How Much Were The Cast Of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Paid?

is, without a doubt, one of the . Tobe Hooper’s low budget masterpiece chilled audiences to the bone and is still raw enough to thrill horror fans today.

If any cast and crew deserved to be heartily reimbursed for their roles, it’s the gang behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The movie was shot in a Texan heatwave, with the temperature never dropping below 80 at night, and rising to over 100 during the day. Oh, and used to save money on props…

How much were the cast of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre paid? Well, that’s kind of an interesting question. First off, there was a whole debacle about the movie’s financing, involving porn and the mob!

Deep Throat and The Mafia

The youths arrive at the place of action in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'
The youths arrive at the place of action in ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre found its first distributor in Bryanston Distribution Company, which was really a front for the Mafia run by Louis ‘Butchie’ Peraino, who was using TCM as a way to launder the big profits he got from 1972 porno Deep Throat. Unfortunately for Hooper and his crew, Bryanston Distribution was only letting through enough cash to pay back the movie’s investors, leaving a measly $405 each for the cast and crew.

The plot thickens. Peraino’s nefarious dealings were uncovered, and he was pulled up on an obscenity charge for Deep Throat. After Peraino’s arrest, the cast and crew sued him, gaining back some money for each cast and crew member underpaid by fake company Bryanston Distribution. New Line Cinema bought the rights to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre from the now bankrupt Bryanston… and the rest is history.

Marilyn Burns screams her way into the sunset in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'
Marilyn Burns screams her way into the sunset in ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’

Marijuana and Peanuts

The cast and crew were paid very little for their efforts. Even when adjusted for inflation — $1 in 1974 had the equivalent buying power of around $5 in 2016 — the Texas Chainsaw Massacre gang were paid peanuts. Star Gunnar Hansen was paid $800, which is still only $4000 by today’s standards. Edwin ‘The Hitch-hiker’ Neal was apparently never paid at all, which seems particularly unfair as he said of shooting his scene:

“Filming that scene was the worst time of my life… and I had been in Vietnam, with people trying to kill me, so I guess that shows how bad it was.”

Filming 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' was worse than Vietnam, apparently
Filming ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ was worse than Vietnam, apparently

Narrator John Larroquette was paid for doing the narration at the start of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Tobe Hooper gave him a joint! This didn’t put Larroquette off returning to franchise, however: he provided narration for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006) many years later.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise still lives — Leatherface will be released sometime later in 2016 along with a bunch of other cool new horror movies. Check ’em out in the quick vid below.

How much would you need to be paid to work on a classic horror movie?

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