Back in 1974, audiences around the world met what was to become one of horror’s most iconic characters, Leatherface, in Tobe Hopper’s quintessential horror film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. These past 50 years, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has evolved into a 9-film franchise with Leatherface becoming a pop-culture symbol and amassing large groups of die-hard fans. On Feb. 18, the newest addition to the franchise, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, was released exclusively on Netflix and quickly became polarizing amongst horror fans. The film, which is a direct sequel to the original film, finds Leatherface returning to terrorize a group of idealistic young friends who accidentally disrupt his carefully shielded world in a remote Texas town.
Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings’ Shannon McGrew took part in a special Clubhouse roundtable where she spoke with TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE actors Nell Hudson (“Outlander”), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), and Sarah Yarkin (Happy Death Day 2 U), where they discussed everything from their first time seeing Leatherface in the flesh to how a character’s death set the tone for the film.
Editor’s Warning: THIS INTERVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Thank you all so much for speaking with me today! To kick things off, I’ll turn to Nell. You are the first death at the hands of Leatherface and it’s quite impactful. Can you talk about building up to that moment?
Nell Hudson: It was a lot harder than I expected. I’m quite a big horror fan and I suppose with that comes a certain amount of desensitization to the genre, and it was a very different experience. It was surprising how physically tiring it was doing it and mentally draining. To be honest with you, in the building up to it I had been through the stunt sequence a few times, so I felt physically prepared, but I was just kind of gassed. I was like, woo, yeah, come on let’s do this, how exciting, I’m in a horror movie! I was really excited to shoot it. It wasn’t until afterward that I was able to rest and realized how exhausted I was because you pretend to be in a situation where you’re in mortal danger, and you’ve got all this adrenaline coursing through your body and cortisol and whatever else. And your mind knows this is fake and I’m pretending but your body doesn’t. Coming off something like that it takes a while to kind of decompress, for sure. But thank you, I agree, it really sets the tone well for the film being the first death and all that. So, thank you for that.
And for the entire cast, what was your reaction when you finally met Leatherface on set?
Elsie Fisher: You know, it’s another one of those things where maybe your body kind of takes over for a second. I met Mark Burnham who plays Leatherface, I’d met him on the plane ride over to Bulgaria where we were shooting. He was a very nice person. I don’t think I really spoke to him too much during the course of filming or anything. I was like, okay, this will be super easy. He’s great. Then, you know, there’s nothing pleasant about the actual mask [he wears]. It’s pretty freaky and he’s just covered in slop and goo, and it’s a lot.
Sarah Yarkin: Maybe this is boring, but I don’t remember the first time seeing him or seeing the mask or anything. You’re working with him in the mask day after day, and you kind of get used to it. But there was one day when Elsie and I were rehearsing a scene and I didn’t know that Mark had been called to set yet. And so, we’re talking or doing the scene and I turned over and he was just standing right there with the mask and I screamed. I don’t think they were rolling or anything, but it was actually horrifying. That was towards the end of shooting so, it was still able to scare me.
Nell Hudson: I think the first time I saw Mark in the mask it was really scary. Mark’s like 6’7” and it’s a scary sight seeing him in that mask. But also, when I was doing my death sequence, Mark was on set and so was his double. So there were two of them, this Bulgarian stunt double guy who was also 6’7” [Laughs]. So there were two Leatherfaces circling around me like vultures, and that was pretty creepy.
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is now available exclusively on Netflix. For more on the film, check out our review here.