Are you ready to unmask Leatherface—the iconic villain behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre horror franchise? Haunting audiences for decades, there is actually a dark backstory behind our favorite chainsaw-wielding, mask-wear character. While there’s no denying that he’s a symbol of terror within the genre, to better understand his motives, let’s explore the origins and inspiration that brought this fearsome foe to life. Don’t worry, you can read about him now and shop Leatherface toys later! 

Leatherface was inspired by a real-life serial killer

The character of Leatherface draws inspiration from the notorious serial killer Ed Gein. Gein, known for his gruesome crimes in the 1950s, committed acts of murder and body desecration. Since his actions shocked the world and left an indelible mark on popular culture, the creators of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre incorporated elements of his person, including his penchant for using human flesh and crafting masks from his victims’ skin, to shape the eerie and horrifying character of Leatherface. 

Leather had a strange family and an isolated upbringing

Within the fictional world of the film, Leather is part of a deranged family living in isolation. Raised in a twisted environment devoid of societal norms, Leatherface’s upbringing is what fuels his disturbed and sadistic tendencies. The franchise portrays a family of cannibals, who assist Leatherface in his terrifying acts. The unsettling nature of his upbringing amplifies the horror surrounding Leatherface, painting a grim picture of a disturbed individual shaped by his twisted environment. 

Leatherface has a mask as a symbol of his identity

Leatherface’s most recognizable feature is his mask, crafted from the skin of his victims. This mask serves as a chilling symbol of his distorted identity. By concealing his face, Leatherface hides his true self from the world, transforming into a monstrous figure of terror. The mask not only reflects his psychosis but also becomes an extension of his persona, symbolizing the loss of individuality an the dehumanizing effect of his actions. 

His backstory has solidified his place as a horror film legend and the amount of Leatherface toys on the market confirms that. 

Is Leatherface one of your favorite time-honored villains? Let us know in the comments section below. 

July 07, 2023 — Alex Wilks