by: S. Scott Stanikmas
The horror world has lost an icon.
It was reported early Sunday Morning that Gunnar Hansen, the first man to don the stretched-out skin mask as Leatherface in Tobe Hooper’s classic 1974 film Texas Chainsaw Massacre, passed away Saturday November 7 at the age of 68. Hansen was battling pancreatic cancer at the time of his passing.
The actor, best known for inciting nightmares for millions around the world, was born in Iceland but called the great New England state of Maine his home. Hansen died in his home up in Maine.
Hansen did one other film after TCM but apparently was so turned off by the experience that he quit acting for over a decade, instead focusing on his writing career.
He did however return to the screen and starred in several B-movies the next 25 years, including a cameo in the 2013 Texas Chainsaw re-imagining.
The actor never shied away from his horror roots though, often appearing at conventions to take pictures and sign autographs for his many adoring fans.
Hey guys, Jay here.
I had watched MANY films that many would say I should not have seen growing up in the 80’s. Charles Bronson films, R-rated comedies rife with nudity, there wasn’t much I wasn’t allowed to watch. For some reason though, my mom had something about chainsaws. Two films that she did not want on in the house were TCM and Scarface.
I didn’t see Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre until I was a teenager. At that point nothing scared me or got to me since I had calloused myself over those early years. TCM was different. I watched it alone in my bedroom with the surround sound on very late one summer evening and it scared the piss out of me.
The only thing more surprising was meeting the man who terrified me years later at a local horror convention and finding him to be a great guy. He was sweet. I remember that above everything else when I think of Gunnar Hansen.
The horror community truly has lost one of the greats.