With a brand new Texas Chainsaw movie on the horizon, titled Leatherface, it's easy to say that the story has been played out one too many times. There is one problem with that theory: we have not had one continuous Leatherface. We have had 3 notable character portrayals, but which one is truly the scariest? Let's look at the 3 most memorable
Leatherface 1974: Jedidiah (Jed) Sawyer
In his favor:
The 1974 version of Leatherface was truly terrifying, because well... it was 1974. It was an entirely new concept; A giant mute man baby, wearing a human face as a mask, wielding a chainsaw. The fact that he kills anyone who comes near his property just adds fuel to the fire.
His family is actually way more disturbing than he is. Additionally, the special effects of the time can't compare to those used in the 21st century adaptations.
Leatherface 2003: Thomas Hewitt
In his favor:
Unlike the original Leatherface, the Thomas Hewitt version is much more deranged. He seems to enjoy inflicting pain, and has a more animalistic nature. He does as he is told; responding to thumps in the floor, and doing the bidding of his equally disturbing family members. He also has a facial deformity that makes him terrifying even without the skin mask made out of his victims. Furthermore, Thomas is generally smarter than the previous Leatherface, making it harder for his prey to escape, or hide.
He seems fascinated with having a normal face, which gives his character a weakness, and leads you to believe that vicious bullying is the motive behind his brutality. It would be far more terrifying if he committed these inhuman slaughters without a reason.
Leatherface 2013: Jedidiah (Jed) Sawyer
In his favor:
In Texas Chainsaw, a follow up to the original, we see Jed years after the original story took place. He has years of built up anger, and is ready to mutilate the first person he comes into contact with. What is scarier than a monster trying to kill you with a chainsaw? A monster trying to kill you with a chainsaw that you don't even know exists, and happens to be in the same house as you.
While he is intent on killing strangers invading his space, he recognizes one of those strangers as his family, and he doesn't kill his family. While this character trait doesn't differ from any previous versions, it does make him more relatable, and less horrifying. The ending depicts Leatherface as less of a monster, and more of a pet, or even a hero. There is nothing scary about a hero.
The winner is definitely Thomas Hewitt, from the 2003 remake. The only strike against him is his motive, and that is hardly a reason not to fear him. Not only is he the scariest physically, but his kills are malevolently more creative!
Let's hope that the newest version of Leatherface can top what we have already seen. The origin story surely will not disappoint.