Texas Chainsaw Massacre Special Effects Studio Describes Intricate Process Of Creating Iconic Leatherface Mask

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The head of the special effects company responsible for the design of Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre describes the lengthy creative process. The Netflix slasher is a legacy sequel to Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which was picked up by the streamer and released late last week.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Iconic Leatherface Mask

The team behind Illusion Industries Inc. had the most difficulty with Leatherface's complicated design process. Todd Tucker, the studio's owner, talks with Bloody-Disgusting on how involved the entire operation was.


Due to travel restrictions at the time, Tucker recalls that Key Designer and Sculptor Martin Astles made a solo mission to Bulgaria to work as the set makeup applicator.

"I think we made like twenty-something faces," Tucker said, referring to the fact that Astles had to bring a lot of makeup with him to avoid shipping limits. In order to preserve continuity, he had to outfit actor Mark Burnham and his stunt doubles in different scenes.

“...we knew that not only was Leatherface actor Mark Burnham going to be in the mask, but we knew that Martin would have to put all these other stunt guys in makeups too. They had to be able to fit them and look the same.”

Slasher Films: Not a Walk in the Park

Creating so many applications may appear to be an enormous amount of labor, but it is the obvious technique when dealing with issues caused by a global health emergency.

Slashers, in particular, frequently contain a gradual escalation in blood and gore effects as the tale continues, and because so many films are shot in non-sequential order, negotiating consistency concerns can be difficult. When these elements are mixed, it needs deft preparation to keep the scenes with Leatherface's progressively bloodied mask looking ordered.

Despite significant setbacks, including the start of principal photography only a few months after the COVID-19 outbreak and the firing of the film's first directors, producer Fede Alvarez and replacement director David Blue Garcia eventually completed Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Burnham took up Gunnar Hansen's prolific role, and co-starred with Olwen Fouéré as Sally Hardesty (the film's final girl), Sarah Yarkin as Melody, and Elsie Fisher as Lila.