In case you need a quick refresher, “Hansel & Gretel” is about two siblings who get lost in the woods (whether this is on purpose or by accident depends on which version you’re reading) and discover a house made of candy. A witch lives there, and because she’s No Good, she coaxes them into her sweet abode determined to fatten them up and eat them. Eventually though, Gretel escapes and kills the witch by shoving her into her own fiery oven, thus saving herself and her brother from the witch’s dinner plans.
This classic story caused a creative spark in a young Tobe Hooper who would go on to write the screenplay for “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” with his friend Kim Henkel. In an article for Texas Monthly, Henkel talked about how the two “became casual friends” after working together on an earlier Hooper film “Eggshells” which featured a risqué fully-nude scene from Henkel himself. After “Eggshells,” Henkel said, “[Tobe Hooper] wanted me to develop a script with him,” so the friends set to work writing their version of “Hansel and Gretel.” But because “Eggshells” did not do very well, the two were not very hopeful about this next film’s success. “We had no budget, we had no cast, and the last picture had not been successful,” said Henkel.
It wasn’t until Hooper saw another horror classic that had recently come out in theaters that he finally came up with a way to grab people’s attention with one of his films.