There is no real story behind "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," per se. The life of serial killer Ed Gein loosely inspired the character Leatherface, who is the movie's deranged killer.
Ed Gein was born in Wisconsin in 1906. After his mother died in 1945, Gein descended into madness. He exhumed recently buried women and had sex with their bodies. He cut off body parts and kept them as souvenirs. He also dabbled in human taxidermy, making everyday household objects out of human bones and skin. In his house were skull bowls and face masks.
Gein's peculiar relationship with his mother, his fascination with female corpses, and his fetish for objects made of flesh and bone inspired such cinematic killers as Norman Bates, Jame Gumb in "The Silence of the Lambs" and Leatherface. Gein died in 1984.
Tobe Hooper, the writer and director of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," says that events of the 60s and the 70s inspired the movie. The senseless, gruesome murders in the classic slasher film are a metaphor for the disillusionment and horror that accompanied the denouement of Watergate and Vietnam.
Hooper also says that the idea of Leatherface as the evil other who torments a set of seemingly innocent travelers echoes elements of Grimm's fairy tales, namely Hansel and Gretel.