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Five Must See Horror Films That Inspired or Influenced Seth M. Sherwood’s Highly Anticipated Texas Chainsaw Massacre Origin Story, Leatherface

Editor’s Note: Our very talented new writer, Alli Hartley, recently had the opportunity to sit down with screenwriter Seth M. Sherwood and interview him about his upcoming new film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, the origin story ‘Leatherface’. Click here to read this incredible interview. After talking with him about the film, what it was like being a part of such an iconic franchise, and his love of horror, she asked Seth to share the top five movies that had the biggest influence on him when writing Leatherface. As you get ready to check out Leatherface (in theaters and on demand October 20th), here are five other influential horror films Seth recommends you add to your must watch list. 

1. BADLANDS (1973)

Badlands

This was probably the biggest influence on Leatherface, so much so that after first reading the script, directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo commented to me that it felt like Badlands to them. Obviously, I was thrilled to hear this. I think the DNA is obvious— retro road trip, violent youths, the beauty of a harsh natural environment, a good-looking bad boy with murder on his mind…

2. The TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE Franchise (Beginning in 1974)

Maybe this is a cheat, but as a franchise film I had to be influenced by the seven other movies in some way or another. Even if they are removed from continuity, they are still part of the DNA. There are basic elements in each of the films— a road trip, cannibalism,  Texan wastelands, teenagers in peril…

3. THE BAD SEED (1956)

Bad Seed

The original Hell-child story. While it’s a trope that has been taken in a million different horrific directions, there’s something chilling about this old movie. That girl is just BAD. She’s not the spawn of Satan, she’s not possessed, she’s not a creepy ghost— she’s just a bad girl.

4. NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994)

Natural Born Killers

Again— the connections here are obvious. In a lot of ways, NATURAL BORN KILLERS is a sort of spastic remake of BADLANDS for Generation X. While LEATHERFACE is set before the mass media cult of personality that drives NATURAL BORN KILLERS, the idea that rumor, hearsay, and stories told about somebody (especially somebody who is disturbed) can become part of their psyche is something I really was attached to. And I obviously totally ripped off the diner scene.

5. WILD AT HEART (1990)

Wild at Heart

Another road trip movie with bad people who at their core want to be good… but are wired to be bad. I always loved how Lula stuck by Sailor no matter what he said or did, and Sailor, for his part, thought he was noble— but just couldn’t stay out of trouble for long.

Honorable Mention: THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005)

Devil's Rejects

A lot of people are drawing comparisons, and I wouldn’t say that THE DEVIL’S REJECTS inspired LEATHERFACE as much as they are both bastard inbred children from the same cousin parents. Rob Zombie makes no apologies for how much of TCM is in THE DEVIL’S REJECTS. It’s those same elements I tapped into so there’s bound to be comparisons of course. All that said, DEVIL’S REJECTS is a super fun ride.

Written by guest contributor Seth M. Sherwood

LEATHERFACE, written by Seth M. Sherwood, will be in theaters and On Demand October 20th.

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