Sunday, November 8, 2015


Since seeing Texas Chainsaw Massacre in middle school whenever someone mentions Texas my mind always flashes on the image of Leatherface played by Gunnar Hansen. Fair or not, the above image will always be Texas to me. But the big man behind the skin mask was actually born in Iceland and didn't move to Texas until he was 11. He majored in English and mathematics and worked with computers before landing the role of Leatherface in the landmark 1974 film. Afterwards he took time off from acting to focus on writing. He did return to acting and appeared in several films over the decades.
Nothing he did, though, could ever eclipse his portrayal of the mentally disabled, chainsaw wielding Leatherface. For me, the scene that I'll never forget is the moment Leatherface first appears, filling a doorway, in front of two unsuspecting victims. It sucks the air out of the room and makes me recoil-still! It just strikes at some primal fear in my psyche and I can't relax until the scene is over.
I never met the man, but anything I've ever read about him told the story of smart man with a big heart. I don't know how he died, I just hope it was peaceful and easy. Rest in peace.

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