Everyone knows how crazy DxB is about horror movies, especially the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, right? Well, today we decided to get in the car and go check out some of the locations where the movie was filmed back in 1974!
First off, we did NOT get a chance to visit the actual TCM house where Leatherface and his Familia did their "business". It does still exist, and it was moved from it's original location near Round Rock to Kingsland. That is about seventy miles north, and we just ran out of time. The house is restored to it's former Victorian beauty though, and is currently located on the grounds of the Antlers Inn. I think the owners did have it leased out as a restaurant, but it looks like it is up for lease by a new tenant... Here's a shot from the movie:
And here's a shot I found on the internet of the house as it was in about 2004:
First, we headed east towards Bastrop to find the gas station/BBQ where Sally, Franklin and crew stopped before they headed out to the Old Franklin place. I'm certain we've driven past this place on one of our many hunts for pokeweed back in the JDI lab days. Unfortunately, I never noticed it.
Here's the still from the movie:
It's a bit different now, the gas pumps are long gone, and there've been a few different owners:
I'd heard that it was currently a BBQ joint(!), but when we got there, it looked like the place had recently shut down. In fact, there was a handwritten sign that said "For Sale or Lease" tacked to one of the cedar porch posts. (You know I was looking for a listing on that one - unfortunately I couldn't find shit - and there wasn't a number to call on the sign. . .)
DxB got out and walked around a bit, but I'm always worried about being met by the business end of a shotgun, (not to mention CHAINSAWS!) so I stayed in the car and took the pics.
Next we headed north towards Leander, to the graveyard that was shown in the opening scenes of the film:
In that shot, the "corpse sculpture" is mounted on a fake tombstone that was placed in the gravel driveway of the cemetary. I think I was standing in that approximate spot when I took this shot:
Looks like some of the stones in the original pic have been replaced by newer versions, and the trees are certainly much bigger!
The cemetary itself was pretty interesting, it is for the town of Bagdad, which I assume was "lost" once the railroad bypassed it.
Now, I'm kind of a cemetery afficionado - it's not as weird as it sounds, those places are beautiful - and I gotta tell you, this one threw me off. Most of the old graveyards I've visited in Texas are laid out in a pretty specific plan. Regardless of denomination, folks were laid out with their feet pointing east. (Generally, this was so that when the second coming came, they would rise up and face their maker - who would be coming from the eastern horizon.) And normally, as you look at a gravestone, you imagine that the person is buried so that the engraving on the stone is at their head - as in, if the stone fell over, engraved side down, it would fall on their face. At this particular graveyard, I could not for the life of me figure out which way people were buried! It seemed that the people there were prone to putting the engravings on what we would consider the "back" of the tombstone.
This yard was interesting too because there were a relatively large number of above-ground styled crypts. I say "styled" because it was apparent that these were just concrete monuments built over the typical in-ground burials:
(OK, obviously I could go on and on about graveyards. I'll stop here.)
We were going to head up to Round Rock to find the land where the old house had stood during the filming, but we decided to skip it for now. I hear La Frontera bought all that area and development is fast and furious, with SH 45 running practically right through the old property. Maybe we'll get up there sometime, but I think it'd just be a bunch of pictures of either overgrown fields or construction cones or brand new houses going up. . . (Too bad.)
Overall, an enjoyable unemployed day!