The 2nd worst thing in Texas other than Bush.
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 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 (real first names unknown).
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.
A remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre appeared in 2003. Its success greenlit a prequel, released in 2006, which delved into the origins of Leatherface and of his sadistic and cannibalistic family. In this continuity, Leatherface has the name Thomas Brown Hewitt; his mother Sloane (last name and the identity and status of his father unknown) dies giving birth to him on August 7, 1939 at the Blair meat co. (a Slaughterhouse) where she works, and her uncaring and cruel unnamed boss leaves the infant to die in a dumpster. Luda May Hewitt finds him and takes him home to raise him. Says producer Brad Fuller, "The Hewitts raise Leatherface as their own. But in a lot of ways, Thomas Hewitt is more like a pet than a member of the family. At the same time, they do love and admire one another, albeit in peculiar and unusual ways."
The hewitts used to work at the Blair meat co. but after they were fired and became poor they switched to kidnapping people, murdering them, and selling their flesh in meat at Luda mays butcher shop. In the prequel it is revealed that they eat some of the meat thimselves which was only implied in the remake.
Leatherface in this continuity suffers from a facial disfigurement and a skin disease that eats away most of his nose. Due to this disfigurement, his muteness and mental retardation (carried over from the first series), Hewitt is bullied as a child. He wears a small leather mask to cover up his deformity, and works at the same meat factory where he was born for the same boss his mother had, ironically the same man who left him for dead. He also has a tendency toward self-mutilation, and is diagnosed with mental degeneration at age 12.
After health inspectors close the factory down, Hewitt's boss and a reluctant co-worker order him to leave. When Hewitt doesn't, the boss and the co-worker bully him and call him a "retard" and a "dumb animal". Acting on a long-burning rage, Hewitt kills his boss with a sledgehammer, and discovers a chainsaw in the factory which he later uses as a weapon. When Winston Hoyt, the local sheriff, tries to apprehend him, Thomas' uncle Charles "Charlie" Hewitt Jr comes to his aid by killing the sheriff; Charlie later assumes the sheriff's identity.
Hewitt later makes a mask out of human skin by slicing off the face of one the victims he has killed.
Although Leatherface's family still manipulate him in this interpretation, they do show themselves somewhat more caring for him and less abusive than in the original film. Before killing the sheriff, his uncle Charlie even defends him by saying, "He's not retarded, he's misunderstood". The cruelty suffered from his peers inspires his murderous behavior.
At the climax of the remake, protagonist Erin Hardesty cuts off Leatherface's chainsaw-arm with a meat cleaver, but he survives the attack. He escapes after police discover his ranch house and find the remains of 33 people. The police fail to secure the crime scene properly, allowing Leatherface to attack and kill two officers. Leatherface then escapes and disappears, forcing the case to remain open.Andrew Bryniarski
, who played Leatherface in the remake, states: "In my estimation, Leatherface is like a beaten dog - he wasostracized
and ridiculed, and treated harshly by his peers. The psychological damage they inflicted was immense … there's no chance for him."
, who played Leatherface's uncleOld Monty
, "I think there was a chance Thomas' life could have been different. But the teasing he suffered, coupled with a bad temper, and following Hoyt around like a puppy dog, left room for Hoyt to get absolute control."