The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022: Olwen Fouéré on Leatherface return and Sally Hardesty role in Netflix horror

Graham Falk catches up with Irish actor Olwen Fouéré to discuss being decapitated by Nicolas Cage, what makes a perfect horror film and taking on the iconic role of Sally Hardesty in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022).

Olwen Fouéré has long been known for roles which have an uncomfortable yet unforgettable effect on their audience.

Decapitated by Nicolas Cage in Panos Cosmatos’ 2017 cult hit ‘Mandy’, the Irish actor is upping the ante even more by stepping into the shoes of one of horror’s most famous ‘final girls’ – Sally Hardesty – in new Netflix-produced horror The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022).

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Directed by Emmy award-winner David Blue Garcia, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 slasher classic, set 48 years after the original film which depicted mass-murdering maniac and horror legend Leatherface’s reign of terror in Texas.

However, Leatherface isn’t the only one returning from the 70s slasher, with one surviving character from the original – Sally – back to give the mask-wearing, chainsaw-wielding madman a taste of his own medicine.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s dark heart

"I actually didn’t know very much about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” says Fouéré “I probably saw it at the time, but in the 70s I would have definitely been more into the European movies. Ingmar Bergman (Director of The Seventh Seal) and the like.”

Leatherface is back, with Netflix's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022. Photo credit: Yana Blajeva / ©2021 Legendary, Courtesy of Netflix.

“It was interesting watching it back. I got why it was an instant classic. There’s a real dark heart to it. It’s kind of a masterpiece in a way. There’s so much more going on than just blood and the guts.

“In Texas Chainsaw 2022, it’s very much part of the story, or the franchise. People will love it, or inevitably compare it to the original, because the original definitely does have this dark heart to it.

"But I really liked the script for this Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It had a really anti-capitalism vibe to it.

"The original did too – but in a much more subliminal way. People sometimes say movies I have been in are ‘horror’ movies – such as Mandy – but I always felt there was more to them than that. I thought Mandy was more of an art house heavy metal film.”

Olwen Fouéré as Sally Hardesty in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Photo credit. Jana Blajeva / ©2021 Legendary, Courtesy of Netflix

Scream, Candyman, Halloween and the rise of horror ‘requels’

The 2022 Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the latest in a line of popular Hollywood ‘requels’, a phrase coined by the latest Scream film: movies which revisit the subject matter of an earlier film, but is not as a remake or a linear continuation of the plot.

Michael Myers return in Halloween (2018) and last year’s Halloween Kills were both box office hits, while Candyman also saw success with a re-imagined of the big screen smash by Oscar winner Jordan Peele.

"I think it would be really interesting to write a PHD about it,” she laughs when asked about her thoughts on the current trend of horrors remakes.

"It is great in many ways. The fact that the original provokes such continuity is a really interesting and good thing because inevitably people will start going back through the catalogue.

"David Garcia said he would love to make another sequel after this one because, not only do the fans continue, but people who weren’t even born in 1974 become fans of the original movie and it’s great to see how it develops.

"So I think it’s a good thing, even though it is very hard to go back to what that original impulse is – but maybe that isn’t the point? It seeing about how the thread continues.

"I really regret I couldn’t go to a film screening for this one though – to hear everyone screaming!”

And while horror does often invoke plenty screams, it is also a genre that breeds fanatical fans.

The role of Sally Hardesty and ‘final girls’

So what challenges did the role of Sally Hardesty – originally portrayed by the late Marilyn Burns – bring 48 years on?

"The thing was, in my blissful ignorance, had no idea of just how iconic that role was. I didn’t even know about the trope of the ‘final girl’ had such a culture around it.

"I’m quite interested in creating links, but just with her look. I did explore trying to look similar to her, but it just didn’t work, so I knew I had to create my own Sally.

“You don’t get so-called character development in the original. The Sawyer family is the closest you get to it, really.

"So I didn’t think to much of it as a massive challenge. I do enjoy reading the comments on the trailer though, they say ‘oh she just wants to be Lawrie’ but I haven’t seen Halloween, so I can’t really comment on that!”

But for someone now destined to be immersed in horror history, what does Fouéré believe makes the perfect horror villain?

The ultimate horror villain

"There are very haunting moments in many films. I can’t say I liked it, but what had had a big effect on me was the very first The Omen movie. When I saw that, I had to make sure I didn’t walk the streets alone. I had to have a guy I could hang onto, and I had to go home when it was bright.

"There’s some psychological, deep, disturbing films too, but I think it comes down to what you can see – and what you can’t.

"What is interesting about Leatherface is that you never see his face. Someone asked me what it was like playing the part of the movie where Sally and Leatherface meet again, but it’s a weird one because she never sees his face.

"I think the best horrors come down to what you can see. I think the perfect horror villain is someone you don’t see properly, someone you can only feel or the shadow under the door but you know it’s them, or that. It feeds into our most primal fears.”

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is released tomorrow (February 18) on Netflix UK.

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