Tobe Hooper directed the first TexasChainsaw Massacre film in 1974; it not only was a critical and commercial success back then, but in later times, it came to be known as one of the most influential horror films ever made.
The film delivered on its promise of gore and blood, and it did so with a dark charm. The film never slowed down from the initial use of the sledgehammer to the unrelenting wielding of the legendary chainsaw.
Trying to be a hero was often futile because our main enemy, Leatherface, rarely spared courage or body parts. The film was so good that it was labeled a ‘cataclysmic terror’ by famed writer Stephen King. The film isn’t restrained; it’s not just a horror or slasher movie. It’s a satire on the way of life of people in the 1960s and 1970s.
First of all, it’s based on real-life serial killers like Ed Gein, people who reacted in the most unhinged fashion in the face of a calamity. Secondly, the film’s Sawyer family might not have turned into a bunch of violent cannibals had their jobs been intact.
It was the shutting down or automation of the slaughterhouses that led to their mental degeneration. Academics and researchers haven’t shied away from saying that the film is themed on ‘capitalistic cannibalism.’
In total, eight films in the Chainsaw anthology have been released, with several including diverse backstories and no consistent continuity. The first two films continue in this vein, but the 1990 picture breaks the chain.
The 2003 remake and its 2006 sequel have completely distinct backstories, although Texas Chainsaw 3D is based on the events of the first film. Finally, in 2017, the film Leatherface was released, which serves as a prequel to the original.
Despite all of the uncertainty, the fundamental element stays the same. An out-of-work family is pushed to killing humans for food, with our very own Leatherface as the cannibalistic breadwinner.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based on a True Story
Films have brought our worst nightmares to life for decades, frequently blurring the line between fear produced of fantasy and the horrors of reality. The iconic Leatherface is one monster who fits this criteria.
According to the movies, he and his family preyed on unsuspecting trespassers and travellers, often resorting to cannibalism owing to a lack of work and money. Furthermore, they would build furniture out of the remains of their victims.
Leatherface has more shock value than many other serial killers in film history. Tobe Hooper, the writer and director, was responsible for his characterisation, although a few of grisly serial killers also played a role.
Anyone who is even remotely interested in horror or gore must know Ed Gein, the grandfather of gore, more famously known as The Plainfield Butcher. He’s known to have murdered two middle-aged women and exhumed nine corpses of women from their graves. He used these corpses to create disturbing and disgusting art, such as belts made of nipples, candle lamps made out of skulls, and chairs from human skin. But why do you think he committed such grotesque acts? One logical answer could be that he was insane, but what was the cause of this mental instability?
Well, as Gein was growing up, he was neglected by his drunkard father. Naturally, he came under the strict control of his dominating mother, Augusta. She became his lone companion and real love. Gein got his mother’s whole care when his brother died, and he became dedicated to her.
After she died, though, he grew lonely and isolated. Ed was so startled by Augusta’s death, it turned out, that he began obsessing over ladies his late mother’s age. He eventually had to create a new mother for himself.
He started desecrating cemeteries after that. He was in the process of building a whole lady suit out of human skin so that he could be one with his mother, according to the cops. He would skin and mutilate these women’s bodies to build gloves and masks for himself.
Like Ed Gein, Leatherface was a mentally disturbed person who had trouble expressing himself, because he was mute. To truly express his emotions, he used several different masks. Although Ed was not a cannibal like Leatherface, his evil persona was reflected in the other gruesome acts that Leatherface and his family committed.
Some argue that Gein shouldn’t be considered a serial killer because of his low kill count. However, it is not known if he would have stopped killing if he wasn’t apprehended. This brings us to the second inspiration behind Leatherface.
Dean Corll and his accomplices David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley abducted, raped, and killed 28 boys and young men between 1970 and 1973. Brooks and Henley would transport the victims to Corll’s house, where they would be offered booze, drugs, or even money in exchange for sex.
The victims would later be immobilised, and let’s just say they were treated badly. Leatherface’s family, like this trio, kidnapped several of their victims and served them at the dining table. Gunnar Hansen was more than efficient at playing this chainsaw wielding killing machine.
His Birth Was Catastrophic, To Say The Least!
Nobody is born a criminal, and Leatherface was no exception. His unfortunate birth and upbringing shaped him into the monster he became. Sloane, an obese lady who wasn’t conscious of her condition, was pregnant with a child, according to the 2006 film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
Her water broke one day when she was working at a slaughterhouse, and she requested an emergency break, but her boss refused. She went into labour soon after and died shortly after giving birth to a malformed baby.
Instead of taking the infant to a hospital or contacting the authorities, the supervisor simply abandoned it nearby. The baby was then found by a lady named Luda May Hewitt. Luda adopted the infant and named him Thomas Hewitt. Thomas would go on to become the dreadful Leatherface. One might assume that being adopted by Luda might have spelt good fortune for Thomas, however, for some, life can be worse than death.
Luda loved her young son, but she was also the reason behind his cannibalistic and violent nature. In one of the scenes, when Thomas’s teacher tells his mother about the boys inclination for trapping and skinning animals, she denies it.
Later, when he threatens to report this unacceptable behavior, she kills the teacher in cold blood. Had Thomas been sent to a special school, things would have played out differently.
However, according to the original timeline, Leatherface was named Jedidiah Sawyer. He was depicted as a fully grown baby who would kill in self-defense. He would, however, kill on orders from his family, particularly his mother.
Leatherface was a young child who was bullied his entire life due of his horrible appearance, and who was eventually ruled and controlled by his family. Apart from this minor information, the first film provides no insight into the character’s existence.
His Appearance Made Him A Victim Of Bullying And Abuse
Leatherface’s homicidal attitude resulted from years of abuse, humiliation, and ostracism. His buddies tormented him, and his separation from society transformed him into a vicious dog who was beaten and oppressed on a regular basis. His domineering and cruel family robbed him of all possibility of living a normal life.
Leatherface obtained a scarred visage and a dissolved nose as a result of a skin illness, according to the 2003 version. His hideous look was compounded by his deafening silence and slowed mental development. To hide his real face, he began wearing a leather mask from an early age.
By the time he was 12, he was diagnosed with a rare form of mental disorder that degenerated his intellectual development. Young Leatherface became easy prey for the bullies at school. They would taunt him, laugh at him, and make fun of his abnormal personality.
At the age of 15, a few kids assaulted him, throwing him to the ground, snatching his lunch, throwing it on him, and running away with his mask. When he finally reached school, he became a laughing stock. Leatherface mustered the bravery to approach the boy who had the mask, but he was forced to collect it from the garbage bin, much to his chagrin.
Teachers paid little attention to his condition, even when he was beaten up by other students. He quit going to school when he reached 17 years old. Leatherface’s ferocious attitude and murderous tendencies were encouraged by his close family, especially Charlie.
After years of torture and parental neglect, he began working at the same slaughterhouse where Sloane had given birth to him, and under the same supervisor who had abandoned him for dead.
The 2017 picture Leatherface, on the other hand, has a completely different backstory. Leatherface didn’t appear to have any facial deformities or skin disorders in this flick. He was, however, subjected to severe mental abuse and torture as a result of being sent to a mental institution at a young age. His mother broke him out of the facility after 10 years, albeit he was shot in the face by a police officer as they attempted to flee. This is how he loses his facial features. He then carves two masks out of the skin of his victims.
Sufferings Of Leatherface Started From A Very Tender Age
As previously stated, all of the continuities point to Leatherface having a terrible background, with only the causes differing. Leatherface, a 2017 film, begins with a young Leatherface celebrating his fifth birthday.
His mother Verna, his older brothers, his grandfather, and a man chained to a chair are seated at the dinner table; he was foolish enough to try to steal one of the Sawyerfamily’s pigs. If one were to judge the Sawyer family or young Jed Sawyer by watching the first half of the birthday scene, it would be difficult to say that anything was wrong or macabre.
They sing the happy birthday song, everyone looks happy, the little future killer seems to love his birthday cake and candles. The real trouble starts after Jed cuts the cake. One of his older brothers cuts out a chunk of the cake for himself, but Verna asks him to feed the guest.
The cake is partly made out of flesh, and the older brother shoves it down the thief’s throat. It’s then revealed that Jed’s birthday gift will be his initiation into the family, as a dreadful killer. He’ll use a chainsaw to slay the thief.
Throughout the sequence, though, it is clear that Jed is hesitant to complete the duty. His uneasiness is palpable, and he finally backs off, only to be pushed by his brother, resulting in the thief’s leg being sliced by the chainsaw.
Later, the chore is completed by the hammer-wielding granddad. The child was destined to be affected by this occurrence. It was the prologue to a stunning and gruesome epic tale that would follow.
Conversion Of A Victim Into A Monster!
In the original timeline, Leatherface was portrayed as a mentally challenged young man who was forced by his family to commit murders. When Leatherface was with the Hewitt family in the 2003 remake and its 2006 prequel, he was a victim of social abuse. Years and years of ostracism turned him into a horrific killing machine.
Likewise, in the 2017 film, young Jedidiah was subjected to psychological trauma and suffering. His family butchered a young girl named Betty , who was the daughter of the local sheriff.
Sheriff Hartman arrived at the site after learning of his daughter’s horrible murder when he was notified about the case. What he witnessed astonished and enraged him, and he determined to teach the Sawyer family a lesson. To accomplish this, he committed young Jedidiah Sawyer to a mental institution, where he remained until his adolescence.
So, when Jed was committed to the Gorman House Youth Reformatory, he wasn’t insane. As a result of his family’s sins, he spent his prime years with a group of bumbling yet violent, insane people.
In addition, the institution changed his name from Jedidiah to Jackson and barred his family from seeing him. As a result, the young kid grew into an adult with no family and a new identity. But it’s easy to see how different his life would have been had he continued to stay with the Sawyers. They were no less crazy than the inmates of Gorman House.
In the later years of his institutionalization, Verna would unyieldingly attempt to meet her son. She managed to break into the facility one day, and the chaos that ensued resulted in a mass breakout. On his way out, Jed saved a nurse named Elizabeth from fellow inmates, and the two escaped the scene only to be caught by Sheriff Hartman.
He shot Jed and left a scar on his face before kidnapping him and Elizabeth. Hartman, on the other hand, was unable to murder Jed because the Sawyer family arrived and pounded him to a pulp. Hartman and Elizabeth were later kidnapped. Jed gets his face sewn in the Sawyer residence, giving him the horrifying appearance of Leatherface.
He exacts his vengeance on Hartman with his chainsaw, albeit he was not hesitant to use it this time. He’d been shaped into a ruthless and fractured man who was hell-bent on killing the guy who had torn him away from his family.
While all of this was happening, Elizabeth managed to escape the house, only to be caught in a bear trap. In a scene that’s dark and comic, we see how Leatherface tries to see reason in the woeful pleas Elizabeth makes.
However, Jed would not stand his mother being insulted and he sealed Elizabeth’s fate with a swing of his chainsaw. Jedidiah Sawyer would go on to carve out the faces of Elizabeth and Hartman to make himself two masks, and in doing so, he would become the titular monster named Leatherface.
Stories Behind Different Masks Of Leatherhead
Leatherface’s many masks and their functions have been explained in various ways in various flicks. When he wants to be involved in home life and help in the kitchen, he wears the Old Lady Mask in the first film.
At the dinner table, he liked the Pretty Woman Mask, which was also made up, because why not? He also donned a wig and a black suit with this mask. Finally, he wore the Killing Mask when he was pursuing down his victims or butchering them for supper raw materials.
So, basically, Leatherface used several masks to express various emotions and feelings, which was difficult for him due to his deafening silence. The masks defined his personality and who he was at a particular moment, and what he would be doing throughout that day.
However, it is important to note that Leatherface’s mask is his only personality; underneath it, he’s a hollow husk without any character or major emotions. The later films gave more substantial reasons to his masks, such as his facial disfigurement as a result of diseases or gunshots wounds. In the 2017 film, we see him wearing a cow’s head instead of a mask, although his face is perfectly fine.
Was Leatherface Really An Evil Guy?
While Leatherface is remembered as one of Hollywood’s most heinous serial killers, the question of whether he was actually evil or simply a victim of abuse remains unanswered.
Many people assume he was just an overprotective and enthusiastic landowner. Yes, he killed the trespassers by swinging his chainsaw in the bloodiest of ways, but they would have been happy and living if they hadn’t trespassed.
Characters like Micheal Myers from Halloween, Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street and others are known to go on rampages and kill just for fun, or to satisfy their murderous rage and hunger. Leatherface doesn’t do that, he is not a sadist who kills because he likes to.
Since the beginning of time and through several films, he has killed and mutilated only because he was asked to do so or because he was protecting his family. His social and psychological conditioning turned a sweet young boy into a man hellbent on killing intruders.
For instance, in the 2017 film, he is forced to witness the gruesome death of two victims and later sent to a mental asylum. In the original movie, he is treated hardly better than a family pet.
He is conditioned into cannibalism and murder by Charlie and Luda in the 2003 version and its prequel. Although he is a violent slasher in general, he is a victim of domestic torture and violence in his own home. Leatherface, according to Marvelous Videos, is like a wild beast that has been domesticated by a group of sadistic owners.
When he’s out in the open, he kills when he has to and displays the ferocity of a roaring bull, but when he’s with his masters, he acts like a trembling kitten. Please let us know what you think of him in the comments section.
Future Of The Leatherface Franchise
According to the latest news, 2021 will have a new Leatherface film that would depict an older Leatherface and would probably be set in the year 2021, with David Blue Garcia expected to direct it. The director of the 2016 film Don’t Breathe, FedeAlvarez, is set to produce the new Leatherface film, so we may expect a better outcome than the 2017 prequel.
According to Alvarez, the new film will be a direct sequel, and it will be interesting to watch how Leatherface has aged over the last fifty years. Naturally, he wouldn’t be able to chase his victims into the woods for miles, and he wouldn’t have the physical strength to do much else.
This film may possibly mark the end of the Leatherface franchise, just as the 2019 film did for Rambo. Of course, Rambo and Leatherface are incomparable, but from the perspective of a tough character who has grown old and is unable to keep up with modern times, his doom appears to be a foregone conclusion.