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The individual works need to be broken out into their own pages, with a franchise page organizing them.
Seminal slasher film by Tobe Hooper, based on the "true" story about a group of teenagers traveling through rural Texas, who happen upon a secluded old house inhabited by the world's most horrifying family -- in particular a disturbed young man with an interest in leather masks and amateur butchery.
Hooper initially took his inspiration from the real-life serial killer Ed Gein (who was also the inspiration for Psycho's Norman Bates, and later for The Silence of the Lambs' Buffalo Bill) and based the character Leatherface on him. It was produced on a budget of $140,000, and Hooper cast mainly unknown actors from the local Texan population. When it was completed, Hooper struggled to find a distributor, due to the graphic depictions of violence (although the film is not nearly as bloody as its reputation suggests.) The movie was ultimately rated R, instead of the PG rating Hooper had intended.
Followed by three sequels and a remake, which had a prequel. A seventh movie is currently in production.
The chainsaw as a murder weapon was iconic enough to be part of the Hockey Mask and Chainsaw trope.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
- Action Girl: A rarity among slasher movies, the Final Girl in these stories often fights back, sometimes using a chainsaw herself.
- Asshole Victim: The obnoxious drunk idiots at the beginning of TCM 2, Barry in The Next Generation, and the meat plant owner and female biker in The Beginning.
- Not to mention the obnoxious wheelchair bound guy in the first movie.
- Ax Crazy: Leatherface and the rest of his family.
- Badass: Benny (and later Michelle) in TCM III, Agent Baines in the Wildstorm comics.
- Lieutenant "Lefty" Enright from TCM II. After thirteen years of searching for for his niece and nephew's killers, he finally confronts them in an epic chainsaw fight to the death.
- Barrier-Busting Blow
- Berserk Button: In the remake series calling Leatherface a "freak" or "animal" is guaranteed to enrage him.
- Tex of TCM III hates being called by his real name - Eddie.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Lets count Leatherface's relatives, shall we?
- Drayton, Nubbins, Grandpa and Grandma
- TCM III
- Eddie, Alfredo, Tech, 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
- Amelia, Emery and Velma.
- Bloodless Carnage: The original (for the most part), with The Next Generation being a near example.
- The Cameo:
- Joe Bob Briggs had a deleted appearance in TCM 2 as a victim.
- Kim Burns, who played the main character in TCM 2, appears briefly as a reporter in TCM III.
- Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain and John Dugan (Sally, Franklin and Grandpa from the first film) all appear briefly at the end of The Next Generation.
- Harry Jay Knowles shows up as a severed head in the Hewitts' basement in the remake.
- Broken Heel: Various instances. Notably, at one point in the remake, it's Leatherface who trips during the chase.
- Cannibal Clan
- Chainsaw Good: Oh, hell yeah.
- Car Fu: Nubbins gets crushed by a truck in the original, Vilmer repeatedly runs Sean over in The Next Generation with his tow truck, and Leatherface gets (non-fatally) hit with a van in the Wildstorm comics.
- Erin runs over Sheriff Hoyt repeatedly in the remake.
- Deep South: In the form of The Savage South.
- Dirty Old Man: Monty in the remake series.
- Retcon: Sort of. The third movie seems to disregard the events of the second one entirely. The fourth movie acknowledges the existence of the second and third (as "minor incidents") the plot (as it is) seems to concentrate on following the first.
- 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.
- Trope Maker: Okay, let's see: The ominous gas station, clueless teens on a roadtrip, the Cannibal Clan, the victim impaled with a hanging meathook, the victim chased through the woods at night, the victim "invited" to a dinner of human remains, and of course, chainsaws as weapons, this movie is practically the guidebook for modern slasher movies.
- The Unintelligible: Leatherface.
- The Voiceless: Leatherface - the only times you hear him it's when he screams or grunts.
- Weapon of Choice: Obvious.
Original 1974 film
- 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.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Purposefully invoked by Tobe Hooper in the first movie for when Pam is hung on the meathook. He was seeking to cut down violent content to try to get a better rating, so he opted not to show the impalement. Instead, he established her wearing a shirt with no back, emphasized the hook and showed splatters of blood in the room. As he said, "The mind fills in the gaps for you." Other scenes in the film, such as Franklin's murder, make use of this as well.
- No Name Given: No members of the cannibalistic family are named, Leatherface only identified as such in the end credits.
- Slasher Smile: The original Leatherface pulled this one. It's little hard to see thanks to the mask but if you look closely when he licks his teeth, you can see that he smirks while doing it.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: This story is actually an amalgamation of three different elements. The famed necrophile/not-quite-Serial Killer Ed Gein, the legendary Scottish cannibal Sawney Bean and his clan (who probably never really existed) and Tobe Hooper's fantasies of mowing down shoppers at K-Mart with a chainsaw while he was trapped in the hardware department by the crush of the holiday crowds.
- Circus of Fear: Texas Battle Land.
- Dead Guy Puppet: The hitchhiker from the first has become a dried-up husk of a corpse named Nubbins. At first, Leatherface wears Nubbins like a costume. And then later, Chop Top uses Nubbins as a puppet.
- Denser and Wackier: Compared to the first movie, this one had a much more comedic script.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Leatherface licking his lips and making pelvic thrusts with his chainsaw in the general vicinity of Vanita's crotch.
- Happy Ending Override: Well, not that the end of the first was very happy, but it did at least end with Sally managing to escape. The opening Scrolling Text of this movie claims the police found her delirious and after relating a mad account of what happened, collapsed into a catatonic state.
- Ambiguously Gay: According to Viggo Mortensen, this is how he played Tex.
- Child by Rape: One member of the insane family is Babi, an adorable little girl whose relation to Leatherface is not revealed in the film, but is stated in supplemental material to be his daughter via one of his victims. Possibly the darkest revelation in the series.
- Guns Are Useless: Ahem, subverted! This is one of the few slasher movies where the hero figures out he can just run in packing heat and blow the crap out of the bad guys, and actually succeeds! Leatherface survives of course, but there are two survivors among the good guys this time.
- Legacy Character: This is a different Leatherface than the first one.
- No Name Given: While most of the villains are indeed named, they all refer to Leatherface as "Junior".
- Of Corpse He's Alive: Grandpa seems to no longer be a half-living corpse here, but an actual corpse that the family treats like a living family member.
- Swamps Are Evil: Alfredo's is to dump bodies in the swamp.
The Next Generation
- Artificial Limbs: Vilmer's weird leg contraption in The Next Generation.
- Cameo: The last scene in the hospital shows several patients wheeled in on stretchers, all of whom are cast members of the first movie.
- Government Conspiracy: Yeah, one of the weirder parts of the movie.
- Legacy Character: Given what is said about continuity (loose as it may be) this is the third Leatherface.
- Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Even though it is regarded by the director (Kim Henkel, co-creator of the original TCM) as the "real" sequel to the first one (in the form of a semi-remake), many elements of this film make no sense whatsoever. Among them are the facts that Leatherface is now apparently a transvestite, whose brother is a trucker with a self-made cybernetic leg, and the whole family belongs to the secret society known as the Illuminati (which, according to the film, planned JFK's assassination), which is run by the government, whose leader is shown to be somewhat alien in nature.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The grandfather in The Next Generation.
- Sissy Villain: Leatherface, believe it or not. He actually dresses in drag - with lipstick - in one scene.
- Actor Allusion: Sheriff Hoyt (portrayed by R. Lee Ermey) at one point calls Morgan "maggot".
- Gilligan Cut: Remake:
Pepper: "Well, I'll tell you this much. There is no possible way I'm ever getting back in that van."
TCSM: The Beginning
- An Arm and a Leg: When Monty's leg has to be amputated, Hoyt orders Leatherface to cut off both of his legs.
Luda Mae: "What on earth didya do that for?"
- The Bad Guy Wins: No survivors among the good guys here, even the Final Girl dies. Strangely, however, Leatherface doesn't seem very happy at the end after killing her, sadly trudging down the highway dragging his chainsaw behind him.
- Biker Babe: Alex.
Avatar Press comics
- 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.
- Backup Twin: Chop Top of TCM 2 is apparently the twin brother of Nubbins from the original. Hank from the Wildstorm comics was confirmed (via Word of God) to be Sheriff Hoyt's twin brother.
- Body Horror: In the second film, a character's face is cut off with an electric carving knife. WHILE HE'S STILL ALIVE! And he stays that way for several minutes.
- In the same film, Chop Top has an exposed metal plate, which he constantly picks at with a heated coat hanger, eating whatever skin gets caught on it.
- Rothman's abdominal mutilations in The Next Generation.
- Bound and Gagged: Nearly every Final Girl at some point.
- Broad Strokes: The loose connections between the sequels.
- California Doubling: The third film actually was filmed in California.
- Cat Scare: A possum in the remake.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The grandfather in The Next Generation. He appears in a few scenes, and during the dinner sequences he gets up, walks away from the table and out the front door, never to be seen or referenced to again.
- In the remake, Monty had a small dog that, after his introduction, never appears again, in either the films or comics.
- 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.
- Creepy Child: Little Girl from TCM III, and Jedidiah in the remake.
- Curiosity Killed the Cast: Played as straight as possible in the first film.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: End of The Beginning.
- A Day in the Limelight: Sheriff Hoyt from the remake series had his own one-shot comic - Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Hoyt, By Himself.
- Determinator: Even after getting one of his arms cut off in the remake Leatherface still tries to kill Erin.
- Leatherface continues fighting Lefty in the first sequel, even after he is impaled by a running chainsaw.
- Developing Doomed Characters
- The Ditz: Heather in The Next Generation.
- Domestic Abuser: Jenny's asshole stepfather in The Next Generation, plus Vilmer had habit of smacking Darla around in the same film (though she's perfectly capable of hitting back).
- 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).
- Driven to Suicide: The hitchhiker in the remake.
- Drop the Hammer: Leatherface arguably uses a sledgehammer as much as a chainsaw.
- Chop Top also brains somebody with a regular hammer several times.
- Dual-Wielding: Lefty combats Leatherface with a chainsaw in each hand at the climax of the second film.
- 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
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": A character in fourth film with whom the protagonists are involved in a car crash is credited as "I'm Not Hurt".
- Evil Albino: Possibly Chop Top from TCM 2.
- Evil Chef: Drayton Sawyer, and "The Cook" in the comic Cut!
- Evil Cripple: Mama in TCM III, and Monty in the remake series.
- Evil Laugh: An entire sequence in the original film just has the family laughing maniacally at the bound Sally's expense.
- 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.
- Fan Service: 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.
- Fingore: In the third film Tech has several of his fingers shot off by a burst of machine gun fire.
- The fingernail ripping scene from the remake.
- The finger slicing scene in the original.
- Which was actually done for real, after the blood pumping machine broke.
- Flaying Alive: L.G. in TCM 2, and Dean's arm in The Beginning.
- Focus Group Ending: In the third film, Benny improbably survives having his head shoved into Leatherface's chainsaw thanks to this.
- Gainax Ending: It says a lot about the ending of Return/The Next Generation that a plane suddenly flying down, killing Vilmer with its propeller and then vanishing again is one of the least objectionable things that happens.
- Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Hoyt breaking a bottle into Morgan's face in the remake.
- Groin Attack: In the remake Morgan is killed when Leatherface hangs him from a chandelier and saws him in half from the crotch upward.
- When Leatherface takes a swing at her in the meat locker later on, Erin manages to kick him in the balls.
- Half the Man He Used To Be: Several people are sliced in half throughout the series, notable the aforementioned Morgan.
- Harbinger of Impending Doom: The rambling traumatized hitchhiker in the remake, who commits suicide shortly after being found by the protagonists.
- Hook Hand: Tech in TCM III. Leatherface gets one in comics set after the remake.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The Next Generation is on prom night.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Missing a leg and left hanging on a meat hook, Andy has Erin mercy kill him in the remake.
- 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.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: The comic Jason vs. Leatherface.
- 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.
- Laughing Mad: Sally at the end of the first film, and possibly Stretch at the end of TCM 2.
- Made of Plasticine
- Malevolent Masked Men
- Mama Bear: Luda Mae Hewitt.
- Man On Fire: Tex in TCM III, Heather in The Next Generation.
- Meaningful Echo: When Erin is picked by the trucker near the end of the remake, she repeats nearly everything babbled by the deranged girl she and her friends had picked up earlier in the film.
- Motor Mouth: Alfredo from TCM III.
- 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.
- Neck Snap: Done by Vilmer in The Next Generation. The Wildstorm comics had Luda Mae kill a girl this way.
- New Age Retro Hippie: Chop Top in TCM 2, and Tech in the Leatherface comics.
- Nothing Is Scarier
- Not So Harmless: The minor relatives from the remake series are given more to do (rape, torture, kill, etc.) in the comics.
- Novelization: The remake had one and one (by the same author) was planned for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning but nothing came of it.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Whatever is controlling the family in The Next Generation.
- Off with His Head: Surprisingly averted, though a severed and preserved head does show up in the remake.
- Peek-a-Boo Corpse
- Police Are Useless: Especially in the Bud's Pizza scene in The Next Generation.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Leatherface, and some of his relatives.
- The Quisling: In the remake series the family abduct young children and raise them as their own.
- Redemption Equals Death: In the remake family member Jedidiah was originally supposed to be killed by Leatherface for helping Erin and Morgan escape, but the scene was scrapped for being "too intense".
- Revenge of the Sequel: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (though its known as Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation in the United States).
- Sanity Slippage: Happened for real while filming the infamous dinner scene. The food rotted under the filming lights, and created a horrific smell that actually drove the actors a bit nuts; the DVD commentary has Gunnar Hansen eerily recounting how he genuinely wanted to kill Marilyn Burns for a few seconds after being ordered to by his "brother." Vietnam veteran Edwin Neal even describes it as worse than anything he went through during the war.
- The Savage South: When everyone but the "outsider" is OK with the events in this film, we have a problem.
- Squashed Flat: Nubbins at the end of the original.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: The second film and (maybe... possibly) the fourth are comedy horror.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Vilmer in The Next Generation. He chews the scenery and gets almost all the kills (Leatherface is only responsible for one).
- Start of Darkness: The Beginning, and going even further back, the comics About a Boy and Hoyt, By Himself.
- The Stoner: Morgan in the remake, Karla in the Wildstorm comics. Sean from The Next Generation was apparently supposed to be this, but his screentime is so minimal it's hard to really tell.
- Subliminal Advertising: A persistent urban legend is that the first movie's popularity was due to including subliminal messages telling viewers they loved the film.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Sally Hardesty is mentioned as having died in the intro of the third film.
- Super Window Jump: In the original and The Next Generation.
- Tear Off Your Face: In the second movie, a character gets his face cut off with an electric carving knife.
- Torture Cellar
- 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.
- Unexplained Recovery: Leatherface, if TCM III actually does follow TCM 2.
- Villainous Crossdresser: Leatherface in The Next Generation, and briefly in the original film.
- Villainous Incest: Implied in Jason vs. Leatherface, outright stated in Raising Cain, another comic.
- Wicked Cultured: W.E. in The Next Generation.