Leatherface (real name: Jedidiah Sawyer) is a fictional character and the main antagonist in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre horror film series. He is usually portrayed as mentally handicapped or disturbed (though Leatherface reveals that he used to be more normal, save for his temper). He wears a mask made out of human skin, which leads to his eventual name - Leatherface.
The character is loosely based on the real-life serial killer Ed Gein, who is remembered as one of the most brutal serial killers in American history, whom also happened to skin his victims alive and wear clothes made out of their skin. Leatherface is usually depicted with his iconic chainsaw, but he is also known for using a large sledgehammer to attack his victims.
Biography[edit | edit source]
The original film never shows Leatherface without one of his human-flesh masks. He differs from most other movie killers, in that the films portray him not so much as sadistic or evil, but as simple minded. Most of the time he only does as instructed. Hansen has stated that Leatherface is "completely under the control of his family. He'll do whatever they tell him to do. He's a little bit afraid of them." In the documentary The Shocking Truth, Tobe Hooper portrays Leatherface as a "big baby" who kills in self-defense because he feels threatened, pointing out that in the first film Leatherface is actually frightened of all the new people entering his house.
Leatherface's family processes the people he kills into barbecued foods and chili, which his oldest brother, Drayton Sawyer, then sells at his restaurant/gas station, the "Last Chance". The Sawyer family also contains the following members:
Nubbins Sawyer, a hitchhiker, is the second oldest brother. Chop Top (Nubbin's twin) appears in the sequel as his brother (and also holding the mummified body of Nubbins) he was in Vietnam at the time of the first film. There is also Grandpa Sawyer, Grandma and Great-Grandma Sawyer.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which is a direct sequel to the 1974 film, has a more over-the-top atmosphere. Tobe Hooper said on The Shocking Truth that he wanted to expand on the dark comedy in the original film, an element that he felt no one truly picked up on. In this film, Leatherface develops a "crush" on one of his victims, and in one scene, skins off the face of her friend (while alive) and places it on her to hide her from the rest of his family. At the end of the film, he apparently dies in an explosion after being impaled with a chainsaw in a fight with the uncle of his previous victims from the first film.
With Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III the filmmakers attempted to make the series darker and grittier (much as the film-makers of the original had intended), but interventions from the MPAA had them tone it down and change the ending. An uncut version was released in 2003. Leatherface has a different family and a daughter in this film (possibly from rape). A four-issue comic series based on the film, entitled Leatherface was also created; notably, portions of the comics are narrated by and shown from Leatherface's point of view.
In Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation Leatherface appears, inexplicably, not as a cannibal but as a pizza-eating transvestite named "Leather" involved in an Illuminati conspiracy to provide society a source of horror, and again, with a different family.
Leatherface never speaks in any of the films or comics, portraying him as mute. The only notable exception to this however, is in the first film. He 'tells' his brother Drayton Sawyer (who confronted him about a missing door) through gibberish about how he killed everyone and broke it while chasing them — although he speaks no word of English (save for an "uh uh" (meaning "no") sound when Drayton asks if any of them "got away"), Drayton appears to understand him. Often in films Leatherface will yell and make strange vocal sounds as a form of communication, he is notable as being one of the few silent horror film villains that makes any sort of grunts or noise unlike Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. How his family understand him remains unknown, though it is suggested by the fact that he does seem to try speaking that he can talk but due to his limited intelligence (which causes various characters in the films to call him a "retard") he can not enunciate comprehensible words and can only sound out words through grunts and yells.
unKill count[edit | edit source]
- Kirk: Head bludgeoned twice with a sledgehammer.
- Pam: Back impaled on a meat hook.
- Jerry: Head bludgeoned with a sledgehammer.
- Franklin Hardesty: Hacked at, 5 times with a chainsaw.
- Buzz: Top of his head hacked off with a chainsaw whilst driving a car.
- Rick "The Prick": Mangled in a car crash (indirect murder).
- L.G.McPeters: Flaying and blood loss.
- Gina: Head bludgeoned with a sledgehammer.
- Sara: Eviscerated with a chainsaw.
- Barry: Head bludgeoned with a sledgehammer.
- Darryl: Head bludgeoned with a sledgehammer.
- Kenny: Sliced in two with a chainsaw.
- Ryan: Van accident.
- Officer Marvin: Killed with an axe.
- Burt Hartman: Crushed by a meat grinder.
- Gavin Miller: Killed with a chainsaw.
- Arlene Miller: Killed with a chainsaw.
- Betty Hartman: Impaled and crushed with tools.
- Asylum Patient: Beaten to death.
- Police Officer: Beaten and head smashed in by a car door.
- Hal Hartman: Chest impaled with a chainsaw.
- Elizabeth "Lizzy" White: Head cut off with a chainsaw.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- His character name and description is based on a real live Serial killer named Ed Gein. Who wore the flesh of his victims to hide his face.
- Although the chainsaw is the characteristic weapon of Leatherface, he only killed one person with it in the first film.
- In Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Leatherface kills only one person, making this the film with his lowest bodycount.
- He appears in the spoof movie Stan Helsing as an antagonist, though like Jason (renamed Mason), he doesn't get a lot of screentime. His mask is drastically changed, and his name changed to Pleatherface, (Also indicating his 'fake' status) though he still wields a chainsaw (one that is plugged in, however), and is a cannibal, given that he drives a truck where people are hung on meat hooks. He also talks. He's the 5th to be defeated; Nadine unplugs his chainsaw, leaving him powerless, and he runs off. Depending on which door he ran out, he may have been eaten by Sammy, the ferocious and undead dog (as Jason/Mason and Michael were).
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