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Leatherface (real name: Jedidiah Sawyer) is the most recurring villain of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre series, and a cannibal. He is one of the biggest horror icons, but unlike most of them, is not supernatural in any way. His main weapons are a chainsaw and sledgehammer. He is also extremely mentally ill. He does not talk that much, though he does make vocal sounds. He wears a mask made from a person's skin, which he uses to express a personality. It is also notable that director Tobe Hooper has stated that Leatherface kills out of fear, not malice. He wears masks made of human skin (hence his name) and engages in murder and cannibalism alongside his inbred family. Leatherface first appeared in the first film in the 1974 series and in its six subsequent continuations and remakes. Wisconsin killer Ed Gein, who wore a mask made of human skin, was reportedly the inspiration for the character.
He was portrayed by the late Gunnar Hansen, Bill Johnson, R. A. Mihailoff, Kane Hodder, Robert Jacks, Dan Yeager, and Sam Strike.
The original film never showed Leatherface without one of his human-hide faces on. Leatherface used to work as the cow-killer at the meat factory. Gunnar Hansen, who portrayed Leatherface in the original 1974 film, sees Leatherface as "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. In the first film, Leatherface shows fear when new people enter his home.
Leatherface's family uses the bones of the people he kills (along with some animal bones) to build the inside of their house. They process the victims' flesh into barbecue and chili, which Drayton Sawyer, a skilled chef, sells at his restaurant/gas station, the "Last Chance" gas station. They also enter human-flesh dishes at cook-offs (according to the sequel, Drayton has won two cooking awards doing this). Aside from Leatherface and Drayton, the Sawyer clan includes several more brothers, a hitchhiker named Nubbins Sawyer, Nubbins' twin brother, a Vietnam vet known as Chop Top or Plate Head, a hitchhiking cowboy named Eddie/Tex, a hook-handed man named Tech/Tinker, a deranged pervert named Alfredo/Fred, a tow-truck driver named Vilmer and a redneck know-it-all named W.E. Apart from the brothers, the Sawyer clan includes the supercentenarian Grandpa, the dead Grandma/Great-Grandma Sawyer (whose corpse has been preserved), a wheelchair-bound mother called Mama and Leatherface's daughter (first names unknown).
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, a direct sequel to the 1974 film, featured a more campy and over-the-top atmosphere than the original. Tobe Hooper stated on The Shocking Truth that he wanted to expand on the dark comedy in the original film, as he felt no one truly picked up on this element. In this film, the Hitchhiker is replaced by his hippy twin brother Chop Top (who transforms his dead twin's corpse into a puppet), the cook, Drayton, has become an award-winning chef. Leatherface develops a "crush" on one of his victims, and in one scene, removes the skin from the face of her still-living friend 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. Leatherface's clan's last name is also revealed in the film when brother Drayton wins a local cook-off, their family name being Sawyer.
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, became the second sequel in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre film series. The film was made as a reboot and a sequel, so the audience could interpret it as a direct sequel or as an alternative sequel in a different continuity of the previous two films, though several references are made to the previous two films, including Leatherface having a knee brace from his chainsaw accident at the climax of the first film, brother Alfredo owning a gas station and truck labeled "Last Chance Gas", the family's last name remaining Sawyer from the previous film and the inclusion of several characters from both earlier films. The filmmakers attempted to make the series darker and grittier (much as the film-makers of the original had intended), but they had to tone it down and change the ending after interventions from the MPAA. New Line released an uncut version to the home-video market in 2003. In this film Leatherface has an extended family and a daughter - possibly the product of a rape. A four-issue comic series based on the film, entitled Leatherface, was created; notably, portions of the comics are narrated by and shown from Leatherface's point of view. Note that horror actor Kane Hodder choreographed the stunts and played the stunt-double Leatherface in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3.Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation apparently takes place in its own continuity; its prologue describes the second and third films as "two minor, yet apparently related incidents". The film features Leatherface as a yelping, pizza-eating transvestite involved in an Illuminati conspiracy to provide society a source of horror, and, again, with a different family.
Leatherface returned in the direct sequel to the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Texas Chainsaw, which also serves as a reboot to the franchise. However, Leatherface is the true main protagonist, the main antagonist being Burt Hartman.
The film begins directly after the events of the 1974 film, in which a mob led by Burt Hartman burns the family's house to the ground, and Leatherface becomes the sole survivor of his family except for his baby cousin Edith, also known as Heather, whom a member of the angry mob rescues and smuggles away. Many years later, when Heather returns to the local area with her friends, Leatherface lives in the basement of a mansion belonging to their recently deceased grandmother, who has been caring for him for the past 20-odd years.
Due to her passing away, Heather - as the only identified living blood relative - inherits the mansion. Leatherface kills off Heather's friends one by one, not realizing that Heather is related to him and nearly kills Heather before she escapes. After traveling to the local police station, Heather discovers her ancestry and the fact that Leatherface is her cousin.
Upon discovering he is still alive, Burt Hartman, now town mayor, sets out to kill Leatherface once and for all, and since Heather is a member of the same family (the "Sawyers"), he develops a vendetta against her as well. Leatherface once again attempts to kill Heather before recognizing her birthmark, and realizing his kinship to her. Burt attacks Leatherface; Leatherface ultimately kills Hartman by pushing him down into a meat grinder. Later on, Heather finally reads a letter given to her by her now deceased grandmother, revealing that she simply wanted Heather to take care of Leatherface. His name is revealed to be Jedidiah Sawyer, known as "Jed" for short.
In a post-credits scene, Heather's adoptive parents arrive at the mansion, greedily discussing how they plan to split the assets Heather now owns. Leatherface then shocks them as he answers the door, chainsaw in hand.
Leatherface will appear in the movie of 2017 that serves as the prequel of the original Texas Chainsaw movie.
Main Article: Leatherface (remake)
In the original film, Leatherface wore three different masks: the "Killing Mask", "Old Lady Mask" and "Pretty Woman Mask". Gunnar Hansen commented: "The reason he wore a mask, according to Tobe and Kim, was that the mask really determined his personality. Who he wanted to be that day determined what mask he put on. So when Drayton comes home with Sally, Leatherface is wearing the 'Old Lady Mask' and he's wearing an apron and carrying a wooden spoon, he wants to be domestic, helpful in the kitchen. At dinner he wears a different face, the 'Pretty Woman,' which has makeup." Also of note, the 'Pretty Woman' outfit consists of a female wig and a black suit, as Leatherface is "dressing up" for dinner, an old deep south tradition which stems from his southern upbringing, and the 'Killing Mask' is the skin mask he wears while chasing and murdering captives. Tobe Hooper also discussed the multiple masks and dinner scene on the audio commentary for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Hansen later added, "The idea of the mask is that there is no personality under the mask. That was the idea in talking with Tobe and Kim. When they created the character, they said he has to put on masks to express himself because he himself can't do it. The way we tried to create him, there is nothing under the mask, which is what makes him so frightening."
The Original film
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Leatherface's cannibalistic family consists of his older brothers Nubbins Sawyer, Chop Top Sawyer, and his father Drayton Sawyer. He also has an unnamed grandfather, who is extremely old and frail. Leatherface's real name is Jedidiah "Jed" Sawyer.
When Sally, Franklin, Jerry, Pam, and Kirk reached their homestead, Kirk and Pam looked for the local swimming hole and stumbled upon the cannibals' house—hoping they could get some gasoline for their van—where Leatherface killed Kirk with a sledgehammer and hung Pam on a meat hook before throwing her into a freezer where she froze to death. When Jerry came looking for them, he was killed by Leatherface with a sledgehammer. He then killed Franklin in the woods with his chainsaw, and chased Sally, where Drayton took her to his house to cook her and eat her. When Grandpa failed to kill Sally with the hammer, she ran, but Nubbins the hitchhiker and Leatherface chased after her. Nubbins was much faster then Leatherface and caught up to Sally. Before he could kill her, he was run over by an 18-wheeler and had been too focued on Sally to notice. With Nubbins dead, only Leatherface was left and managed to catch up to Sally. Sally went in the truck and with the driver and he attacked with his chainsaw. The two got out and ran and Leatherface chased after them. Seeing that they weren't losing him, the driver with a wrench, knocking him down and causing him to cut his leg on his chainsaw. Sally managed to take advantage of this distraction and escape on a passing pickup truck while the driver ran away in fear. He was last seen swinging his chainsaw around in frustration due to his victim escapeing, his wounds and his Nubbins dead.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Part 2
After fourteen years, Leatherface reemerged, killing two drunks named Buzz and Rick. Sally and Franklin's uncle Lefty Enright was searching for the cannibals to get his revenge. When he got Stretch to play the deaths on the radio, Leatherface and Chop Top went over to the station to kill her. However, Leatherface fell in love with her. He refused to kill her when Drayton and Chop Top found her, however he did not attempt to stop Grandpa from killing her because was forced to hold her in place. But Grandpa was too old and frail, so Drayton tried to kill her himself, but Lefty entered, armed with three chainsaws. After injuring Drayton, Lefty engaged Leatherface in a chainsaw duel, where Leatherface was impaled by Lefty with his chainsaw. He was still able to fight, but the fight was ended shortly after; Drayton, deranged and having lost a lot of blood, set off a grenade. Leatherface was last seen getting hit by Grandpa with a hammer (he was really aiming for Lefty), knocking him down, before all four of them were killed in the grenade explosion, which narrowly missed Chop Top as he climbed a ladder after Stretch and eventually falls to his death.
This is the only timeline where Leatherface ever dies; he survives in all others.
This was the end of the original franchise, followed by remakes and prequels later on in the years.
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III
- Main article: Leatherface (second timeline)
This movie takes place in its own timeline, though it could be considered an alternate continuation from the first movie, in which Stretch is a news reporter and Leatherface is wearing a leg brace from when he was cut on his chainsaw. Drayton is renamed W.E. Sawyer and was executed in the gas chambers. Leatherface has a different mask and a different family, consisting of his mother Mama Sawyer and his brothers Tex Sawyer, Alfredo Sawyer , and Tinker Sawyer. All are killed except Little Girl Sawyer and Leatherface , who is beaten with a rock by Michelle, but survives, as he is revving up his chainsaw. In an alternate ending, he drowns after he is hit with a rock.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
- Main article: Leatherface (third timeline)
This being one of the worst movies of all time, it's set in its own timeline and is not connected with any of the other films. Leatherface have another brothers named Vilmer Slaughter and W.E. Slaughter(not the one from TCM lll) and a sister-in-law named Darla Slaughter. He is also not a cannibal, but involved in an Illuminati conspiracy to spread fear, and eats pizza. He is also a crossdresser and is called "Leather" instead of "Leatherface". W.E. is killed by Vilmer, who is then assassinated by the Illuminati, causing Leatherface to run around in terror at the conclusion of the film.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Kirk: Bludgeoned with sledgehammer and hacked with chainsaw.
- Pam: Impaled on meat hook and frozen to death in a freezer.
- Jerry: Bludgeoned with sledgehammer.
- Franklin Hardesty: Hacked 5 times with chainsaw.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
- Buzz: Decapitated with chainsaw.
- Rick: Mangled in car crash.
- L.G. McPeters: Bludgeoned with hammer and skinned alive.
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3
- Gina: Bludgeoned with sledgehammer.
- Sara: Mutilated with chainsaw.
- Benny: Back slashed with chainsaw/knocked into a river and drowns to death.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
- Barry: Bludgeoned with sledgehammer.
- Heather: Back burned and impaled on a meat hook. Neck stomped on.
- Darryl: Bludgeoned with hammer
- Kenny: Impaled on meat hook and sliced in half with chainsaw.
- Ryan: Killed in staged van crash.
- Officer Marvin: Hacked 5 times with a hatchet and face flayed with knife.
- Burt Hartman: Knocked into a meat grinder by having his hands and feet hacked off with chainsaw.
In other media
Leatherface appeared in the Robot Chicken episode That Hurts Me where he is on the Big Brother show with Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Ghostface, and Pinhead. He wins the challenge when he retrieves a kitten from a block of ice. He also plays charades with Jason and Michael (none of the three can talk).
Leatherface also appeared in the fan video The Nightmare Ends on Halloween, sent by Pinhead to kill Freddy. His back is hunched.
A spoof of him appeared in the spoof movie Stan Helsing. Going by the name Pleatherface. He also talks at one point. His chainsaw is plugged in; thus, he is defeated when his chainsaw is unplugged, and runs off.
He, along with Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, appeared as the co-icons of Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood during 2007. All three of the mentioned characters were minions of Jack the Clown.
Ilgishin, a villain from GARO: Makai no Hana, is depicted to be "part Leatherface" due to its host, Harima, has passion on horror films. The proof of this was in his true form, Ilgishin has Leatherface's chainsaw on his left hand, though it was attached in the same way Ash Williams from Evil Dead series would attach his own signature chainsaw.
Mortal Kombat X
Leatherface is featured as a guest character in the 2015 fighting game Mortal Kombat X. He is available in three different variations; a 'Killer' outfit based off his standard appearance in the original 1974 film, a 'Pretty Lady' outfit based off his appearance at the end of the original film and a 'Butcher' outfit which is similar to his appearance in the 2003 remake. Each variation comes with different abilities and fighting styles. He is able to use both his chainsaw and his hammer as weapons.
"Leatherface had cut down the old man in the strange outfit. Maybe now that he was dead, the pretty yellow haired chewing girl would notice Leatherface. Putting on his fanciest "mask," Leatherface found the army camp where the pretty girl could be found most days. He had to cut through a few guards and more than a few of her friends to get to her, but it was worth it. He pulled out the old man's face, which he'd saved for the girl as a present. The girl didn't want the present. And she wasn't being nice. So Leatherface chopped her into tiny pieces for Drayton to use in his chili. He then took off his mask and set to work on the girl's face. If she wasn't going to be his girlfriend, she could be his in other ways."
- While the second and third movie are considered different canons, it was at one point explained that the limp in his leg in the third movie was a result of the grenade explosion in the second. This is unlikely and it is commonly accepted that his leg injury was from a chainsaw wound in the original.
- Despite being the face of the franchise, he is rarely the primary antagonist of the movies.
- Leatherface is the main antagonist in Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
- The anti-hero/tertiary antagonist in Texas Chainsaw Massacre ll.
- The secondary antagonist in Texas Chainsaw Massacre lll.
- The secondary antagonist in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.
- The main antagonist turned protagonist villain in Texas Chainsaw.
- The second Leatherface (Bubba Sawyer) and Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw (Jed Sawyer) are the most benevolent versions of Leatherface.
- Bubba didn't kill Stretch when Chop Top and Drayton asked him to do it.
- Jed saved Heather from Burt Hurtman.
- The third Leatherface (Junior Sawyer) and the fourth Leatherface (Leather Slaughter) are the most malevolent versions of Leatherface.
- Junior is considered a rapist, is not know if Little Girl Sawyer is the child of Mama Sawyer or a unknown women.
- Leather was always trying to kill Jenny without mercy and actually helped Vilmer into chasing Jenny.
- Bubba and Junior (alternative ending) are the only Leatherfaces that died.
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