Sunday, 18 September 2016

POP! Movies – Leatherface

Series: POP! Movies
Company: Funko

Year: 2011/2012?

More than forty years after its release, there’s not a lot left to be said about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, so here’s the basic recap: it was wildly controversial on release, marketed as being based on a true story and served as a granddaddy to the whole slasher film genre. Since then, there’s been several more movies in the series, spanning sequels, prequels and remakes. Their quality has varied wildly, as might be expected – but the fact that you’re reading this article suggests that you’re probably familiar with a lot of this stuff anyway.

Today we’re looking at the POP of the series’ most iconic villain, Leatherface. Leatherface and his freakish Sawyer family were inspired by the macabre real-life antics of Ed Gein, a man from Wisconsin whose crimes horrified America when they were discovered in the mid-1950s. Known as a bit of an odd fellow and loner, it turned out he was far more sinister than anyone would have expected – his hobbies included grave robbing, murder and making various items out of body parts, including masks*.

Leatherface wears three different masks in the film, but the POP depicts his “Killing Mask”, which is probably the most iconic. It seems he didn’t do a great job tanning it, though – there’s big gaps around the eyes and mouth, and the whole thing has a shrivelled, yellow look. It’s a stark contrast to the other two masks he wears, which were more naturalistic and as a result somewhat more disconcerting when they appear onscreen.

His outfit is basically a butcher’s one – yellow apron, collared shirt and a black tie – though instead of some knives, he’s carrying a yellow chainsaw. Gunnar Hansen, who portrayed Leatherface in the film, was a big guy, and the chainsaw looks almost comically small in some scenes – Funko has replicated this effect quite nicely here, without it looking weird, as can sometimes happen when they try and merge their stylised look with real-world proportions.

Now there is a variant available too – a bloody version, rather than a glow-in-dark one. It does look cool, but it’ll set you back a pretty penny. My suggestion would be to simply buy a regular one and add your own “blood” with paint if you find it necessary.

And on that note, paint is a bit of a mixed bag. His face and hair are well executed, but you’ll want to check carefully to make sure there’s not a ton of slop around the actual chainsaw. A minor nit is that the tie should have a white stripe on it to be screen-accurate, but its absence isn’t the end of the world. Additionally, it’s not unusual for the chainsaw to be warped in the box; you can probably straighten it with the hot water and ice trick though.

So overall? Well, I’m not the world’s biggest Texas Chain Saw Massacre fan. The years and thousands of movies that have followed in its wake have defanged it somewhat – modern audiences watching it are just as likely to be bored as they are to be frightened or disgusted. However, it still has its share of disconcerting moments, and I can appreciate its importance to horror history. Leatherface is a bona fide horror icon, and thus he’s a worthy addition to my rapidly expanding horror POP shelf. He’s well-executed (ha!) and should please fans of the character.  

*Ed Gein also served as a loose inspiration for Buffalo Bill from Silent of the Lambs, Norman Bates from Psycho and numerous others. Slayer wrote a song about him on their Seasons in the Abyss album too, called – appropriately enough – "Dead Skin Mask".  

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