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Sunday July 15th 2018

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre | 1974

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): filming location: Kingsland, Texas
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): location: The Sawyer family home: Kingsland, Texas | Photograph: Peter Paulsen

It’s no surprise that Tobe Hooper’s original, grisly 1974 classic was filmed in Texas.

Not as explicitly gory as its successors, the film gets its nasty atmosphere across largely by suggestion. Filmed in grainy 16mm, which gives the film its gritty, all-too-realistic feel, with a largely amateur cast recruited from the drama department of the University of Texas in Austin, the movie was shot around the environs of the city.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): filming location: Bagdad Cemetery, Leander, Texas
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): location: the desecrated cemetery: Bagdad Cemetery, Leander, Texas | Photograph: Peter Paulsen

The desecrated cemetery is Bagdad Cemetery, Bagdad Road, Leander, on Route 183, about 25 miles northwest of the city.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): filming location: Bilbo’s Texas Landmark, Bastrop, Texas
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): location: The gas station: Bilbo’s Texas Landmark, Bastrop, Texas | Photograph: Peter Paulsen

The gas station was Ryan’s Hills Prairie Grocery, which became Bilbo’s Texas Landmark, 1073 State Highway 304, Bastrop (tel: 512.321.2049), east of Austin. That's since closed down but – wait – there are plans afoot to restore the property and turn it into a 'horror resort' (with a Texas chili kitchen, music and cabins!).

The chicken-infested Sawyer family home stood on Quick Hill Road, Round Rock, I-35, about ten miles north of Austin, Texas. In 1998, after falling into disrepair, it was dismantled and transported to the grounds of The Antlers Hotel, 1001 King Street, Kingsland, way to the northwest of Austin.

The Antlers Hotel itself, built in 1901 and beautifully restored, opening as a hotel in 1996, can be found on Highway 1431 in Kingsland, in the middle of a triangle formed by Burnet, Llano, and Marble Falls

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): filming location: Kingsland, Texas
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974): location: The interior of the Sawyer family home: Kingsland, Texas | Photograph: Peter Paulsen

And now? The house has been renovated as a restaurant, standing in the grounds of The Antlers. At the time the photograph was taken, it was the Chariot Grill.

It’s now Grand Central Cafe, 1010 King Street, Kingsland. Best stick to the vegetarian special, eh?


• Many thanks to Peter Paulsen for help with this section.