Down a dusty street in a forgotten part of Bastrop, Texas is an old gas station that had seen better days.
But for most horror loving fans, the gas station is legendary.
In the 70's it went by the name "The Last Chance Gas Station" and it was the scene from the cult classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre where Leatherface slashed and smashed his way into horror movie infamy. Now the location has shared in a horror resurgence as it was transformed from run down and forgotten real estate to a thriving barbeque spot with overnight cabins and a giant souvenir shop stocked full of Leatherface swag and murder memorabilia.
But back before this pit stop in the heart of Texas became a destination made for horror fanatics, it is important to understand just exactly why anyone would even care.
The Last Chance gas station in the original 1974 film served as a set piece marinated in situational irony. The name itself implies the final opportunity for an escape and to turn back, and for protagonist Sally Hardesty and her group of friends, it was their last chance before they continued on after their unfortunate pit stop at the gas station.
Just before stopping, as if it wasn't enough to tip them off, they had survived a grizzly run in with a shady hitchhiker that eventually turned dire as he turned on them with a knife. As if being sliced open wasn’t enough, when the crew finally did pull up to the gas station, owner Drayton Sawyer informed the group the tanks were dry but a truck was on its way. He continually insisted they try some of his famous barbeque while they waited.
As you can imagine, the barbeque wasn’t your run of the mill farm animal fare.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the time was not welcomed with open arms but was instead shunned and refused and even threatened when it first came to the big screen. But the revilement of the critics eventually led people to go see it and later the film became the cult horror flick that would inspire even more frightening horror legends like Freddy and Jason. It is even sometimes called the father of the slasher film and a staple of the horror and exploitation genre.
Still want the synopsis? A social critique? A look at why this movie continues to make history and why in the world anyone would turn an old movie prop into a gift shop and barbeque joint? Read why in a true Texas Chainsaw Retrospective from our resident horror official.
Let’s pull the clock forward to 2017. Now called We Slaughter BBQ or simply The Gas Station the iconic stop is open and always willing for visitors who are fans of both horror and barbeque alike.
Unlike more kitschy travel stops, the focus here is on authenticity. A replica of the old green van is parked outside and the vintage sign out front is a direct replica from the movie. The dilapidated appearance from the film is carefully preserved and the straightforward “We Slaughter BBQ” remains ever present.
It should be noted, for lack of any other reason except that Halloween is right around the corner, that We Slaughter serves traditional barbeque and not human remains stuffed into sausage casings. Can't be too authentic...right?
The menu includes staples ranging from pulled pork to brisket and all the homemade sides you can think of. Some menu items only make special appearances on certain days of the week like their burgers on tuesdays or their famous Bacon wrapped Jalapenos that are stuffed with cheese and brisket.
Yup, you read that right and it is exactly what we are thinking.
But the true horror adventureseeker shouldn’t stop at just barbeque and a giftshop. The hardcore Leatherface fans among us can stay the night in one of the four tiny cabins outside the Bastrop locale who want that extra hit of horror. Because nothing says adventure like a dark night on a darker road in the Texas back country.
Whether it's the inner horror junkie or someone just craving some traditional barbeque, The Gas Station is the prime spot. Located just 40 miles west of Austin and 100 miles northeast from San Antonio it is a short drive to delicious food and frightening fun.
The Gas Station is located at 1073 SH 304 in Bastrop, Texas. They are open daily 10am to 7pm and closed on Mondays. Food is served noon to 6pm. Be sure to check their Facebook page for updates and events through the year and into next. For lodging, visit their website for booking information.