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SYFY WIRE The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Did You Know There's a Decades-Old Texas Chainsaw Massacre Prequel We'll Probably Never See?

A quarter century ago, a little side project turned into a legendary unreleased horror film.

By Matthew Jackson

We're thinking about Texas Chainsaw Massacre (now streaming on Peacock) a lot lately. Earlier this month marked the 50th anniversary (August 18, 1973) of the fictional events in Tobe Hooper's original film, and the very same day, Gun Interactive released a much-anticipated new video game based on that original film. That means it's a good time to reflect on the franchise as a whole, where it's gone, and where it might go next. It's a strange 50-year odyssey, complete with a few wrinkles that even longtime fans might not fully grasp. 

For example: Did you know there's a film in the series that never got released?

Yes, as the folks at Collider were kind enough to remind us a few days ago, Texas Chainsaw almost got a spinoff movie in the late 1990s dubbed All American Massacre, but due to various production issues, it never saw the light of day. That's a shame, but because of its unreleased status, the film has taken on a near-mythic aura in some corners of the horror community, transforming into one of those grand unrealized dreams that we get to picture in our minds, even if we never get the whole finished product. 

RELATED: Every Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie, Ranked

Devised around 1998, All American Massacre was the brainchild of Tobe Hooper's son William Tony Hooper, and follows the story of Chop-Top (Bill Moseley), the Sawyer brother first introduced in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, who got his name because of a metal plate in his skull earned after part of his head was cut off in Vietnam. The idea began as what was essentially a concept piece to demonstrate certain visual effects Hooper was working on, and the setup was pretty simple: A news crew tracks down Chop-Top at the asylum where he's been held prisoner for more than 20 years, and Chop-Top starts to tell his life story. Through flashbacks, we learn more about the origins of the Sawyer clan and how they became murderous cannibals. 

What was originally a 10-minute short film just kept growing, and eventually All American Massacre grew into an hourlong rampage in which Chop-Top escapes the asylum and carries out a new massacre. Apparently, that's where the problems started. According to a failed Kickstarter campaign for the film launched in 2011, the production could never muster the resources needed to complete the more ambitious production, and attempts at garnering more funding along the way ultimately came up short. That means that, 25 years after its inception, All American Massacre remains unreleased save for a very intriguing teaser trailer available online.

So, will the finished film ever see the light of day? Never say never in the current horror landscape, but for the moment Bill Moseley's thoughts on the film from a few years ago seem to hold true. Here's what he told Diabolique Magazine in a 2013 interview:

"If you go online, there’s a great All American Massacre trailer. It’s about a minute and a half long and has an original Buckethead guitar score. So I can see how everybody is just dying for it. But I just don’t know. I have faith in Tony. He’s a very good director; a very cool mind. So maybe someday, but I don’t see it happening any time soon."

Stream the film that started it all, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, on Peacock now.