When it comes to horror movies and the state of Texas, most of us probably think of Tobe Hooper's classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, for obvious reasons. But there have been plenty of other horror films that were either set or filmed in the Lone Star State - and we don't just mean The Texas Chain Saw Massacre sequels.
Part of the reason is no doubt Texas's generous tax incentives, which have been enticing filmmakers since 2005. But with its rugged landscapes, rough-and-tumble history, and undeniable charm, Texas has plenty of ingredients to create the scary atmosphere a horror film needs. Here are 13 horror movies set in Texas besides The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
- Photo: Lionsgate
The sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects brings back the psychopathic Firefly family for more mayhem. With the equally sadistic Sheriff John Quincy Wydell hot on their trail, the vicious family cuts a swath of destruction across the Texas landscape before a final bloody showdown at the Firely homestead.
All three movies in the trilogy - House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects, and 3 From Hell - are distinctly Texas-flavored. The Devil's Rejects in particular plays on the Lone Star State's long history of vigilantism. Sheriff Wydell goes far, far beyond the scope of his duties to bring down the Fireflys, and at one point he even brags about a vigilante ancestor who rode with Tom Horn.
All three films also owe a debt to the Texas Chain Saw Massacre series, of which which Zombie is a huge fan. The Devil's Rejects includes several homages to the franchise. Cast members Bill Moseley and Charlie Altamont have both appeared in Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. Otis wears a suit made of human skin, just like Leatherface does in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. The location for the Firefly house was previously used as the Sawyer house in Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. However, unlike most of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films (except the third), The Devil's Rejects wasn't filmed in Texas, but California.Yee-haw?
- Photo: RADiUS-TWC
Jonathan Levine's 2006 film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is a pretty standard high school slasher flick about two outcasts - Mandy and her best friend Emmet - who exact bloody revenge on the popular kids who have antagonized them. Plenty of horror films have put their characters in remote locations to amp up the tension; if you're far away from everyone, you're far away from help.
Like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre did previously, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane uses its rural West Texas setting to create a tense, isolating atmosphere. Even better, most of the film takes place on a ranch, complete with a suspicious-seeming ranch hand named Garth who turns out to be a good ol' boy in the end.Yee-haw?
- Photo: Miramax Films
Years before Grindhouse, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino teamed up to make another blood-soaked thriller set (partly) in Texas, 1996's From Dusk till Dawn. This film stands out on this list because it takes place both in Texas and its southern neighbor, Mexico, and is heavily influenced by both regions. Like countless westerns that came before it, the film makes use of the volatile border between Texas and Mexico.
After bank crooks Seth and Richie Gecko take a minister's family hostage, the brothers force the family to drive across the border to freedom. In Mexico, they hole up in a desert strip club called "The T*tty Twister," which is overrun with vampires. There, they meet an exotic dancer named Satanico Pandemonium, which Tarantino borrowed from the title of a Mexican horror film. Finally, the film's soundtrack features plenty of music from both Texan and Mexican musicians, from ZZ Top to Chicano rock band Tito & Tarantula.Yee-haw?
- Photo: Dimension Films
Both films in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's 2007 double feature Grindhouse are set in Texas and were filmed there, and both proudly wear their Texas influences on their sleeves. Rodriguez has deep roots in the Lone Star State; he was born in San Antonio, and his production company, Troublemaker Studios, is located in East Austin.
Texans are proud of plenty of things, perhaps most of all their barbecue. It's fitting, then, that a major portion of Planet Terror takes place in a barbecue restaurant. After the initial zombie outbreak, the survivors take refuge in a local joint called The Bone Shack, which is known for having the best BBQ around. Moments before his demise, owner J.T. Hague decides to finally share his secret BBQ recipe with his brother, the sheriff. Rodriguez was generous enough to share the actual recipe in the DVD special features.
Meanwhile, the first half of Tarantino's Death Proof takes place in a legendary real-life restaurant called the Texas Chili Parlor. After Stuntman Mike does away with his first group of marks, the story moves to Lebanon, TN, but those scenes were all filmed in Austin, too.Yee-haw?