint of heart. The acting is flat, classifying this as a horror film is truly tasteless, and the director Hollywoodizes the physically unremarkable Gein – reinventing him as the towering husky Leatherface character. From Youtube, a real documentary:

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