The ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ Prequel That Was Filmed and Never Released

The ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ Prequel That Was Filmed and Never Released

We almost got a glimpse into the early life of the most diabolical family in Texas.

Image by Annamaria Ward

The Big Picture

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise has a confusing timeline with multiple reboots and requels, but the curiosity about the cannibalistic Sawyers from Texas keeps viewers engaged.
  • All American Massacre was meant to be a spin-off prequel centered around Chop Top, exploring his backstory and his role in the Sawyers’ cannibalistic clan.
  • The film faced funding and rights issues, leading to its indefinite delay and eventual abandonment, but it remains an important part of the franchise’s history and has inspired a documentary about its search and discovery.

There are very few horror franchises that have as confusing of a timeline as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series does. The Leatherface icon was born in 1974 with Tobe Hooper‘s classic and sawed the slasher subgenre of horror into mainstream popularity. There are currently nine movies in the franchise, and after the first three were released, it fell into the trap of reboots and requels, but we all kept watching. After all, it’s pretty impossible to stop the curiosity about the cannibalistic Sawyers from Texas. In 1986, we got the sequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which took a little bit of a turn from the original. Really leaning into the black comedy and campiness, we see a lot more gore and teenage dismemberment at the hands of Leatherface. We get to meet more of the savage Sawyers and one of those characters is Chop Top, played by Bill Moseley. Chop Top is a brother of Leatherface who had the side of his head injured in a machete fight while serving in the Vietnam War.

That injury is something Chop Top enjoys though, as he can be seen heating up a hanger with a lighter and using that hanger to peel skin off his head around the wound. Does he eat it? Of course he does, these are the Sawyers we are talking about! We can imagine some of that goes into their famous award-winning chili recipe too. He’s sentimental though, fashioning his dead twin brother’s corpse into basically a marionette to carry around with him. Brotherly love, am I right? Chop Top is enigmatic and deserves his own storyline, which he was just one skin flap away from getting.

What Was ‘All American Massacre’ Meant To Be About?

Chop-Top (Bill Moseley) laughs as he terrorizes the radio station in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Based on Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, there was almost a prequel where Chop Top was the shining star. All American Massacre was set to be a spin-off movie, directed by William Hooper (Tobe’s son), which acted as a prequel of sorts. All American Massacre was set 13 years after the events of TCM 2 unfolded where Chop Top supposedly meets his demise. However, he survived, as villains always do, but had been captured and placed in a psychiatric institution. During the film, Chop Top will recount his youth to a tabloid reporter, which includes a younger Leatherface. The film flashes back and forth between the present day, Chop Top in Vietnam, and how the Sawyers became the cannibalistic clan that they were. Eventually, Chop Top escapes the institution and starts his own massacre known as the “All American Massacre.”

‘All American Massacre’ Had To Divert From the Original


William Hooper only intended for the film to be a 10 to 15-minute short that showcased his computer graphics skills, according to Moseley. By the time they were done filming what they needed, it had expanded to a 60-minute full-length film, according to an archived post by a publicist. The film still has never been publicly released, and there are a few speculations and reasons why. In the same interview, Moseley discloses that there were some funding issues and rights concerns. Even though William’s father is who made the original, that still didn’t give him the rights to TCM or Leatherface. Because of this, the guitarist Buckethead (Brian Carol) ended up playing Leatherface and wore a fat suit to do so. He also was responsible for the score of the film. Some other changes included calling Chop Top “Bloody Bobby” instead. In another interview with DreadCentral, Moseley said that it was Sony who owned the rights to TCM 2 as well as Chop Top, and William Hooper didn’t negotiate for the character and instead changed what he needed to.

According to the archived post mentioned earlier, All American Massacre was set to release on Halloween of 2000. It was to serve as the 25th anniversary of the original TCM, giving fans a deeper look at the Sawyers and what makes them tick… or slash. It seems as though the production fell victim to funding issues as a Kickstarter was created in 2011, mentioning that the film needed an additional $8,000 to finish. The profile on the Kickstarter mentions that the film got as far as post-production before needed help from fans who wanted to see Hooper’s vision come to life. The page boasts a website for All American Massacre featuring some gory pictures and creepy depictions of Chop Top, and we can only presume to be his victims. There is a link for a Twitter and Facebook page for AAM, but those pages are no longer active today. After the 30-day period, the film didn’t reach its goal of $8,000, so it has been sitting in post-production purgatory for over a decade.

Will ‘All American Massacre’ Ever See the Light of Day?

Chop Top in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Image Via Cannon

It seems like there is very little potential for the film to be released, but we have gotten to see small bits of the film that almost was over the years. A promo clip and a trailer were released to the public, which can still be found on the AAM website. Legal and funding issues haven’t stopped the urban legend of the film that almost was. Many times when speaking on the TCM franchise, All American Massacre is referenced because it is still an important part of the history of the franchise. It’s so important that director Edward Payson created a documentary about the search for the buried film. In Search Of All American Massacre: The Lost Texas Chainsaw Film is about the documentary team setting out to find the film and anything else they learn along the way about it. The documentary is available to stream on Tubi if you’re interested in more details.

Although Chop Top didn’t get the recognition or prime-time viewing that his character deserved, the TCM franchise spawned its own prequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. You won’t get your Chop Top or Bill Moseley fill, but it does deliver carnage and chaos. Dog will hunt, though, so stay hopeful that we will eventually get a taste of All American Massacre.

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