Franchise: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Reportedly, he makes great head cheese.The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
is a series of horror films which depict people meeting their ends at the hands of an Ax-Crazy
family in Texas, with the chainsaw-toting man known as Leatherface being the prominent deathdealer.
The films produced to date:
There are also a lot of comic spin-offs, which include:
The chainsaw as a murder weapon was iconic enough to become part of the Hockey Mask and Chainsaw
trope in the popular culture.
This franchise provides examples of:
- Ax-Crazy: Leatherface and the rest of his family.
- Barrier-Busting Blow
- Big Bad: Leatherface is considered this, since even though he's technically The Dragon and takes orders from the more senior members of his family, he's by far the most dangerous member. The official Big Bads differ in continuity:
- Drayton seems to fit the bill in the first two movies.
- Vilmer in The Next Generation.
- In the remake, there's Luda Mae Hewitt, the Evil Matriarch of the family. Her sons Charlie Hewitt Jr./Sheriff Hoyt and Thomas Brown Hewitt/Leatherface answer to her.
- Texas Chainsaw 3D has an Ensemble of Leatherface and Mayor Burt Hartman.
- Bigger Bad: Leatherface's grandfather in the first film is called by the family "the ultimate killer", although because he is aged beyond normal human standards, he remains The Unfought.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Lets count Leatherface's relatives, shall we?
- Drayton, Nubbins, Grandpa and Grandma
- TCM III
- Eddie, Alfredo, Tex, Mama and Little Girl
- Return/The Next Generation
- Vilmer, Darla, W.E. and Grandfather
- Luda Mae, Monty, Jedidiah, Henrietta, the Tea Lady and Charlie, Jr. (better known as Sheriff Winston Hoyt)
- Wildstorm Comics
- Ezekiel, Shiloh, Hank, Adam, Cain, Abel, Connie Jean, Cal, Earl, Cain, Jr., Abel, Jr., Lyle, Clem, two unnamed brothers in Cut! and several other unnamed relatives in Raising Cain.
- Jason vs. Leatherface
- Bound and Gagged: Nearly every Final Girl at some point.
- Broad Strokes: The loose connections between the sequels.
- Cannibal Clan
- Cannibal Larder: Probably the Trope Codifier.
- Chainsaw Good: Oh, hell yeah.
- Cool Mask: More "fear inspiring mask of madness" than cool.
- Corrupt Hick: Leatherface and his family. They are a Big Screwed-Up Family who are inbred, murdering, cannibals. At least one source implies that other people in the community know about the family's business, and will cover for them if an outsider tries to turn to them for help. Even though Texas is outside of Appalachia and the Ozarks, the community is supposed to be made up of hillbillies.
- Although it's probably less a matter of the locals wanting to cover up the depredations of the Hewitts because "they're one of us" or anything like that, and more a matter of grim survival. The locals turn a blind eye to the Hewitts slaughtering travelers and outsiders who won't be missed, and in return, they don't need to worry about their own loved ones (or themselves) being hacked up, brained, chainsawed or ground into chili.
- In 3-D, a semi-reboot, a variation is played where the family is killed by an angry vigilante mob and decades later, members of said mob- including the mayor, his cop son and others- are willing to murder anyone related to the now-Sawyer clan regardless of whether they had anything to do with the killings.
- Deadly Road Trip: The traveling teens.
- Deep South: In the form of The Savage South.
- Developing Doomed Characters
- Dragon-in-Chief/The Brute: Leatherface fulfills this role.
- Doomed by Canon: Any characters from the remake's prequel, and any from the comics set before the remake.
- Subverted in the comic The Grind. The main character escapes and survives, but is framed for the murders of her friends by the Hewitts, and is stuck in an insane asylum, where she spends her days freaking out and ranting about the inbred hicks who killed everyone.
- Dramatic Unmask: Averted in TCM III, and the remake (where the unmasking isn't dramatic, Leatherface just takes it off while making a new one).
- The End... Or Is It?: Every film (except TCM 2, probably) ends with Leatherface and a few relatives still alive. TCM III is the straightest example.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas
- Expanded Universe: Various comics have been released, the bulk of them taking place in the remake universe and filling in the gaps there.
- Fat and Skinny: Henrietta and the Tea Lady from the remake series.
- Fat Bastard: The Tea Lady.
- The Faceless: Leatherface only rarely appears without his mask, and even then his face is never given that much detail.
- Fan Disservice: And how. The remake and prequel protagonists are hot, half-dressed teenagers... that get cut up, hacked, and doused in blood. Then eaten.
- Fanservice: The sweaty Jessica Biel wears such snug tank tops and jeans, which get wet often.
- Darla flashing her breasts in The Next Generation.
- Final Girl: Sally Hardesty, Vanita "Stretch" Brock, Michelle, Jenny, Erin Hardesty and Chrissie.
- Follow the Leader: The first film is often viewed as being a "proto-slasher"
- Likewise the reboot is often credited as starting the recent trend of remaking classic horror films.
- Gorn: Averted in the original which is notable for it's utter lack of gore but still being a rich source of Nightmare Fuel and Daylight Horror.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Several people are sliced in half throughout the series, notably Morgan in the remake.
- Hippie Van: The first movie starts when a vanload of Hippies stop to pick up a hitchhiker.
- I'm a Humanitarian: It's implied very heavily that the family eat their victims.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice
- Impersonating an Officer: Sheriff Winston Hoyt was originally Charlie Hewitt, Jr. He killed the real sheriff and stole his identity and car.
- It Works Better with Bullets: There's a scene in the remake where the sadistic Sheriff Hoyt forces Morgan into sticking a gun in his mouth, under the pretense of reenacting a suicide committed earlier in the film; continually goading the obviously terrified Morgan (who doesn't know if the gun is loaded or not) into pulling the trigger Hoyt arrests him under the charge of attempted murder when Morgan tries to shoot him with the gun. Its implicated this was Hoyt's plan all along.
- Made of Plasticine
- Malevolent Masked Men
- Mama Bear: Luda Mae Hewitt.
- Meaningful Name: Leatherface's Cannibal Clan are known as the Sawyers in the original series and the Hewitts in the remake series. The former name basically means "those who saw things apart", while the latter is a portmanteau of "hew it", which means "cut it apart".
- Mummies at the Dinner Table: The family have habit of treating dead relatives as if they're still alive, going as far as turning Nubbins's corpse into a crude puppet in TCM 2.
- My Car Hates Me: Most of the time its due to them being trashed by the villains, not some malfunction.
- Nothing Is Scarier
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: The minor relatives from the remake series are given more to do (rape, torture, kill, etc.) in the comics.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: There's very little consistency in the sequel naming used by the franchise. The first sequel was just a Numbered Sequel, but the next movie went the Rambo direction by calling itself Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Part 4 then switched the numbers for subtitles. The remake series has too few entries to really say it's inconsistent, but 2013 saw the release of Texas Chainsaw 3D, which also ignores every film after the original.
- Off with His Head!: Surprisingly averted, though a severed and preserved head does show up in the remake.
- Peek-A-Boo Corpse
- Punch Clock Villain: Leatherface shows no sadism and kills only for food. Justified in that he is shown as mentally handicapped. His family though takes sadistic pleasure in tormenting and killing the victims. Especially Sheriff Hoyt in the remake series.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Leatherface, and some of his relatives.
- Recycled Premise: Aside from 2, all the films in the franchise recycle the plot of the first film.
- Red Right Hand: Nubbins's facial birthmark, Chop Top's similar birthmark and exposed metal plate, Tinker's Hook Hand, Mama's electronic voice box, Alfredo's speech impediment and heterochromia, and Vilmer's bionic leg.
- Reluctant Monster: Leatherface.
- The Quisling: In the remake series the family abduct young children and raise them as their own.
- The Savage South: Because the only locals who really get any characterization are all part of Leatherface's family, it gives an impression that everyone but the "outsider" is OK with the events in these films.
- In Texas Chainsaw 3D, though, it's established that the townsfolk murdered the Sawyer clan after their killing spree in the first film.
- The Unintelligible: Leatherface.
- The Voiceless: Leatherface - the only times you hear him it's when he screams or grunts.
- Weapon of Choice: Obvious.
The rest of the franchise provides examples of:
- Attempted Rape: The Avatar Press comics apparently liked this trope. In Special a serial rapist tries to have his way with the main character, but is killed mid-attempt when Leatherface impales him through the back with his chainsaw. In The Grind, the main character is tied to a bed so Monty can have his way with her, but she gets an arm loose, punches him unconscious, and escapes.
- Death by Falling Over: One character in Fearbook meets her demise when she trips over a piglet, falls through a second story railing and hits her head on the ground, breaking her neck.
- Inevitable Waterfall: Last victim in Special escapes from the lunatic Hewitts and ends up floating down a river on a tree trunk. As she promises to herself to clean up her act, she suddenly starts screaming when she comes across a waterfall. But it's not the small drop that terrifies her, it's the chainsaw-toting Leatherface, who is waiting for her at the end of it.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer
- Backup Twin: Hank has been confirmed (via Word of God) to be Sheriff Hoyt's twin brother.
- Badass: Agent Baines in the Wildstorm comics.
- A Day in the Limelight: Sheriff Hoyt from the remake series had his own one-shot comic - Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Hoyt, By Himself.
- Evil Chef: Drayton Sawyer, and "The Cook" in the comic Cut!
- Neck Snap: Luda Mae kills a girl this way.
- The Stoner: Karla in the Wildstorm comics.
- Town with a Dark Secret: The Wildstorm comics which act as a sequel to the remake reveal that the townspeople are fully aware of Leatherface and his family's murderous and cannibalistic tendencies, but don't do anything for fear of retribution.
- Villainous Incest: In Raising Cain, the evil twin married his sister, and had a pair of twins of his own with her.