Texas Chainsaw Massacre Ending Explained: Lots Of Gore And A Needless Sequel Setup

Major "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" spoilers follow.

Between "Halloween Kills," the fifth "Scream" installment, and the recent Netflix sequel "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," legacy horror films are having a big moment. The latter debuted today as a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic, completely ignoring the film's many sequels, reboots, and remakes, but fans are already chainsaw buzz-buzz-buzzing with questions as to where the franchise is heading from here. The film opens with the return of original "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" narrator, John Larroquette, recalling the mutilation at the hands of the Leatherface on August 18, 1973, and how sole survivor Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns in footage, Olwen Fouéré in present-day) has been living in isolation ever since.

Lila (Elsie Fisher) and her sister Melody (Sarah Yarkin) are traveling through Texas with their friends and business partners Dante (Jacob Latimore) and Ruth (Nell Hudson), planning on buying up the ghost town of Harlow, Texas, and transforming it to the hot, new place to be. The proud residents of Harlow are none too thrilled with their city-slicking, "gentri-f*****" visitors, and, oh yeah, this is also now the hometown of Leatherface. Almost immediately upon arrival, the meddling late-stage capitalist opportunist kids — serving as a modernized vehicle for the '70s hippie kids of the original, but presented with a Twitter meme education's equivalent of social commentary — inadvertently cause some chaos. 

Gen Z is ruining ghost towns, I guess

Melody mocks a man rolling coal in a huge pick-up with a gun on his hip at a gas station as compensation for his manhood, only to later discover he's the town's contractor they depend on to make their dreams come true. Dante notices a tattered confederate flag flowing above the Harlow Orphanage, and when the group enters the space to take it down, a woman named Mrs. Mc appears and claims to still own the property. As the elderly and visibly ill woman is about to be forcibly removed from the premises, a towering older man appears, and Mrs. Mc suddenly collapses. As can be predicted, the old man is a nearly 75-year-old Leatherface, and with Mrs. Mc, his material figure gone, all hell breaks loose.

What follows is a reign of carnage in which Leatherface is presented as the good guy for killing off a bunch of meddling youths, a disrespectfully awful trauma arc centering on a survivor of a school shooting "getting over her trauma" by using a gun, a complete misuse of Sally's return as a final girl, and some annoyingly scattered buzzwords like someone threatening to "cancel" Leatherface during a Livestream. Fortunately, there are some pretty rad kills, a lot of gore, and finally an actual chainsaw massacre. So ... how does it end?

A sequel no one needs

The original "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" has one of the most iconic endings in horror history, with Sally Hardesty escaping on the back of a pick-up truck, and Leatherface swinging his chainsaw around as the sun rises to welcome in a new day. The Netflix sequel attempts (and fails) to replicate the magic, while simultaneously setting up the possibility for future films. Sisters Lila and Melody are the only survivors of Leatherface's newest explosion of violence and just when they think they're in the safe zone, Leatherface pops back up for one more kill, pulling Melody out of the car's sunroof and decapitating her right in front of her sister as she screams in horror, the automatic driving car pulling her further and further away from the carnage.

With Leatherface still alive and Lila replacing Sally as the only canonical survivor of Leatherface, the film has left the door wide open for a potential sequel. Will Lila do the same as Sally and dive into the world of law enforcement following her tragedy? Will Leatherface continue his killing streak or will he go back into murder hibernation? After surviving a school shooting, a massacre, and the murder of her sister ... is Lila going to be okay?

But what does it mean?

Sally survived the original massacre thanks to her ability to adapt to the circumstances at hand and her own resilience. She never stopped running, she never stopped fighting, and after all these years when she finally comes face to face with the man that changed the course of her entire life, he barely registers who she is. Despite holding her own at first, she is unceremoniously and brutally killed, thrown back into Leatherface's cage of obscurity. As Lila is driven away by the self-driving car, it's hard not to see her driving toward a similar fate. The bloodletting of Leatherface will impact Lila forever, but this feels like another cog in the Leatherface machine of destruction.

While some of the other sequels, prequels, reboots, and remakes have tried to add motivation or psychological explanation for why Leatherface is the way he is, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" firmly exists in the camp that this is just part of his nature. We could try and justify that his targeting of Lila, Melody, and the rest of the influencers is an act of vengeance against those who dare to change the ways of Harlow or were the start of the domino effect that led to the demise of his caregiver, but ultimately, it just feels like the actions of an unstoppable force of sadism slapped with a coat of Leatherface paint. Or, in this case, a skinned face mask.