“I never imagined working on ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ in my life, but the way I came into this project, it felt like Hollywood landed a helicopter in my front yard and said, ‘Get in.’ And I’m glad I did,” Garcia said.
Garcia is a Harlingen native who has been living in Austin since graduating from film school at the University of Texas at Austin. He co-wrote and directed his first feature film, “Tejano,” in 2018. While it wasn’t a horror film, Garcia says “Tejano” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” actually have some interesting thematic similarities.
“Something that was new to me was how to film all the gore — which Fede Alvarez, the producer, really helped me with,” Garcia said. “And he kind of gave me a crash course in scaring people with really creative kills and gore.”
The new “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” picks up in real time, about 48 years from the 1974 original film that introduced Leatherface and his murder weapon of choice. The film follows up on what happened to the sole survivor of the original film, but also focuses on a new cast of beautiful young people.
“It honors the original in the sense that the original was a contemporary story of its time, about these hippies from Austin going to rural Texas,” Garcia said. “And there’s a bit of a culture clash, you know, in a commentary on the violence of America at that time. You know, [original director] Tobe Hooper talked a lot about the Vietnam War being part of the allegory for that first film, and we updated this story with these contemporary hipsters from Austin who were going to the countryside and sort of gentrifying this small, rural town.”
The real filming location for the Netflix project was Bulgaria. But Garcia says with its vast fields, open skies and distant mountain ranges, he imagined the setting was a ghost town around Alpine or Fort Davis.
“I think the only thing that was really missing for me in Bulgaria was the barbed wire, because in Texas, you drive around, you see barbed-wire fences everywhere, you know, segregating the roads from the fields. But they didn’t have that in Bulgaria,” Garcia said.
And, he jokes, there wasn’t room for him to bring a bundle of it in his carry-on.
Still, Garcia says he’s done his best to honor the franchise that has been a part of his life since he caught the original on television as a middle-schooler.
“And when Leatherface came on in that first moment, I got so scared. I turned off the TV immediately and I think I waited like five minutes, but I had to know how it ended. So I turned it back on and finished it,” Garcia said.
The new Netflix film is now available.