Behind Thomas Hewitt
Thomas Brown Hewitt, also known as Leatherface, was born on August 7, 1939. He was born inside the Blair Meat Company and he was born with a physical deformity which seemed noticeable in the face. His mother died soon after giving birth. The manager of the company of Blair Meat Company disposed the infant and was later found in the dumpster by Luda May Hewitt. Luda took him as her own. He grew up and becomes a terrible monster. He hurt and killed many people. Many films fictionalize his story and explain how evil and dangerous he was. He became a monster and why he started hurting others all fall, rely upon, and connect to the monster theories told by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and even though people would find the movies to be cliché, I enjoyed them.
In the 2006 film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre:The Beginning, starts in August 1939 with his mother working in the meat factory. All of a sudden her water breaks and Thomas is born. As Thomas is born, her boss witnesses the labor and as soon as he sees Thomas being born he gets frightened and notices Thomas’s face and responds with, “Dear Lord, Help us.” In the next shot, Luda May is walking to the dumpster in the search of food. She hears the baby squealing and takes him. Luda takes him to her home to care for him. As the movie goes on and Thomas is older, he is shown to work at the slaughterhouse. He cuts meat just like his mother would. Soon, the Lee Bros Company closes down. The first few scenes of the film show how Thomas would continue to cut meat even after the slaughterhouse was closed for good. His boss told him to go home because the slaughterhouse was closed but Thomas would not listen. The boss yells, “You gotta get the hell out of here, you dumb animal!” Thomas drops his knife and leaves. In many shots of the film, Thomas is called “animal,” “prick,” and “hideous.” People would call him names and do not seem to accept him because of his skin condition. This connects to one of the monster theories told by Cohen. Cohen named one of his theories “The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference,” where this theory says, “always in danger of exposing the suture that bind its desparate elements into a single, unnatural body” (9). which can relate to Thomas’s life. People made him into a monster because of the harmful things people would call him. He was not born attractive and normal. Thomas always kept his face covered and was never seen.
In the other sequel, Texas Chainsaw 3D, Thomas’s story is also being shown. In this film, the beginning clips show how Thomas Hewitt has been living in a house. The house seems to be hidden and most people would assume there is no one living there. People would walk in because they were curious to see what they will find inside. Thomas would end up killing the people who would walk in. In this movie, police were involved and they were determined to finally capture him, but Thomas’s family would always protect him. Since years have passed from the last 2006 movie, Thomas’s family enlarged. Thomas now had cousins and other new family members. Therefore Thomas had more people to protect him. In one of the scenes, families of the people in which Thomas had killed came to the house where he lived and bombed the place and caused a huge fire in attending to ruin and kill Thomas since police could not do so. The house ended up ruined. As the film goes on, Thomas never dies. This film can also help see the connection with the monster theories. In another theory by Cohen, “The Monster Always Escapes” says, “We see the damage that the monster wreaks, the material remains …, but the monster itself turns immaterial and vanishes, to reappear someplace else…” (4). Thomas’s home was ruined, but he was able to escape. This monster seems to always come back no matter how hard people may try to kill it.
From all of the films of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, people are finding desire in watching them. All of the stories show how Thomas kills and tortures people. This is what grabs the attention of the viewers. The torturing, the blood, and the screaming alerts the watchers and makes them want to keep watching. In the book, Horror and the Idea of Everyday Life, the writer Philip J. Nickel says, “In this film [2006 Texas Chainsaw Massacre] a few youths wander into the clutches of psychopaths who torture, murder, and eat them. The film depicts their sadistic torture and murder. One character narrowly escapes. Di Muzio argues that to enjoy such a film is to enjoy a depiction of the torture of children” (15). We like the feeling of getting scared and most of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films make us get scared. Another thesis from Cohen can help support that. His theory, “Fear of the Monster Is Really a Kind of Desire” says, “The monster awakens one to the pleasures of the body, to the simple and fleeting joys of being frightened, or frightening—to the experience of mortality and corporality” (17). When someone is afraid their adrenaline rushes. After the adrenaline rush is done, most people feel pleasure and enjoyment. Intense emotions are involved in these horror films. In the two previously mentioned films of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, they both show horific scenes and can easily give you that adrenaline rush. Not only do people like the adrenaline, but it is also entertaining. It can delight people.
Now, in my opinion, I enjoyed watching the two films. From research, I found information about the life of Thomas Hewitt and how he was born and raised was displayed in the films. The directors did a great job in showing a partial part of his background and why he became this monster. Thomas did not have a perfect life. He would get criticized for his skin condition and would wear masks, Leatherface, and the face of people he would kill. Other people say that the 2006 film contains a lot of clichés and is not like the original. I also really like that in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, a scene is shown of the previous film. For example, the beginning of the 2006 film shows a scene of the previous 2003 film to briefly refresh your brain of what had happened.
To conclude, we are able to see the connections between the theories of Cohen to the films of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. People calling Thomas names and mistreating him followed to the theory of “The Monster Dwells at the Gates of Difference.” People created him into a monster through the harmful maltreatments. Another theory that was noticed in the film was, “The Monster Always Escapes.” No matter how many times police tried to kill him, it was nearly impossible to get rid of Thomas. His home got burned and ruined, but Thomas never dies and always escapes. In the last theory, I was able to find a connection was “Fear of the Monster Is Really a Kind of Desire.” In the two films, torturing and screaming are being displayed. This is what most people enjoy a horror film. Most of us like the feeling of getting scared. Not only do the two Texas Chainsaw Massacre films show connections to the theories, but it also shows creativity and great information on Thomas Hewitt life and does not leave the audience wonder why he became a monster.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Monster Theory: Reading Culture. University of Minnesota, 1997
Fahy, Thomas Richard. The Philosophy of Horror. University Press of Kentucky, 2012.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. New Line Cinema, Metropolitan Films. October 6, 2006.
Texas Chainsaw 3D. Directed by John Lussenhop. Lionsgate, Millennium Films, Mainline Pictures. January 4 2013.
Lf. “LEATHERFACE (BUBBA SAWYER / THOMAS HEWITT) | Horror Amino.” School | Aminoapps.com, AminoApps, 19 Sept. 2016, aminoapps.com/c/horror/page/blog/leatherface-bubba-sawyer-thomas-hewitt/KWPF_MuBlPqxBPVnWpKQ8jWvaxQ8vkX.
Texaschainsawmassacre.net. (2018). Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2006 Prequel.
Comicartfans.com. (2018). LEATHERFACE Texas Chainsaw Massacre by The Gurch, in pencil necked geek’s odd bits of artwork from here and there Comic Art Gallery Room. [online] Available at: https://www.comicartfans.com/gallerypiece.asp?piece=1007430 [Accessed 16 Nov. 2018].