Why Were the Slaughter Family Renamed in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

Why was slasher horror's most infamous family renamed?

by Drew Kopp
Image: Gun Interactive

Gun Interactive’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre goes to incredible lengths to stay true to the long-running slasher horror franchise that shares its name, with one notable exception. Leatherface and his cannibalistic clan’s surname was changed to Slaughter for the game, which has baffled diehard fans of the world’s longest-running slasher horror franchise longest-running slasher horror franchise. Here’s the surprising reason why the Slaughter family was renamed in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Why Was the Familky’s Name Changed in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Image: Attack of the Fanboy

In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Family is christened with the appropriate nom de plume of Slaughter, but that is not the name they are known by in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. While Leatherface and his murderous relatives’ surname was not revealed in the first The Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, its direct sequel and all the following movies referred to them as the Sawyer Family. However, the script for the original film, written by Kim Henkel, referred to the cannibalistic clan as the Slaughters.

The decision to refer to Leatherface and his kin by their original surname was a direct result of Gun Interactive working to spare the Texas Chainsaw Massacre the fate that befell their previous licensed asymmetrical survival horror multiplayer game, Friday the 13th. While Friday the 13th was met with critical acclaim and commercial success when it was first released in 2017, its future was jeopardized when the original Friday the 13th film’s screenwriter, Victor Miller, got into a nasty court battle over ownership of the franchise with Sean S. Cunningham, the original movie’s director.

Related: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Multiplayer Guide: How to Play With Friends on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC

To avoid being dragged into the ugly legal dispute, Gun Interactive decided to stop producing new content for Friday the 13th. With Gun Interactive’s right to the franchise’s license set to expire on December 31st, 2023, the game is set to vanish off the face of the Earth like one of Jason’s victims.

Fortunately for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre fans, Gun Interactive has taken tremendous steps to ensure the game does not meet the same premature end as its predecessor. Unlike Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s IP belongs solely to Kim Henkel, and there are no signs that anyone plans on challenging his ownership soon. To avoid a lawsuit, Gun Interactive referred to the Family by their original surname, severely limiting any outside party’s chances of winning an ownership dispute.

- This article was updated on August 21st, 2023

About The Author

Drew Kopp has been a writer at Attack of the Fanboy for three months and has covered Baldur's Gate 3, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Ahsoka. He has a Bachelor's in Creative Writing and loves writing about indie games and celebrity gossip. When he isn't writing, he can be found reading fantasy books or rocking out as Bard in Dungeons & Dragons.