Grandpa Sawyer

By RodneyHatfieldJr for Into The Mind

I was asked with all these direct sequels coming out if there were any characters they could use from these franchises to carry their own movies. My reply was a direct and overdue yes. Grandpa Sawyer.  I have been asking why he has not had movies based on him since the 1980s.

Everyone and their mothers know that the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre was a horrific and ground-breaking experience that influenced the genre for decades to come. Not only did it put audiences through a gauntlet of Texan cannibalism and surprisingly subtle violence, but it also enhanced the scares by taking advantage of a near-documentary aesthetic and claims that the film was based on a true story. We are introduced to the Sawyer. But few mention the leader of the clan, Earl “Grandpa” Sawyer.

Let's look at his background. Earl Sawyer was born in 1849. He worked at the Atlas Rendering Company (slaughterhouse) in Newt, Texas. Every Spring, the company would throw a barbecue party in his honor as the best 1 hit killer in the business. As time went on, however, Atlas found itself progressing with advancements in modern practices. They turned from the old tried and true methods in favor of automation, herding cattle into electrified cages and using cold-steel chutes. Air-powered guns took the place of old tack hammers.  

During this time, Grandpa Sawyer married and raised a family, all of whom were raised in the old traditional methods of the slaughter industry. Little is known about his immediate children, but his grandchildren - all males, Drayton Sawyer, Robert Sawyer, Nubbins Sawyer, and "Bubba" Sawyer.  At some point in their lives, all of the Sawyer family members embraced the unfavorable act of cannibalism. As Grandpa continued to grow older, however, he maintained his long life on a strict liquid diet. 

The movie timeline goes as followed: Texas Chainsaw Massacre dragged Sally into the Sawyer homestead by Drayton, our final girl is forced to join in on a memorable family dinner, with the movie offering a glimpse into this insane family dynamic. Watching Leatherface, Nubbins, and Drayton torture Sally in what amounts to a Thanksgiving celebration from hell is terrifying enough, but the movie soon embraces the madness of its antagonists by revealing that the ridiculously ancient Grandpa Sawyer (only 129 years old) is alive and has a taste for human blood.

Grandpa shows up again in Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2. Now 136, Grandpa Sawyer appears to perish alongside Drayton and Leatherface in a grenade blast. We are given more background by Drayton.

In Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, Granpa Sawyer is back, kinda. He is a dried decayed husk. Apparently, the grenade was enough to finally kill the old fellow. However, the family is still nice enough to spoonfeed him blood. We also learn through Mama that she castrated both herself and "Papa", referring to Grandpa, implying an incestuous relationship between the two.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation has Grandpa appears as a member of the Sawyer again  His sole appearance in the film is of him being at the dinner table during the dinner scene. How he is alive is not explained. But then Next Generation is a dumpster fire of baby diapers anyway. I have yet to drink enough or take enough medication for this film to make sense. So we will just act like this film does not exist.

In Texas Chainsaw 3D, it erased all other films in the franchise. TCM likes to erase sequels. The events of the original take place just prior to the start of the film. Grandpa is shown still sitting in his chair he was sitting in the original still holding his hammer. This time instead of the Sawyers getting away with their killings, they are reported on by Alice, resulting in an officer being dispatched to their house. However, several other armed Sawyers managed to arrive at the house to reinforce it. As Grandpa was sitting in the background, the Sawyers and the officer negotiated and agreed to hand over Jed "Bubba” (Leatherface) in exchange for him getting a fair trial. But before Drayton could hand over Jed, an armed posse of the locals arrived. The posse then threw a molotov cocktail into the house, resulting in a brief shootout in which all the Sawyers save for Jed are mowed down including Grandpa (who is shot several times in the chest while still sitting on the chair).

And finally, in Leatherface, we see Grandpa as just an old man sitting in his chair. He is shown giving a one-hit kill on a thief.

Now with all the movie canon(I left out comics) laid out. Grandpa would make a great character to explore. We could have movies that span literally 100 years.  Or we could go another way and make him a vampire with that liquid diet. The possibilities are endless.  Before we go, I have to share something. Check out my favorite scene with Grandpa Sawyer.  From TCM pt.2, enjoy.

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