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Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Connection To The Mafia Explained -BB

One wouldn’t normally associate horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with organized crime, but it turns out the Mafia had a hand in its release. In 1974, two very different films arrived that would quickly carve out a place in cinema history. One of those was director Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, arguably the most harrowing horror film to come out of its decade, and one of the most striking of all time. The other was The Godfather Part 2, a sequel to 1972’s The Godfather that is one of the most acclaimed films ever made.

Normally, the year 1974 would be all that a cannibal horror film and an Oscar-winning crime drama had in common, but it turns out that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre unwittingly ended up with ties to real life mobsters, and ones without the honor and class of The Godfather Part 2’s Corleone family. In hindsight, it’s kind of crazy to think that the arrangement didn’t end worse for all involved.

So, how did Leatherface and his family manage to get into bed with the mob? As one might imagine, there’s quite the story there. As usual in Hollywood though, the answer can also be summed in one word: money, and the ever-present need for it.

After the infamously grueling shoot of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the summer of 1973, director Tobe Hooper and crew were looking for distribution. Unfortunately, the project had already gained notoriety in Hollywood, and all the major studios refused to even entertain the idea of releasing the film. So, those involved went with the option available, a small company called Bryanston Films. While that did indeed achieve distribution for the film, it turns out that Bryanston was affiliated with the mob, and operated by Louis “Butchie” Peraino of New York’s Colombo crime family.

Naturally, Bryanston’s accounting practices were about what one would expect from the Mafia, and effectively cheated Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s cast and crew out of millions in profits, as well as the investors who had put in the money Hooper needed to complete the film. Needless to say, this wasn’t appreciated, and the aggrieved parties sued Bryanston for what they were rightfully owed. Thankfully, nobody ended up sleeping with the fishes, as Peraino ended up going down for his role in distributing the controversial but legendary 1970s porn film Deep Throat, and lost the case over Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s profits. When New Line Cinema then purchased the film’s distribution rights from the crumbling Bryanston, they agreed to settle up with the cast and crew as part of the deal.

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