The upcoming prequel to 1974’s genre-defining gorefest The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will go by the title Leatherface, and it will be based on a script by newcomer Seth M. Sherwood, one of the horror genre’s up-and-coming scribes.
The new title and writer for the film was first reported by The Wrap, which also indicated that the film will unfold prior to the events of the original, 1974 film and explore the titular, chainsaw-wielding killer’s origins. Given that this is neither the first film in the franchise to attempt an origin story for the killer nor the first be titled Leatherface (that honor goes to 1990’s Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III), the decision to go down that road is certainly a gamble — although at this point, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise already has one of the more muddled continuities in genre cinema, so it’s worth a shot.
Thus far there have been seven films in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, with the original regarded as one of the most iconic slasher films of the ’70s. It spawned two direct sequels, and then a pseudo-sequel/remake in 1994’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (starring Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey early in their careers). The original film was then remade for 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was successful enough to get its own prequel, 2006’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, which was set in 1969, directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and produced by Michael Bay. The next film in the franchise, 2013’s Texas Chainsaw 3D, then jumped ahead to provide a direct sequel to the 1974 original that ignored all of the other sequels that had been made.
Basically, the franchise has never been much for continuity — so seeing it make another jump in time probably isn’t that surprising for longtime fans.
As for the writer, Sherwood has several horror-themed projects in various stages of development, including an untitled supernatural thriller to be directed by Paranormal Activity 5’s Greg Plotkin and another thriller titled Interstate 5 about the son of a serial killer hunting down his father with the daughter of one of his victims.
There’s currently no director attached to Leatherface or a release date for the film.