Gunnar Hansen

Gunnar Hansen


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We are sad to hear about Gunnar Hansen passing away yesterday, Nov. 7th, 2015. I would like to honor and remember Gunnar Hansen with stories of what impact his acting and films had on my life. I never knew or met Hansen, but he was weaved through the fabric of my life through film.

We commonly know Gunnar Hansen as ‘Leatherface’ of Texas ChainSsaw Massacre, but many are not aware that he was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. Gunnar went to school in Texas. I grew up in Texas with this film and Gunnar/Leatherface as the back story of my young life. It was so entrenched in my life that my day that as a young child, adults would play jokes on me. In fact, my dad drove me out in the middle of nowhere (that wasn’t hard to do where we lived) to an old gas station. The station was old, run down, but still open to the public. We pulled into the parking lot, which was a gravel, dirt lot, as we stopped the truck, my dad said, “This is where they used to take all the human meat that the Leatherface family produce and sell it as chili, in this gas station.” He wouldn’t let me go in to look around because he ‘wasn’t sure that they no longer do it’ and didn’t want me to become chili. He would then drive off like nothing happened, leaving an excited and fascinated young boy to wonder – was it real? To be fair, my dad wasn’t the only person who kept the story of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre alive by supporting that it really happened.

Many, Many, I mean many, years later, I wanted to visit Iceland so I began researching online so I could learn a little more before purchasing the tickets. For some reason Google thought the film Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre was a good search result for the top page. Being an animal rights activist, I was immediately drawn to this movie. I mean who wouldn’t, it was a horror film, on a whaling ship that stars Gunnar Hansen. I watched it, loved it and purchased tickets to tour Iceland and now we travel to Iceland almost every year. I know what you are thinking… no, I have not gotten on a whale watching boat – have you seen the movie?!

To honor Gunnar Hansen’s work in film and his life, here are two trailers, Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If you haven’t seen these films yet – please do. If you have- watch them again.

Harpoon: The Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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About author

Jason Bayless

Jason Bayless is a life-long activist and is currently working at The Pachamama Alliance. When he is not working he spends, working with Center for Farmworker Families and spending his time recording shows, writing blogs, collecting 3D movies, and playing VR games.

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