Leatherface, the infamous Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise slasher, has long been rumored by fans to battle mental illness. However, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006) did reveal a few details about his past and the history of Leatherface before he ever used a chainsaw. Turns out, Leatherface did suffer from an intellectual disability (basically a mental retardation) being diagnosed with a degenerative neuro disorder when he was only 12 years old. Leatherface was raised by the Hewitts/Sawyers (depending upon which movie) after being abandoned in a dumpster at a meat packing plant. Although it is highly unlikely he ever took an IQ test, or a test of any kind for that matter, many horror fans speculate that Leatherface would have a rather low IQ.
Does Leatherface Have an Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation)?
There are a few facts and activities spread throughout his killing sprees on-screen, which give credence to his diagnosis of mental illness being accurate.
Leatherface Plays With Children’s Toy
In Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Leatherface enjoys some time with one of his favorite children’s toys, a sort of “speak and spell” type of electronic. The digital screen displays the image of a clown and Leatherface types “FOOD” repeatedly while the machine replies “Sorry, wrong answer!” Eventually he angrily smashes and thrashes around, throwing a fit.
Leatherface’s Curious Encounter
In Leatherface Chainsaw 3D, the monstrous chainsaw-wielding villain stops dead in his tracks during a chase for a kid with a toy chainsaw. Although Leatherface eventually gains composure and scares the kid off, he is taken aback to see another chainsaw weilder.
Leatherface is seen in many films getting frustrated with his inability to catch his victims or appease his family members. Usually he will become more violent than normal, spinning out of control with his chainsaw while standing in place…or shoving one of his family member’s heads into an oven, fire ablaze!
Many psychologists would likely declare Leatherface mentally ill. One of the biggest reasons being that Leatherface feels a lack of identity to the point he needs to shave faces off of other human beings, wearing them as his own.
Creepy Bone & Flesh Collection
Although there are normal uses for animal bones and various organic matters, Leatherface (and family) take it to a whole new level of disgusting. The Hewitt/Sawyer properties often feature dead animals, hanging bones and human skulls scattered all over the scene! They are even cannibals, creating a human stew (probably really high in protein). In fact, a psychologist would probably have a few disorders lined up for Leatherface based on his collections alone!
Other Characters Recognize Leatherface As Mentally Slow
There are a couple of key characters who have been around Leatherface for a good part of his life to know him well. Leatherface’s boss and co-worker at his butchery call him a “dumb animal” and even a “retard,” leaving him angry enough to slay them right then and there. Later on, the sheriff is talking to Leatherface’s uncle Charlie about getting Leatherface under control…referring to him as “retarded.”
Leatherface is Mute
Leatherface is unable to verbally communicate, besides a few grunts and groans. Occasionally, when a survivor has successfully hurt Leatherface, he can be heard screaming like a little girl.
Leatherface Plays With Makeup Like a Child
Leatherface is unable to resists the temptations of decorating his victims and his mask made of human face with lipstick in one flick. Although most would agree: Leatherface would be a terrible makeup artist and should stick to his day job!
The Final Word on the IQ of Leatherface
Leatherface is most certainly mentally handicapped and suffers a low IQ. Ultimately, this explains why he so quick to follow his family’s truly demented orders, and also why he is sometimes a little easier to outwit than other horror movie slashers. Regardless of his true IQ and how mentally deranged he may be…Leatherface is infamous for an array of truly entertaining on-screen kills!
Check out Who is the Smartest slasher and see how Leatherface compares to the wits of other slasher favorites!
Tritone’s love of horror and mystery began at a young age. Growing up in the 80’s he got to see some of the greatest horror movies play out in the best of venues, the drive-in theater. That’s when his obsession with the genre really began—but it wasn’t just the movies, it was the games, the books, the comics, and the lore behind it all that really ignited his obsession. Tritone is a published author and continues to write and write about horror whenever possible.