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Leatherface vs. Tricky Dick

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre As Political Satire

The Watergate scandal was a horror show. What better way to satirize it than with a horror movie? A fascinating minute-by-minute exploration of many uncanny connections between The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Watergate.


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Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre premiered in October 1974, mere weeks after the resignation and pardon of Richard Nixon brought an uncertain end to the most corrupt and criminal presidency in American history. The film had been conceived, written, shot, edited, and produced precisely as Watergate was playing out, and those responsible for Chain Saw unhesitatingly spoke of the horrors of contemporary politics as having directly inspired the ones they created for the film.

Leatherface vs. Tricky Dick presents a fascinating minute-by-minute exploration of the many uncanny connections between The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Watergate, as well as other ways the film comments on contemporary politics via satire and (very) dark humor. Read and discover Chain Saw’s response to the White House horrors, the Saturday Night Massacre, and more, as well as how Leatherface’s masks relate to all those Nixon masks worn throughout “our long national nightmare.”



The Texas Chain Saw Massacre As Political Satire​

Author: Martin Harris

ISBN: 978-1-909394-81-0 (pbk)

ISBN: 978-1-909394-82-7 (ebk)

Street date: 9 August  2021

Category: Film/Politics

Size: 203mm x 127mm

Pages: 248

Illustrations: 93 x B&W stills

Other: Audiobook also available

Special Edition Hardback

Exclusive to this website. As the trade paperback edition except that the special edition hardback carries no ISBN and is in colour throughout. 

Press Reaction
Darren Charles
Darren Charles
Musique Machine
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A well-researched, study of political satire disguised as horror. Leatherface vs Tricky Dick: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as Political Satire is a smart, well written and well-researched book ... I would suggest anyone with an interest in modern political history and horror movies gives this one a read. It’s an interesting and innovative style of writing and one that I would like to see more of in the future.
Amanda Reyesmadefortvmayhem.com
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As a film historian and archivist, I have always felt cinema as a whole benefits from some sort of contextual framework. But OMG. Martin Harris’ utterly brilliant Leatherface vs. Tricky Dick goes the whole nine yards — and then some — in an effort to explore how our everyday lived experiences inform the nightmares we pay money to watch in the theater. What a fascinating take on one of the most important films in the history of genre cinema.
Joseph Walsh Actor, Tobe Hooper's Poltergeist
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The grim dark tale of the horror movie The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has found its soulmate in the sordid presidency of Richard Milhous Nixon. In 'Leatherface vs. Tricky Dick,' author Martin Harris masterfully weaves both, getting us to wonder which was creepier. At any rate, one gets the feeling Tricky Dick would have been a seriously welcome addition to the ultra-sick Chainsaw family. If one is into looking back at unhinged history told in compelling prose, look no further than Mr. Harris's twin houses of horror. Yipes!!
Anthony HoldenAuthor of Big Deal, William Shakespeare: His Life and Work
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A thorough, well-informed and highly entertaining exploration of the cultural riches bred by poker, explaining why the game remains so quintessentially American while growing ever more universal. (On the author's book, Poker & Pop Culture)
David G. SchwartzAuthor Roll the Bones
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Poker & Pop Culture is a monumentally readable, always engaging look at how poker has appeared in literature, TV, movies, and elsewhere. From John Wayne to William Shatner, Mississippi riverboats to online sites and everywhere in between, Harris covers it all. (On the author's book, Poker & Pop Culture)
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Martin Harris

MARTIN HARRIS is an author and teacher who writes about horror film, literature, and popular culture. An English Ph.D., he teaches American Studies at UNC Charlotte where his courses include “Tricky Dick: Richard Nixon, Poker & Politics.”


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