Earlier this week, two titans in genre filmmaking came together at the Vista Theater in Los Angeles for truly one of the most incredible Q&A’s I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. In honor of the recently completed restored print of his 1974 visceral classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Tobe Hooper was joined by long-time friend and mentor William Friedkin for a candid discussion of his timeless gut-punch horror movie.

Here are just some of the highlights from Hooper and Friedkin’s amazing chat last night’s amazing CineFamily Texas Chain Saw event:

William Friedkin introducing The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: "In 1974, at that time I thought the two greatest horror films were Psycho and Diabolique and both of those films still live and are still great. But then someone told me about a little film that was made for not a lot of money near Austin, Texas and it was the scariest film of all time. And I thought, “Bullshit.” And then I saw the film and it is the most terrifying film ever conceived. To me, it’s a great film. There are other great films, but none of them are tender-hearted love stories (laughs)... but this is a great movie and it will scare the piss out of you.

And when I saw the film, I got a hold of the phone number for the young man who made the film and I told him what I thought of it. I told him if he ever got out to Hollywood, I’d love to meet you and introduce you to some people because you are a great filmmaker. So we’re going to talk about that and get to the heart of what inspired and provoked this movie- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre."

Tobe Hooper on the restored version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: "It feels like it’s been a long time to get to 40 years and I’ve also been on the road a lot with this new restoration. And it took a long time to do because I didn’t want to lose the intent of the original film with the grittiness but the new sound mix is really slick."

William Friedkin: "What do you suppose it is exactly that causes us to want to see this film, all these years later, that still has some of the most disturbing acts known to man contained within it?"

Tobe Hooper: "I think it has something to do with creating characters that are compelling and that you can sense they have something going on before the movie ever starts. You either identify with them or you don’t, but you can still get a sense that they’re real.  And the film has a progression where it loops back into itself so it’s about no escape. It’s also about how damn strong women are too. This is about a very strong woman who is being driven into all this, into hysteria, and she’s just not going to die."

William Friedkin: "I think there are only a few reasons that people ever want to see a movie again and that’s either to laugh or to cry or to be scared and now I think you have to add a fourth- to be transported to a world that you’ve never experienced before. I don’t know anyone who goes to a movie just to say, “Oh, that was really interesting” because who cares about interesting? Interesting? That movie was a piece of shit. We want an emotional response and I think that this film fulfills all of that.

And what’s also about to happen is that these people are going to experience a great amount of humor that you laced throughout this story too. In spite of delivering on its title, it will make you laugh from time to time."

Tobe Hooper: "That comes from an ironic place- the laughter does- because it should be funny. There’s a line in the movie when the Old Man says, “Look what your brother has done to the door, he has no pride in this home” and that’s his reality. And I think you sense that reality because that’s all about family values. And it’s dysfunctional but it also vibes at the same time. But I wanted you to get the sense that these characters are alive because so many movies pick-up with characters and act like it’s the first day of their life. So I wanted this to feel like there was already something in progress and you know, it’s just a bad day for everyone (laughs)."

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.