I’d still be killing. I couldn’t stop killing. It got easier each time.

— William Bonin
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Inspiration For The Movie Directors


Ed Gein’s activities certainly inspired the literature and film industry. Because of the true nature of the crimes it gave Hollywood a lot of ideas to work on.

One such early film was Psycho(1960). Norman Bates, the main character in Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, was loosely based on Ed Gein. Hitchcock had adapted Psycho from a story by author Robert Bloch, who had modeled the character of Norman Bates after Ed Gein. The main similarities include the feminine qualities of both Norman Bates and Ed Gein, as well as both individuals’ attachments to their domineering mothers.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was one movie lightly based on Ed Gein. The story is about a group of travelling teen’s who stumble on a horror house. The house’s residents are a family of weird homicidal cannibals who also like grave robbing and constructing furniture made of bones and skulls alike. The lead bad guy is called ‘Leatherface’. Leatherface likes chasing teen’s around with his chainsaw and wearing the human face mask of his victims. The connection is mostly with the house, graverobbery and the cannibalism.

How much of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based on the real life murderer Ed Gein?

Ed Gein’s homeDespite being heavily touted as “inspired by a true story,” both Tobe Hooper’s original 1974 film and the 2003 Marcus Nispel remake are only lightly based on the real-life murderer Ed Gein, who is suspected to have taken several victims between 1954 and 1957. Perhaps the most recognizable similarity is the film’s house, whose gruesome content was similar to that found in Ed Gein’s home (above right) in 1957.

Did the real Ed Gein ever wear a human’s face as a mask like Leatherface did in the film?

The real Ed Gein did wear a human’s scalp and face. The real Ed Gein did this however, to help quell his desire to be a woman, not because of a skin disease as with Leatherface in the film. Also included in his uniform, Ed Gein wore a vest of skin complete with breasts and female genitalia strapped above his own. -carpenoctem.tv

Did the real Ed Gein use a chainsaw to kill his victims?

Ed Gein’s homeNo, both of Ed Gein’s identified victims, Mary Hogan and Bernice Worden, were shot with a pistol. In November of 1957, police found Bernice Worden hanging from the rafters in a shed behind Gein’s house. Her body had been gutted like that of a deer, and the head had been removed. Ed Gein was also the suspect in several other missing persons. The element of the chainsaw that was added for the film’s story once again emphasizes the loose connection of the film to Gein. -carpenoctem.tv

One more recent and Academy Award winning film is Silence of the Lambs(1991). It’s about an FBI agent who’s tracking down a serial killer and to find him she must get the help of an intelligent cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lector. The movie famed killer from The Silence of the Lambs, Buffalo Bill, perhaps most closely resembles Ed Gein. Buffalo Bill as well desired to be a woman, and he displayed actions that could categorize him as a transvestite. They both skinned their victims and enjoyed parading around in garments of flesh. They both also preyed on women. However, Buffalo Bill chose somewhat younger women for his victims than Ed Gein did.