Chop Top (Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
|The Texas Chainsaw Massacre character|
|First appearance||The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2|
|Created by||L.M. Kit Carson|
|Portrayed by||Bill Moseley|
|Relatives||Bubba Sawyer/Leatherface (brother); Drayton Sawyer (brother); Nubbins Sawyer (brother; deceased)|
|Classification||Mass murderer, Butcher|
Chop Top is a fictional character from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise; created by Tobe Hooper and L. M. Kit Carson, Chop Top makes his first appearance (portrayed by Bill Moseley) in the film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) as one of the film's villains and the main source of its black humor.
A member of the cannibalistic Sawyer family, Chop Top, whose actual name has never been revealed, is a deranged and sadistic individual, gleefully murdering people when given the chance; possessing a hippie-like mentality and view on life, though his remarks about flashbacks and napalm suggest that he is a Vietnam veteran, Chop Top adorns himself in a variety of multi-colored and tattered clothing and claims that music is his life.
Throughout The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, pieces of Chop Top's past are revealed. The Hitchhiker states in the first film that the Sawyers work at a slaughterhouse, but Drayton later explains in the sequel that new machines were installed that would largely replace most of the workers with less experience. Grandpa subsequently quit his job in protest, leading to the rest of his family members being fired. Apparently at some point in time, Grandma, Great Grandma, and the parents of the four brothers all died sending the family into poverty.
Having no other skills (save for Drayton's cooking), no money, and no food, the family was reduced to cannibalism. Chop Top, Hitchhiker, Leatherface and Drayton and possibly Grandpa when he was younger (this is more than likely as in the first film Drayton says that he "killed 60 in 5 minutes" strongly implying that he is a ex mass murderer), began killing people for "the meat" used in their chili sold to the general public at Drayton's Gas Station/Restaurant(though it is suggested that Drayton did not kill anyone himself and left it to his three younger brothers while he did all the cooking). Chop Top explains that he survived a major head wound due to a "lucky Gook with a machete" in the Vietnam War (where he was stationed during the events of the first film) which led to a metal plate being grafted onto his skull. At some point in time the plate became exposed (it is implied that this was due to him picking at it with a heated wire coat hanger, as in the film he can occasionally be seen stabbing himself with one in the exposed section of the head making it even more obvious (he also seems to enjoy eating the skin that comes off) (hence his nicknames Chop Top and Plate-Head), and is sent back to the U.S.
Rejoining his family, who are on the run from the authorities for the murders they've committed, Chop Top and his family hide out at an abandoned amusement park located in Dallas called "Texas Battle Land". Chop Top fashions his twin brother Nubbins’ corpse into a crude, marionette-like form, which he carries around with him and treats as if it were alive.
In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Chop Top first appears with his brother Bubba "Leatherface" Sawyer (Bill Johnson) attacking a pair of drunken motorists named Buzz and Rick on a bridge with their pick-up truck. Chop Top and Leatherface kill the two drivers, (The top of Buzz's head is cut off by Leatherface and Rick is killed in the resulting car crash), not realizing that their attack on them was being recorded at a radio station Rick and Buzz had called into using a mobile phone prior to the attack. When DJ Vanita "Stretch" Brock (Caroline Williams) broadcasts the recording of the attack on the drivers, the two brothers who had heard it on the radio (Chop Top covering his exposed metal plate with a wig) break into the radio station intent on killing Vanita. This plan ultimately fails, as Leatherface has become infatuated with Vanita. He tricks Chop Top into believing he's killed her when the two leave the station, taking an injured co-worker of Vanita's (whom was attacked by Chop Top with a hammer and thought dead until later on in the film) with them.
When Chop Top and his other brother Drayton (Jim Siedow) discover that Vanita is still alive after finding her in the family's home in an abandoned amusement park called the Texas Battle Land (bought by Chop Top using government checks) the three brothers take her captive and decide to let the decrepit patriarch of the Sawyer family, Grandpa Sawyer (Ken Evert), kill her with help from Chop Top. Vanita is saved when protagonist Lieutenant "Lefty" Enright Hardesty (uncle to Sally and Franklin from the first film) (Dennis Hopper) bursts on to the scene and engages in a chainsaw duel with Leatherface. The battle between the Sawyers and Lefty reaches a climax when a hand grenade, is set off by Drayton, explodes, killing Grandpa, Lefty, Leatherface and Drayton.
Narrowly escaping the grenade explosion, Chop Top follows Vanita, who had also escaped, to the top of a Matterhorn attraction in the Texas Battle Land, which the Sawyers have turned into a shrine known as "Chainsaw Heaven". Slashing Vanita several times with a straight razor, Chop Top evidently meets his end when Vanita, stumbling upon the mummified corpse of Great-Grandma Sawyer, tears a chainsaw out of her hands and attacks Chop Top with it, sending him plummeting into the ruins of Texas Battle Land.
All American Massacre, a short film currently in development hell, reveals that Chop Top survived the fall into Texas Battle Land and was found three years later, arrested, found insane and placed in a mental institution where he had remained for the last 10 years; taking place 13 years after the second film, the film was going to have him being interviewed from his prison cell by a tabloid television journalist, narrated by Chop Top, All American Massacre was to reveal, via flashbacks, the origin of the Sawyer family's cannibalism and what their real names are. The trailer for the film also indicates that he was in Vietnam for less than a full year as it says that "It's been 25 years since he last saw his twin brother alive" and the second film takes place 13 years after the first totalling 26 years.
Though Chop Top does not appear in the 1991 Leatherface by Northstar Comics, a reference to him is made in the form of his catchphrase "Lick my plate!", which can be seen spray painted on the side of Alfredo Sawyer's Last Chance Gas Station.
Chop Top was completely disregarded in Topps Comics 1995 Jason vs. Leatherface comic miniseries, which featured only the members of the Sawyer family from the 1974 film and original relatives (all dead); although elements of him appear to have amalgamated into the Hitchhiker character, who refers to Leatherface as Bubba and utilizes the phrase "Dog will hunt!" several times, much like Chop Top.
Bill Moseley still regularly appears under the guise of Chop Top at horror conventions and when performing with his band the Cornbugs.
A statuette of Chop Top has been released by Mezco Toyz; the figure is seven inches tall and has twelve points of articulation, and comes packaged with accessories such as alternate weapons and the puppet corpse. A figure of Chop Top has also been released by NECA, featuring his iconic coat hanger, hammer, Sonny Bono wig, ligher and razor.  A mini-bust of Chop Top has also been released.
Concept and creation
Chop Top was absent from the original script of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 by L. M. Kit Carson; in his place was the Hitchhiker, who was redesigned with a metal plate on his head, which gave him the new name "Platehead". This version of the Hitchhiker would later evolve into Chop Top.
Bill Moseley was chosen for the role of Chop Top after director Tobe Hooper saw a fan film and parody he created, The Texas Chain Saw Manicure, in which Moseley portrayed the Hitchhiker, a favorite character of his and his inspiration when acting as Chop Top. The upcoming documentary In Search of Darkness will feature and exclusive behind the scenes story on how Moseley landed the role of Chop Top.
Reception and Legacy
The critical reception of the film itself was mixed, due to the drastic tonal shift between this instalment and the original. Despite the mixed critical reception, the character of Chop Top and the portrayal by Moseley was welcomed by fans. The film has since become a cult favorite, leading to Chop Top becoming one of the more recognisable horror antagonists from the 1980’s.
Chop Top has become Moseley’s most iconic performance as well as the actor’s personal favorite. During the celebration of the film’s 31st anniversary, Moseley paid tribute to Chop Top for kickstarting his career stating, “And finally to Choptop, who’s with me every day, and without whom I might just be pumping your gas (at least in Oregon)! Dog will hunt!” When Moseley was asked to return to the Texas Chainsaw franchise, this time portraying Drayton Sawyer in Texas Chainsaw 3D originally portrayed by the late Jim Siedow, Moseley took the opportunity, but expressed disappointment that Chop Top would not be returning. Moseley stated "I would love to have done that character [Chop Top], I came close when I did Texas Chainsaw 3D a couple of years ago. I got the call from the producer of that movie saying we want you to play Drayton Sawyer. And I'm just thinking, 'Well that's like asking Moe to come back and play Curly. Or Curly to come back and play Moe, I guess is more accurate." The character was also almost featured in the 2017 prequel film Leatherface. However the character was replaced with the character of Clarice portrayed by Jessica Madsen, who was intended to be an homage to Chop Top.
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