causes someone like Leatherface to sadistically kill others even if it plays on the tired handicapped monster trope. There are many parallels one can draw between Franklin and Leatherface. Both are similar in height, build, and shape. However, as Jessica L. Williams states, Leatherface, “is, unlike Franklin, all man.” Leatherface unlike Franklin is portrayed as competent character who sets out to kill trespassers on his family’s property. Leatherface retains a masculinity and self sufficiency that Franklin lacks by virtue of being disabled. Williams goes even further and states that, “It is this masculinity and its implicit able-bodiedness, that allows him(Leatherface) to kill Franklin so easily in the woods. Franklin’s complete dependence on Sally and his inability to save himself are almost made comical by the awkward scene in which Sally struggles to get Franklin and his chair through the forest while Leatherface pursues them.”(Williams 61) While Franklin is one of the last male characters to die, it wasn’t because of his wit and determination that allowed him to escape early death in the movie but rather his disability which made it impossible to roll into the house. What does that say about the 1970s view of disabled individuals when one disabled character who is good natured but is portrayed as a weakling, and the other who is pure evil but portrayed as competent? Well that's one of the problems with Texas Chainsaw Massacre despite otherwise being a good movie, there is no in between. Both of our disabled characters are polar opposites personality wise and fall into two extremes. There is in essence no healthy medium, the movie makes the mistake of copying the madonna whore dichotomy, but instead for disabilities.
The madonna whore dichotomy refers to the infuriating black and white portrayal of women in literature, movies and scripts as either a saints or a whores. This trope was especially popular in many Noir films in the 20th century, where women were either femme fatales or innocent virgins. This is a consequence of the fact we only have two disabled characters in the entire movie even though 19% of Americans have a disability. Like a lot noir films which were male dominated and so consequently there were only two female characters in the entire movie; a lot of modern movies are abled bodied dominated, which means there are few if any disabled characters represented. Neither of the original writers, Tobe Hooper or Kim Henkel had the intent to portray disabled characters in a bad light, but to write different characters with different personalities. However, since only 2.7% of all speaking roles in movies are disabled characters, there is so few of them and they are so underrepresented that it's easy even for brilliant writers like Hooper and Henkel to rely on one dimensional stereotypes as a guide to develop a character with certain physical or mental impairments that aren't widely talked about. The more I think
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- It, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre