1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre first introduced horror movie fans to the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface and his twisted family, which have appeared in a few different forms across the various continuities of the resulting fan-favorite franchise which has seen reboots, prequels, and re-imaginings over the years.
With Leatherface, sometimes the greatest strength he finds in his opponent is their speed and endurance as they run away in terror, though there are a few of his enemies that have managed to put up a fight against the various versions of the cannibalistic killer and managed to avoid becoming his latest gory mask.
2006’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning served as a prequel to the 2003 remake of the original that briefly explored the origins of Leatherface and R. Lee Ermey’s Sheriff Hoyt before quickly turning back into a traditional Texas Chainsaw film.
Jordana Brewster played Chrissie, who excelled at running and hiding while her friends were brutally murdered in front of her. While she had some help from ill-fated draft dodger Dean (played by Taylor Handley), Chrissie was able to almost escape from Leatherface, though this massacre sadly had no survivors.
9 Sally Hardesty
Marilyn Burns starred as one of horror’s original Final Girl’s Sally Hardesty in the original 1974 slasher from director Tobe Hooper that helped launch both the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, along with the slasher genre as a whole.
Sally’s brother and her friends are all quickly wiped out, leaving Sally alone to deal with one of the worst versions of the cannibalistic Sawyer family. Burns’ screams as she is tortured are hard to forget, but she managed to escape Leatherface with some help from a good samaritan as the first survivor of Leatherface’s Texan reign of terror.
One of Renée Zellwegger’s first—and often forgotten—roles was as Leatherface’s newest victim, Jenny, in 1997’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, which also starred Matthew McConaughey as a member of the Slaughter family.
Jenny encounters Leatherface and his new family on prom night, which results in the death of all of her friends before an excruciatingly over-the-top dinner scene. Jenny not only stands up to the abuse and insanity of McConaughey’s Vilmer, but she also survives the ordeal by impressing the mysterious benefactor of the Slaughters.
7 Hal Hartman
Stephen Dorff starred in 2017’s Leatherface prequel as Texas Ranger Hal Hartman, who developed a lasting grudge against the Sawyer family after the violent murder of his daughter that caused him to send young Jed Sawyer away from his family in retaliation.
However, when Jed escaped alongside a group of crazed killers and a captive nurse, Hartman took the law into his own hands trying to capture him. Hartman is revealed to have been responsible for the horrific wound on Jed’s face, and, after he is murdered by Jed, his face becomes a part of Leatherface’s first mask.
6 Vanita “Stretch” Brock
1986’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 took place a few years after the events of the original film as Leather face and his family murdered drunk college kids while they were harassing a local radio DJ, Vanita “Stretch” Brock (played by Christine Williamson).
Stretch was not only able to survive Leatherface’s initial attacks by manipulating him psychologically, but she followed the Sawyer to their hideout to try and save her co-worker. She then channeled her inner Leatherface after suffering a round of torture by slashing Chop Top Sawyer (played by Bill Moseley) with a chainsaw.
5 Michelle Shatnell
The franchise attempted to launch a new series with 1990’s Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III as new members of the Sawyer family that included Viggo Mortensen’s Tex hunt and kidnap a traveling couple.
While her boyfriend doesn’t fare well, Michelle (played by Kate Hodge) is subjected to the usual dinner torture by the sadistic family before she snaps a bit herself and goes on the offensive. Michelle not only survived her encounter, but she was personally responsible for the deaths of Tex, Leatherface, and Alfredo, though Leatherface obviously survived.
Michelle wasn’t alone when dealing with Leatherface and the rest of the cannibalistic Sawyers in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, as she luckily ran into survivalist Benny, played by horror mainstay Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, Halloween).
Benny appears to be killed a couple of times throughout the film after he gets caught up in the attack by crashing into Michelle and her boyfriends’ car. However, he returns to shoot and kill a number of members of the Sawyer family, and he even holds his own with Leatherface in hand-to-hand combat.
3 Burt Hartman
While Heather Miller (played by Alexandra Daddario) was the star of 2013’s Texas Chainsaw 3D, which served as a retconned direct sequel to the original film, she was eventually revealed as Leatherface’s cousin and went from enemy to family member.
It was really Mayor Burt Hartman (played by Paul Rae) and his associate Ollie Brown (played by Richie Montgomery) who managed to deliver a brutal beating on Leatherface after murdering his family years before. After Heather took out Ollie, Leatherface ended Hartman’s grudge by throwing him in a meat grinder.
2 “Lefty” Enright
One of the wildest characters in the franchise that isn’t a member of Leatherface’s various cannibalistic families is Lieutenant Boude “Lefty” Enright, played by Dennis Hopper in 1986’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
Lefty was the uncle of Marilyn and Franklin Burns from the original film who spent his last few years hunting down the evil family that killed and tortured his own. Lefty’s manic destruction of the Sawyer’s desert headquarters was followed by a chainsaw-to-chainsaw battle with Leatherface that stands out among the rest of the Texas Chainsaw franchise.
1 Erin Hardesty
Jessica Biel starred as Erin in the 2003 remake of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which introduced the Hewitt family’s Leatherface alongside the equally dangerous Charlie Hewitt/Hoyt as they gruesomely tore through Erin’s friends one by one.
Erin managed to survive the various family members, including the terrifying Sheriff Holt to lead Leatherface and dangerous game of hide-and-seek through a meat-packing plant. Not only does Erin manage to survive her encounter, but she also causes serious damage to Leatherface with a meat cleaver and ran over Hoyt numerous times before taking her leave of the Hewitt family.
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