An Ill-Fated Clive Barker Adaptation Changed ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’

Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw 3D

Texas Chainsaw 3D isn’t the franchise’s most acclaimed entry, but it could have been more disturbing if Stephen Susco’s idea came to fruition. While speaking to Bloody Disgusting, Adam Marcus, who co-wrote the film with Debra Sullivan, revealed that The Grudge writer’s original draft was rejected for featuring too much cannibalism — a topic the studio wanted to avoid following the poor performance of The Midnight Meat Train.

“Lionsgate did not want his script because it was about cannibals,” Marcus recalled. “In Stephen’s defense, so was everything about Texas Chainsaw. That’s the point! But Lionsgate had put out The Midnight Meat Train, and it was a big disaster, so they didn’t want any more movies about cannibalism.”

Based on Clive Barker’s short story of the same name, The Midnight Meat Train tells the story of a serial killer, Mahogany (Vinnie Jones), who stalks New York City’s subways at night. He butchers victims so that a group of underground creatures can feast on the tasty flesh, leading to a disturbing climax with grisly repercussions. Since its release in 2008, the film has become a cult classic in horror circles, though its $3.5 million box office return was barely even a fraction of the reported $15 million production costs.

Of course, the Texas Chainsaw that made it to the screen didn’t fare well. While it was moderately successful at the box office, the film was panned by critics. However, the producers also compromised Marcus’ and Sullivan’s story, arguably preventing the film from being more entertaining.

The Producers Butchered Texas Chainsaw 3D


Adam Marcus told Bloody Disgusting that their original version of Texas Chainsaw 3D was a $20 million action-horror opus that would have featured some ambitious setpieces. Sadly, the budget was slashed to $8 million, and some of their best ideas were cut and replaced with uninspired sequences.

For example, the film could have contained a moment where Leatherface (Gunnar Hanson) acquired some new equipment and went on a rampage against the fuzz. “There’s this great scene where he finds this giant, brand-new chainsaw, and there was a tactical squad of police officers who come in,” Marcus said. “It was this action scene in a hardware store, with Leatherface using everything at his disposal to dispatch these cops.”

Elsewhere, the finale would have seen the chainsaw-wielding killer slice his way through 12 opponents instead of the measly two he faces in the final version. Despite the cuts, however, Marcus received a flattering phone call from Tobe Hooper, the filmmaker who birthed the iconic horror franchise in the franchise.

“Tobe Hooper called me at home to say we had made the first actual sequel to his film. I said, ‘Tobe, you made Part 2!’ He said, ‘I know.’ You could put me in the ground right then. Life goals have been hit. I’m good.”