Sunday, November 8, 2015

RIP, Leatherface ...

I am very saddened to learn of Gunnar Hanson's passing.

Gunnar played 'Leatherface' in the scariest movie of all time: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original, from 1974). This was a movie that truly frightened me out of my wits, because it did not deal with made-up monsters from outer space, or those found in the pages of comic books or pop literature. His monster was HUMAN, which to me is far more scary because we all know what humans are capable of when they allow the dark side to overtake them. 

I saw this movie when I was a young, impressionable teenager of about 15, and was utterly horrified at the thought of such a family existing. His role, as the gigantic murderous mute who wore a mask of human skin and wielded the chainsaw absolutely terrified me - including the ending, when Marilyn Burns escaped by jumping out of the second-storey window and ran for her life along the desolated road with Leatherface in pursuit. She finally flagged down a passerby and leaped into the bed of the man's pickup truck, as Hanson's maniac gave chase, shrieking and flailing in a dance of rage against the sunset, as the chainsaw roared and buzzed. If anything, this movie did more to instill a strong sense of xenophobia onto the general public (it sure did to me). And who among us who has seen this movie doesn't flinch at the sound of a chainsaw in the distance? 

Mr. Hanson was a friend in a group of mutual friends here in Nashville. We're all separated by only a few degrees. I met him in 2007 at the Full Moon horror convention here in Nashville, and might I say, you could not meet a nicer man. Just a big ol' sweetheart all around. Funny thing is, I'd attended in full monster regalia, clad in full-cover latex prosthetic facial pieces and pointy gremlin ears, which rendered me quite ghoulish. Nobody knew I was even a woman until I spoke, and when I said hello to him and shook his hand, he broke out into a good-natured grin and hugged me, telling me that I scared him.

Now that indeed was funny! RIP, good Sir. Thank you for the nightmares! 

No comments:

Post a Comment