Why Netflix's Old Leatherface Will Work

This year sees the release of a new Texas Chainsaw Massacre film on Netflix. Taking a cue from the successful Halloween revival, the new movie ignores all previous sequels and reboots, serving as a direct sequel only to the original 1974 film. With this in mind, the surviving characters from Tobe Hooper's slasher movie classic are now nearly fifty years older, including its gruesomely masked killer Leatherface. And even though this means Leatherface is presumably well into his twilight years, the Halloween revival has shown that an older killer can be all the more effective and terrifying, unencumbered by advancing age.

2018's Halloween revival similarly discarded all the past sequels and reboots, retaining only the continuity from the 1978 original film. As this franchise's masked slasher Michael Myers was 21 years old during the events of that fateful Halloween night, this made The Shape 61 years old when he escaped from Smith's Grove Psychiatric Hospital to cut an even bloodier path across his hometown of Haddonfield. Even decades older, The Shape proved no less deadly in Halloween or its sequel Halloween Kills, singlehandedly butchering an entire fire department and an angry mob while seemingly shrugging off even the most grievous injuries.

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Leatherface and the Sawyer family don't have confirmed ages in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but Leatherface is likely in his 20s or 30s during the events of the 1974 film. This places the sledgehammer and chainsaw-wielding maniac anywhere from his 70s or even 80s to reflect the passage of time, evidenced by the original film's sole survivor Sally Hardesty returning for the sequel as a woman in her late 60s or early 70s. Similar to the Halloween revival, Sally has become a hardened woman fueled by vigilante justice, ready to take her revenge on Leatherface for ruining her life and murdering her brother and friends all those years ago.

There is something inherently terrifying about an older person still as unhinged and lethal as ever, possessing wiry strength and endurance that defies conventional explanation as they menace a new generation of victims. The older Shape of the Halloween revival era truly lives up to his boogeyman reputation, an urban legend brought savagely to life to remind the youth of today's Haddonfield what evil incarnate really is. At the start of the 2018 film, only sole survivor Laurie Strode took Michael Myers seriously; by the end, all of Haddonfield lived in terror of The Shape as he launched a bloody rampage that far exceeded the carnage he inflicted in 1978.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel will likely follow a similar path, with a new group of young adults arriving in Harlow, Texas, only to find themselves at the heart of the never-ending conflict between Sally and the Sawyer family. And even if Leatherface is old enough to be admitted to a retirement community, the masked killer is back to the family business of butchering anyone that nears the Sawyer family's property -- and business is looking to be booming again. Older and presumably wiser, Leatherface certainly has developed some new tricks up his sleeve to evade Sally and the authorities while preying on new victims.

To see if an older Leatherface can still do damage, Texas Chainsaw Massacre premieres Feb. 18 on Netflix.

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Sam Stone (8547 Articles Published)

Sam Stone is a 10th level pop culture guru living just outside of Washington, DC who knows an unreasonable amount about The Beatles. You can follow him on Twitter @samstoneshow and ask him about Nintendo, pop punk, and Star Trek.

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