Directed by Ti West, ‘X’ is a slasher horror film. Set in 1979, the storyline follows a film crew led by strip-club owner Wayne (Martin Henderson) that arrives at a remote farmhouse in Texas to shoot a porn movie, hoping that it will make them popular. They think that the elderly owners of the farmhouse have no idea why they have come, but they are soon proven horribly wrong.
‘X’ accurately captures the feel of the late 1970s with its setting and the appearances of the characters. The movie depicts in immaculate detail what it takes to make an indie film before things begin to go to hell in a handbasket and people start dying. If this has made you wonder whether ‘X’ is inspired by true events, here is what you need to know.
Is X a True Story?
No, ‘X’ is not based on a true story. West developed the film from a script he wrote himself. It is West’s first feature film since the 2016 action western ‘In a Valley of Violence.’ ‘X’ is also West’s first foray into the slasher subgenre. According to him, the film came about because of his desire to make a movie about filmmaking. “… I was thinking that I really liked just like the craft of cinema in general, and I wanted to make a movie about filmmaking because I feel like there’s a lack of cultural reverence for cinema, maybe because we’re just so bombarded with moving images all of the time,” West said in an interview.
However, West didn’t want to make a horror film about people making a horror film, as he felt it would be too meta to do that. “… horror and porn have always had this symbiotic relationship of being outsider genres, so I thought in a slasher movie — as the lowbrow combination of sex and violence — a story about the adult film industry made sense,” he continued. “And that was a way for me to bring an audience in, to watch people make a movie and see how making a movie is different than the movie that ends up on the screen. And then I just felt like horror movies were kind of soft. And so in that, I was like, ‘Well, if you’re going to make a slasher movie, you gotta just go right for it.’ So that just started nagging at my brain, and then here we are.”
The first half-hour or so of the horror drama is an unadulterated appreciation of filmmaking in general. While the film clearly pays homage to movies like ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,’ West wanted to subvert the audience’s expectation and take the narrative in an unexpected direction.
In the same interview, Henderson denied basing his character on any current or historical personality from the adult-film industry, adding, “Maybe a used car salesman is more in keeping with how I saw this sort of enthusiastic, ultimately optimistic and positive guy, but nothing had really worked out for him in the way that he had hoped. And so there was almost like a naïveté to the character and a slickness that works for him, but also puts some people off — which I found comical, that he’s unaware of that until he’s called out for it.”
As for Brittany Snow, who portrays Bobby-Lynne in the film, she channeled Dolly Parton’s charisma, drive, and sense of destiny for her character. Clearly, ‘X’ is not based on a true story, but it’s perfectly understandable why someone might think so.
Read More: Where Was X Filmed?