Bastrop- There’s nothing like seeing the Lone Star State featured on film. Texas has been a topic for a ton of major movies over the years, but there is one frightening horror flick that still strikes fear into the hearts of fans despite being over 40-years-old. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most iconic movies ever shot here, and today you can experience a part of it first-hand at a little BBQ joint.
We’re at We Slaughter BBQ in Bastrop.
“It’s a landmark in a horror movie history,” Cory Young said. “It’s the original gas station from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
Cory is the general manager who promises he’s nothing like the folks from the movie that served up sliced members of society. He just works here and grew up right down the road.
“I grew up five minutes from here,” Cory said. “Born and raised in Smithville. Yeah, I don’t give off the vibe, really.”
Cory did what just about every kid who grows up in small town does. He moved away, but not for long.
“I did cities for a while, and then really just got tired of traffic and stuff, so I made my way back out here after about ten years of moving around,” Corey said. “It’s actually very quiet and peaceful out here. You don’t hear sirens. You don’t hear gunshots. There’s no traffic. People leave you alone. It’s amazing. My parents and my family, they don’t recognize me, but it’s still the same old me. No one believes me, though, when I tell people I grew up on a farm, but yet I listen to death metal and watch a whole bunch of horror movies.”
Corey has the perfect qualifications to run this restored rest stop that has a relation to Texas horror movie history.
“Since I started working back here it’s kind of taken over my life,” Corey said.
Featured on the opening scene of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the building was meticulously restored over two and a half years.
“They took a lot of time and pride and effort into restoring everything they could as well as they could,” Corey said. “We got the ‘We slaughter barbecue’ sign completely recreated. We’ve got the little chair and the wash basket. We’ve got the red, white, and blue for the stools, for the chairs, and for the bench there. Right down to the red pole down there at the end. Very movie-specific. As I mentioned earlier, we have the Coke machine and the Indian oil pump that would go right out there. There’s a really iconic scene where Sally and her girlfriend are out here getting a soda and stuff, so it is very picture perfect to screen shots of the movie.”
Making sure the front facade is flawless took Cory a few days to figure out.
“My first day here, I was putting the stuff out front,” Corey said. “I was just kind of throwing it wherever. My second day here, I had seen the movie, and I recognized everything. I’m putting everything in its exact spot, I’ve got a screenshot of the movie. I’m getting everything aligned perfectly. It completely puts your perspective into a different light. People come here from all over the world. There’s nothing more annoying than if I go to a different country, and I go somewhere that’s like something that I love, and the person behind the counter doesn’t know what they’re talking about, that’s like the most disappointing thing in the world. There are die-hard fans out there, so you need to know what you’re talking about. I have enough respect for the job to at least give it that.”
We’re told they’ve got some of the best BBQ in Bastrop.
“A lot of the locals will come in here and completely forget this is a barbecue place,” Corey said. “They’ll just walk in and look around and they’ll be like, ‘Y’all sell barbecue?’ And it’s like, ‘Nah, the signs are a trap to get you lured in here.’”
If you’re really brave, you can even spend the night here. Cabins come with a television and DVD player, so you can watch the movie while peering at the green van featured in the film right out your window.
“It’s really popular,” Corey said. “Our cabins are booked all the time through the whole month of October, obviously. It’s just a really neat, different sort of experience.”
There are people who ponder if the place will help them pull a practical joke.
“We get people all the time that ask me, ‘Hey, would you come up at 2:00 in the morning? Start a chainsaw and scare the heck out of my kids? I’ll pay you 50, 60, 70 bucks,’” Corey said. “I’m like, ‘I live five minutes away, I’ll totally set an alarm for 50 bucks.’ But unfortunately, due to our insurance and potential legal reasons, we’re not allowed to do that. Yeah. If you hear a chainsaw, run, because it isn’t us.”
This scary stop in the middle of central Texas can’t be missed and is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“There’s a lot of people under the impression that just because Hollywood slaps a ‘based on a true story’ onto something that it happened verbatim like the movie,” Corey said. “‘Based on a true story’ is usually very loosely based, and it’s like one five-minute aspect of the movie is what it’s actually based on. ‘Based’ could be anything. You get a lot of people out here asking if it was real. So you tell them, ‘Yeah, of course. What do you think’s in the chili?’”