Joe Bob Briggs called The Texas Chain Saw Massacre the greatest movie ever made, and for nearly 50 years it has captured the imagination of fans worldwide. Chain Saw is one of the most influential and profoundly impactful horror movies of all time. It’s raw, gritty vibe and unrelenting willingness to make the viewer feel uncomfortable is what set it apart from the competition at the time and why it remains a timeless piece of celluloid. Gunnar Hansen played the iconic Leatherface in Chain Saw, and, thankfully, two years before passing away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 68, he put pen to paper and wrote a book all about the legendary movie to which he was inextricably attached. Even better than this, Gunnar Hansen chose to narrate the audiobook version of his book, Chain Saw Confidential, which is an Audible Original.
Listening to Chain Saw Confidential was an absolute joy! Gunnar Hansen’s comforting voice is easy on the ears and pulled me in right away. By the end of the book, it was clear to me just how intelligent and deep this man was. This made me regret never having the opportunity to meet Gunnar Hansen at a horror convention prior to his untimely death. By all accounts, he was a charming and kind person that the fans adored. In this book, Gunnar Hansen tells the real story of the film, debunking myths, giving behind-the-scenes details, and offering insights on Chain Saw’s reception and the enduring fascination with the horror genre today. The fact that he explores more than just the making of the film itself is what takes this book to the next level. The making-of details, of course, are excellent, especially because they caused the iconic scenes he described to replay in my mind as I listened to his insights about how they were created and shot. Gunnar Hansen waxing poetic and getting philosophical on why some find horror movies to be disdainful while others absolutely love them is the type of depth I didn’t know I wanted or needed from a book like this, but I’m damn sure happy it’s part of this impressive tome. He really went the extra mile when writing this impressive book.
Chain Saw Confidential is a must-read for all fans of horror or cinema. It’s an intelligent and insightful account of what it took to make one of the greatest movies of all time. Additionally, Gunnar Hansen debunks myths along the way, some of which are hilarious, and he offers up a deep, analytical view on the horror genre itself. While I can never say that I met the man in person, I sure feel like I know Gunnar Hansen quite well because of his beautiful book, and I’m eternally grateful that he decided to narrate the audiobook version because by doing so he created an intimate and lasting story for us to enjoy. May Gunnar Hansen rest in peace, and may The Texas Chain Saw Massacre live on forever.