Originally Published: Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Modified October of 2018 by the author.
Story by Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Original Headline: “Uncle G” meets Marilyn Burns (actress – portrayed Sally Hardesty in 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Oh, what a night! Was a super cool experience meeting legendary actress Marilyn Burns this past Friday. I arrived just around opening time (7 PM) at Nature’s Nightmare (Houston Texas), a haunted nature trail, where Marilyn was for two nights only, appearing as a special guest.
Upon arriving, and getting out to do that walk to where all the excitement was, memories of the classic horror film, ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘, come to mind.
Assuming all who are reading this, saw the film, here’s the story in a nutshell. Just so we’re all on the same page.
Marilyn Burns played the character of Sally Hardesty. The sole survivor of a group of five young adults, the other four brutally murdered by a maniac with a chainsaw, nicknamed Leatherface. Dude had this thing for cutting off the faces of people he tortured and murdered, wearing them as a mask. No shit! The first cut so they say, is the deepest. A rather ghastly looking fellow, to begin with. More than willing to go to extremes. Without conscience. The mentality of a child. As far as horror movieland IQ’s go, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees have way more snap than this dude.
Now, back to the story.
After the death of Sally’s brother, the last of the four she was traveling with, she’s caught, taken to the house, and then held captive. Forced into spending some quality time with Leatherface’s just as insane family members. Marilyn’s character Sally Hardesty manages to get free and then leaps through a window to the outdoors. Of course, the family goes in pursuit, except for Grandpa. He’s still busy digesting Mary’s blood that he drank from her finger. Sally, who seems to be struggling with every step and with the weirdos in hot pursuit, manages to make it to the road and escapes when a driver of a pickup truck passing by, stops to save her from their menacing clutches. Have to hand it to Leatherface for he ALMOST got her. Don’t feel bad for him. For Leatherface wrecks more havoc in future movies bearing the official Chainsaw title, turning the original, now iconic horror film, into a big-time movie franchise.
When celebrities are doing a public meet and greet, one of the main reasons that I go is to secure an autograph. Not so much a snapshot with whoever it may be. That’s treasure as well. Philography is one of my hobbies. More part-time, but it’s been something I liked doing since I was a child. Started off with astronauts and baseball players. Nowadays, those I find interesting under the pop culture umbrella.
When there is a crowd, the best advice I can give is to get as far ahead in the line as possible. I’ve been to conventions (a few) and had times when I witnessed the first few signatures given, and then looked at the autographs folks were receiving from the same entertainer, 200 people later. Usually one can detect a difference with the handwriting not looking as sharp as it did at the beginning of the festivities. The main reason, of course, just being a tired hand. Understandable.
Now, the flip side. would you believe being last in line at a meet and greet could have some benefits? I once was at the end of a ‘Bruce Campbell‘ meet and greet. He met/signed things for all the hundreds of people that were there. At the end of the very long line … the wife and I. When it was our turn, he could not be any cooler. Got pictures autographed. From chatting with me when we first met, his hand rested. Gave a signature I was happy with (taking all into account). Got our photograph taken with the ‘Evil Dead‘ franchise star. Later that night, himself, along with actor Ted Raimi, would perform a funny half-hour or so, live two-man comedy show. Reminiscent of the old Vaudeville days. Cost me a small fortune to be there. Admittedly, worth every dime. The misses is a huge ‘Xena’ fan. She had surgery less than two years before this, that unfortunately left her disabled. Affected her walking. Was a very slow recovery process. Hanging out at a Star Trek/Xena convention, rubbing elbows with stars, was just what the doctor ordered. Sandra could not be any more thrilled. All a part of playing a good husband, plus I did kinda like at least some of what was going on there. So entertaining for myself as well. Honestly, (not that I would lie) … I was more into, Star Trek. Was my second official Star Trek convention. Almost a decade earlier, I attended my first one. From the original series, James Doohan was the special guest.
My time with legendary scream queen Marilyn Burns could not have been any better. Was a pleasure to meet, as was her male companion. She kindly autographed the items I brought; DVDs of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and another Tobe Hooper film Marilyn was cast in entitled, Eaten Alive (1976). She then helped me pick out a very cool black n’ white 8×10 of her, in character as Sally Hardesty from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I first asked her what was the most popular picture out of what she was offering for sale. I’d say she must have had around a dozen or so spread out on the table. Anyone of them, suitable for framing. So she pointed out the most popular one, saying this is the picture of her that most everyone liked. She then followed up the comment by showing me another, saying it was her favorite. That was all I need to hear. Looking at Marilyn I told her I was never one to really do what everyone else did, and gestured I’d be fine taking the one she just recommended. The lady then inscribed and signed her name leaving one of the best legible signatures you ever want to see. As an autograph collector, that’s always what I want. I’d tell you some of the worst looking autographs I got over the years, but I would not want to embarrass anyone. Not that I have the best looking John Hancock myself. Marilyn then signed my DVDs, and after chatting some, her companion was kind enough to snap a couple pictures of us together. The two of them even made sure that the picture(s) taken were to my satisfactory. I gave thanks, said goodbye, turned around and walked past the ones who were behind me in line, heading back toward my car. It’s a cool memory. A unique experience I will never forget.
Photos: Marilyn Burns_Gary “Uncle G” Brown (11 October 2013)
Marilyn Burns newest film is Texas Chainsaw 3D. I’ve recently seen it around the retail stores / Redbox machines. Now finding out Marilyn is actually in it, along with other alumni from Chainsaws past, it’s on my most current DVD MUST HAVE list.
Regarding Marilyn Burns, acting in the original Chainsaw, I bet actresses ever since its release have been studying her performance. Not only the vocal, but her actions, expressions, and mannerisms. It’s a flawless performance. As a viewer, you’re a fly on the wall to witness for yourself what depths madness will travel. You feel bad for Sally as she’s being tortured and you root for her as she tries to break free. It’s when ones hypnotized to the scene, some even having a dialogue with it, suggesting things for Sally to do to regain her freedom, like yelling “RUN FASTER” that you know the actress succeeded in making her character real. It’s no wonder why almost forty years later, that fans like myself would voluntarily drive from one side of Houston to the other, in night time rush hour traffic, just to participate in a meet and greet with her.
Tobe Hooper’s magnificent tale of ghastly horror, otherwise known as ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, is today regarded as one of the best horror films ever made. When released it freaked a bunch of people out, and true to style, is still doing so today. Was banned in many countries, including the UK, in which our station originates from. Nowadays the horror classic is a lot more accessible. Ready to scare the turds out of another new generation of young innocents. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre makes the list of many; best horror movie. It’s only a matter of time before word gets around…and it does. And then the LOUD sounds of an industrial chainsaw, and Marilyn screaming at the TOP of her lungs. Music to many a person’s ears.
Attention: Nature’s Nightmare I believe will stay open until Halloween night. They have a cool website. If thinking of going, I’d check that out first. From what I saw in person I recommend going, even without Marilyn Burns there.
Nature’s Nightmare official website link is: http://www.thehauntedtrails.com/
And that’s a wrap…..
Update 2018: Marilyn passed away 05 Aug 2014. May she rest in peace — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Burns