At this point you may have forgotten that there was a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” prequel that is not just in the works, but actually completed. I don’t blame you, it’s been a long time since Lionsgate has made any mention of it and it might be still some time before we ever see it. However, one of the writers behind the prequel has come out to offer up a few details about the film.
This past weekend Bloody Disgusting started a Twitter campaign to encourage Lionsgate to release the long imprisoned prequel “Leatherface.” Because, as you know, people are really chomping at the bit for another Leatherface film after “Texas Chainsaw 3D.” As part of their campaign the site spoke with writer Seth Sherwood to shed some light on the film.
During their talk Sherwood opened up about how “Leatherface” would fit into the grand design of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” universe.
When I was writing Leatherface, I tried really hard to make it feel like part of the franchise on the whole— which is actually not easy when you consider continuity was pretty loose between the original trilogy and two remakes that followed it. Chainsaw films aren’t exactly a perfectly shared universe, but at the same time, they are all undeniably Chainsaw at their heart. To tap into that I tried to pay subtle homage to all the films in some way; I wanted to tap into some of the key ideas and tropes so that it would feel familiar, but at the same time, go in a different direction.
Sherwood goes on to explain how the prequel will share connections with the other films in the series. There are some minor spoilers to be had here, so if you want to remain pure you may want to skip a few parts.
Tying to the original was the easiest— in terms of continuity I needed to dovetail my story in that general direction. My take on Leatherface was inspired directly by how Tobe and Gunnar described his mindset (or lack thereof). The Sawyer Farm is a key location. These connections were more literal.
From Chainsaw 2 I borrowed a few things. Obviously, the character names. Drayton, Nubbins, the Sawyer surname— were all discovered in the sequel. Mainly though, the idea of a corrupt, mentally unstable Texas Ranger on a vendetta against the Sawyers gave birth to Hartman, the real villain of my story. Like Lefty, he’s out for revenge against the Sawyers over something they did to his family. The character Clarice started as a pretty clear Chop Top homage, though along the way we decided to develop her into being more original. That said, when you see her, you can see a little of that DNA in there.
The original Leatherface, Chainsaw 3, took the idea of the backwoods isolation of the original and exploded it tenfold. I always think of the locations of this film— the scrub brush filled badlands and remote roadside outposts as feeling like another world— a dark fairy tale land in some way. To be reminded, no, we’re just lost in Texas, is awesome. I filled my story with similar locations to hopefully capture a similar vibe.
He even revealed that the film would somehow connect to the aforementioned “Texas Chainsaw 3D”:
While I didn’t find any thematic inspiration from 3D, this is from the same team, so we decided early on that we needed some ties. Those come mainly from using names to establish a little continuity. The corrupt Mayor in 3D is the son of Stephen Dorff’s character. The cameo by Marilyn Burns as Sawyer matriarch Verna is the character played now by Lili Taylor.
The part that I struggle with, though, is that the new “Leatherface” film is going to explore the history of Leatherface and show us how he became the monster that he is. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of films that attempted to pull back the curtain and show us just how the boogeyman came to be. I didn’t like it when Rob Zombie did it with Michael Myers and I’m not looking forward to this attempt either. I fully admit that this is a personal preference, but explaining the motivations of a monster doesn’t make that monster more intriguing to me. I don’t need to know why the shark in “Jaws” eats people, I just need to know he does. But that’s just me. Anyways, here’s what Seth has to say about exploring the Leatherface’s past.
Leatherface is very much about identity. Gunnar Hansen said that Leatherface was devoid of identity beyond doing what his family told him, or what his mask might define. Instead of starting Jed Sawyer as a gibbering simpleton, I was more interested in taking somebody that could almost pass as normal and then explore how they could be reduced to nothing. Leatherface doesn’t know who he is, he doesn’t remember his family— but the saw becomes integral to restoring that… because the saw IS family!
So what do you think? Do these new details make you more interested in “Leatherface?” Are you eager for Lionsgate to release it? Let us know down below.
In this prequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a young nurse is kidnapped by a group of violent teens who escape from a mental hospital and take her on a road trip from hell. Pursued by an equally deranged lawman (Stephen Dorff) out for revenge, one of these teens is destined for tragedy and horrors that will destroy his mind, molding him into the monster we now call Leatherface.