Leatherface is a fictional character and main antagonist in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre horror film series. Many consider him to be grandfather of all slasher movie serial killers. He is usually portrayed as mentally retarded, disturbed, or simply puppet of his family doing their evil biddings. He wears a mask made out of human skin which leads to his name Leatherface. The character is loosely based on real-life serial killer Ed Gein, who is remembered as one of the most brutal serial killers in American history, in which he also happens to skin his victims alive and wear cloths made out of their skin. Leatherface is usually shown with chainsaw which becomes iconic among the horror fan community, but he is also known for using a large sledgehammer to bash his victims.
The original film never shows Leatherface without one of his human-flesh masks on. He differs from other movie killers in that the films portray him not so much as sadistic or evil but as mentally retarded. Most of the time he only does what his family tells him to do. 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 barbecue and chili, which his oldest brother, Drayton Sawyer, then sells the food at his restaurant/gas station, the "Last Chance" gas station, and at cook-offs. Aside from Leatherface and Drayton, the Sawyer clan includes two more brothers, a hitchhiker named Nubbins Sawyer and a Vietnam veteran known only as Chop Top A.K.A. Plate Head, as well as Grandpa, Grandma and Great-Grandma Sawyer. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, a direct sequel to the 1974 film, has more campy and over-the-top atmosphere than the original. 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 a 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 returned as the main antagonist in the Platinum Dunes reboot of the franchise. For more information on that version of the character see Leatherface (remake timeline).
Leatherface became a prominent character in Wildstorm Comics's continuation of the remakes. With the family exposed after the events of the first film, the comics show the Hewitt family living in a series of tunnels in the sewers of Travis County.
As at the end of the first film, Leatherface in the comics has only one arm. Halfway through the first story arc, Leatherface's uncle Monty helps Leatherface build a "prosthetic arm" (consisting of a hook attached to a bone and tied to Leatherface's arm with a belt) to assist with his nephew's handicap. Leatherface later uses this hook in addition to his chainsaw on victims, at one point spearing a man's leg to prevent him from escaping.
The comics also imply that the rest of the town, while perhaps not involved with the Hewitts' cannibalism, at least know of it and have agreed to help them deal with outsiders. In one scene, when a potential victim runs into a bar looking for help, she is stopped from calling the police and told by the patrons that they "don't want no Hewitt trouble" and later reprimand Leatherface for not looking after his "livestock".
SilenceLeatherface never speaks in any of the films or comics, which portray him as mute. 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 ofcommunication, 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.
- Kirk: Head bludgeoned twice with sledgehammer.
- Pam: Back impaled on meat hook.
- Jerry: Head bludgeoned with sledgehammer.
- Franklin Hardesty: Hacked 5 times with chainsaw.
- Buzz: Top of head hacked off with chainsaw while driving car.
- Rick "The Prick": Mangled in car crash (indirect murder).
- L.G.McPeters: Skin take off and blood loss.
- Gina: Head bludgeoned with sledgehammer.
- Sara: Eviscerated with chainsaw.
- Barry: Head bludgeoned with sledgehammer.
- Kemper: Head bludgeoned with sledgehammer.
- Pepper: Cut in half with chainsaw.
- Morgan: Hung on chandelier, sliced up in crotch with chainsaw.
- Officer 1: Killed with chainsaw.
- Officer 2: Killed with chainsaw.
- Meat Plant Owner: Head bludgeoned with sledgehammer.
- Holden: Sliced in two with chainsaw.
- Eric: Impaled through stomach with chainsaw.
- Bailey: Throat sliced with scissors.
- Dean: Impaled through back with chainsaw.
- Chrissie: Impaled through back with chainsaw while driving car.
- Motorist: Run over by car (accident).
- Police Officer: Run over by car (accident).
- Darryl: Head bludgeoned with sledgehammer.
- Kenny: Sliced in two with chainsaw.
- Ryan: Van´s accident.
- Officer Marvin: Killed with axe.
- Burt Hartman: Crushed by meat grinder.
- Gavin Miller: Killed with chainsaw.
- Arlene Miller: Killed with chainsaw.
In other media
- Leatherface appeared alongside Jason Voorhees in a crossover comic series.
- Leatherface also appeared in the Robot Chicken episode That Hurts Me, as a contestant of Big Brother, alongside Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Ghostface, and Pinhead. He won the challenge to retrieve a kitten from a block of ice. He also played charades with Jason and Michael (the other two who don't talk).
- 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, 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).
- He was one of the most feared killer's in the 1980s.
- 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 if he was caught on camera.
- Although the chainsaw is the characteristic weapon of Leatherface, he only killed one person with it in the first movie.
- In Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation Leatherface kills only one person, being this the movie with the least Leatherface's body count.