Texas Chainsaw Massacre Ending, Explained: Is Leatherface Dead?

The 2022 edition of ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ is a worthy addition to the iconic slasher franchise. This time around, the unwitting victims are a group of young, urban entrepreneurs looking to make a trendy community in a Texas ghost town. Unfortunately, their colorful entrance into the town of Harlow awakens a murderous old horror “affectionately” called Leatherface.

The blood and gore, though expected, still surprise with shocking detail. However, the film also thrives on last-minute twists, and the third act entry of a vengeful past victim keeps the thrill going. Most characters, of course, don’t make it alive, but it does appear at times that Leatherface is bested by one of the scrappy survivors. Think you might’ve missed some bits and pieces of the film while some of its characters’ “bits and pieces” were flying around onscreen? Let’s take a closer look at the bloody climax of ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Plot Synopsis

The film opens with a vintage video talking about a massacre in the summer of 1973 outside Austin, Texas, after which the lone survivor, Sally Hardesty, disappears from public view. We are then introduced to Melody and Lila — two sisters headed to the abandoned town of Harlow with their friend Dante and his wife, Ruth. Dante and Melody are working on a plan to refurbish the vintage town and convert it into a trendy community for young urbanites looking for an escape. They make their way to Harlow, where they expect a bus full of investors to arrive shortly and make offers on various buildings.

Upon arriving, Dante finds one of the buildings, an old orphanage, occupied by an elderly woman named Virginia, who claims to still have rights on the property. The wealthy young entrepreneur, already impatient after seeing a confederate flag hanging on the building, calls the sheriff. As an ailing Virginia is being taken out of the building, she collapses. Soon, a hulking figure appears from the house’s upper floors and helps carry her into the waiting police vehicle.

Melody feels uncomfortable by the whole affair and wonders if Virginia’s plight is a bad omen. She turns out to be partly right as Virginia passes away on the way to the hospital, causing her silent, behemoth companion to go on a rampage. If it wasn’t apparent earlier, it now becomes clear that he is, in fact, Leatherface. As if to underscore the point, the gruesome man promptly takes a knife to the recently deceased Virginia and fashions himself a mask out of her face. Ruth, trapped in the police car, makes feeble attempts at escaping but is soon murdered.

And so, the carnage begins. Leatherface makes his way back to the abandoned orphanage even as the young investors frolic in the ghost town, utterly oblivious of the murders. One by one, the savage murderer begins taking out unsuspecting victims. First Dante and then Richter, the local contractor (and possibly one of the few people who could have stopped Leatherface), are killed. Soon, Melody and Lila, chased by Leatherface, run into the investors’ bus, where the party is still going on in full swing.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Ending: Is Leatherface Dead or Alive?

Possibly one of the goriest scenes in recent cinema, the extended massacre of everyone on the bus save for the two sisters is deliciously slasher-friendly. Finally free of the bus but still chased by Leatherface, the girls are then aided by Sally, who seems to have been tracking the killer. Sally is also gruesomely mauled by the signature chainsaw. Eventually, Melody and Lila corner Leatherface and shoot him, watching his oversized form sink into an industrial pool.

Image Credit: Yana Blajeva/Legendary

The next morning, the two sisters prepare to leave the town. Bruised, battered, but in high spirits, they get into their self-driven car and punch in their home address. As the vehicle begins to move, Leatherface suddenly appears alongside and pulls Melody out. As Lila helplessly watches from the car, the brutish killer beheads her sister. The film closes with the younger sister’s screams. A brief post-credit scene then shows us Leatherface out in the countryside, walking towards a house.

Even though it seems on a few occasions that Leatherface might finally be vanquished, the gigantic mass murderer seems to survive everything thrown at him. At first, it looks like Richter might bring him down. One crushed skull later, the outlook seems bleak again. Finally, Leatherface is shot once by Sally and then twice by Lila before being hit in the face by his own chainsaw (courtesy of Melody). However, the movie’s final scenes prove that not only is Leatherface alive, he also seemingly has the uncanny ability to eventually kill whoever he targets.

Is Melody Dead or Alive?

Melody has possibly the most traumatic story arc and is chased by Leatherface longer than any other character. Ever since she enters the house with Dante looking for the property deed Virginia claimed to have (and she did), Melody is relentlessly followed by the seemingly unstoppable killer. What feels like a satisfying conclusion occurs in the film’s climax when she finally attacks Leatherface with his own weapon — the trusty, blood-stained chainsaw. It feels fitting that Melody deals the killing blow.

Of course, that doesn’t seem to be the case, and the film’s final twist is also the most shocking. Finally in the car and on her way home, Melody is suddenly dragged out and beheaded by her tormenter, who, it turns out, doesn’t die despite the multiple bullet wounds and chainsaw injuries. Thus, in the film’s closing scenes, as her younger sister Lila helplessly watches, Melody is killed.

Is Lila Dead or Alive?

The film’s darkly poetic character, Lila, is Melody’s younger sister, who lives with the trauma of having survived a school shooting (and having the scars to prove it). On more than one occasion, she finds herself completely at Leatherface’s mercy and thinks that her end has arrived. Every time, however, she is saved by the last-minute intervention of another, less fortunate character, which distracts Leatherface, giving Lila a chance to escape.

The people that save Lila — like Sally and Melody — eventually die themselves. Lila, on the other hand, survives. However, the film closes on a traumatic note for her as well as she helplessly watches her sister Melody get beheaded. The whole situation is incredibly, almost comedically, dark as Lila is driven away in her auto-piloted Tesla even as she looks back at her sister getting murdered, giving us pure slasher cinema gold.

Is Anyone Else Left Alive?

The film effortlessly fulfills the promise its title makes. The events that unfold are well and truly a massacre, and no one is spared from the violence. Like Richter, even those that seem to have a good chance at survival are effectively mutilated and put away. Right until the end, the deaths come hard and fast, closing things with the shocking murder of Melody, the film’s central character.

In the end, Melody’s traumatized younger sister Lila is left alive. As we said, the film lives up to the “massacre” in its title, and almost everyone else is dead, including the vengeful Sally and the town’s few law enforcement officials. Perhaps the only other character seen in the film that is still alive is the nameless shopkeeper from the beginning of the film.

Read More: Who Plays Sally Hardesty in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)?