Why Leatherface Actor Disliked ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ Remake

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was one of the most famous horror movies of the 1970s — so, of course, Hollywood remade it. Gunnar Hansen, the actor who portrayed Leatherface in the original movie, didn’t like the remake for two specific reasons. This raises an interesting question: Which version did the public prefer?

Leatherface on the poster for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre poster | LMPC via Getty Images

Leatherface actor opens up about the remake of ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’

Hansen was an actor whose career was defined by his role as Leatherface. With that in mind, it makes sense he has a lot of opinions on horror movies. For example, he told IGN modern horror movies are too postmodern and ironic for their own good. In addition, he opened up about his feelings toward the 2003 remake of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

“Well, on a number of levels I wasn’t happy about it,” Hansen said. “I was disappointed in the movie. I probably would have liked it more if I weren’t comparing it to the original.” Afterward, he discussed why he disliked the portrayal of Leatherface in the film.

A Leatherface cosplayer with a chain saw
A Leatherface cosplayer | Joe Kohen/WireImage

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Gunnar Hansen on what’s wrong with Leatherface in the remake

“I think my big issues were that – well, the worst thing to me was the fact that they explained Leatherface away and they unmasked him, because once they do that, then they’ve reduced Leatherface,” Hansen opined. “Now he’s not mysterious anymore. I think the reason he’s such an appealing and frightening character is because in the movie, he’s almost human, but not quite, and he’s unknowable. Now he’s merely a young guy who had a skin condition as a kid and is taking revenge, so he’s really reduced once you do that. It’s this idea that the mystery is always much bigger than the solution to the mystery.” In addition, he felt the makers of the film did not hold up to their promise for the movie.

Hansen noted the filmmakers said they’d make a “dark, psychological horror movie, not a bloodbath.” However, they ultimately made a bloodbath — a film far bloodier than the original film and arguably its sequels. The remake was produced by Michael Bay, a director who is not known for subtlety, so it’s no surprise his version of the story goes for the jugular. The remake disappointed Hansen — but did it disappoint audiences?

Leatherface with a chain saw
Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre | LMPC via Getty Images

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How the public reacted to the two films

According to Box Office Mojo, the original version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre made $30 million at the box office. Considering the film was a low-budget affair with no stars, this is impressive. However, the remake fared far better. Box Office Mojo reports the remake garnered over $107 million at the box office. The original version’s gross would be significantly higher if it were adjusted for inflation but it wouldn’t detract from the remake’s box office appeal. Hansen didn’t like the remake very much — but it was a bloody good time for many fans.