In an interview with Interview Magazine, Hooper shared that the idea for the humans-as-cattle role reversal came from a night out at a restaurant, coupled with his weekly trips past a real slaughterhouse in Texas:
“I had an experience in a restaurant one time where there was a large trolley with beef being carved up, and I just transposed different images onto it. Like, what if there was a nice little cow there with a bowtie and a knife carving up humans. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years after that. And I guess on the drive from Austin to Dallas on the weekends, I’d pass this slaughterhouse. It’s the same slaughterhouse that’s in the movie, actually. It always disturbed me. It became a part of the psychology of the film.”
These thoughts became the basis for the brutality in “Texas Chain Saw,” inspiring the infamous meat hook scene and the rest of the film’s parallels with the meat industry. It’s a theme that connects all the way back to the beginning scenes of the film, when victim Franklin describes in detail the way butchers slaughter their eventual food. Hooper’s openness about his fear and disgust at chopping up animals for food all but confirms that he intended for people to watch “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” through a vegetarian lens.