Sheriff Hoyt in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Photo: New Line Cinema)
3. Sheriff Hoyt (2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Typically in the films of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, Leatherface is the lead villain. Wearing human skin masks and running around with a chainsaw, he’s certainly a horrifying figure. But when the remake premieres in 2003, Leatherface actually takes a back seat to a scarier villain.
In that movie, a group of teenagers pick up a traumatized hitchhiker who kills herself in their van. Looking for the police, they find a deranged officer calling himself Sheriff Hoyt, played R. Lee Ermey. The cop turns out to be much scarier than Leatherface, threatening and then torturing the unlucky teens.
Of course, it turns out that Sheriff Hoyt is really a part of Leatherface’s cannibalistic family. They’re all working together to lure victims to their territory where they can kill and eat them. But while Leatherface may give his victims fairly quick deaths with either a chainsaw or a hammer, “Hoyt” takes far greater pleasure in torturing them first— mentally and physically.
The sheriff is killed in the movie. But he is such a great character that the prequel film brings him back to expand his story further. As a result, that prequel is surprisingly very good.