Sally Hardesty is a fictional character in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. She was portrayed by actress Marilyn Burns in the The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and was later featured in a cameo appearance in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995) as a patient in a mental hospital. After a series of grave robberies, Hardesty, her paraplegic brother Franklin Hardesty, and their friends travel across Texas to investigate upon hearing reports that her grandfather's grave may have been vandalized, and are forced to face Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) and his cannibalistic family.
Filming was particularly challenging for Burns as she endured numerous injuries throughout the notoriously difficult shoot. In one such scene, Hansen cut her index finger with a razor due to the crew being unable to get theatrical blood to come out of the tube of a malfunctioned prop. Burns's stage clothes were so drenched with fake blood that they were solid by the last day of shooting.
The character has become a pop culture figure and is commonly referenced by film scholars when discussing the final girl theory; a trope of which Hardesty is credited for being the catalyst. Outside of film, Hardesty is featured in merchandise based on the films and is referenced in the 2017 video game Dead by Daylight.
In the upcoming revival of the series Hardesty will be portrayed by Olwen Fouéré.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
In The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Sally and her paraplegic brother, Franklin, travel with three friends—Jerry, Kirk, and Pam—to visit the grave of the Hardesty's grandfather after reports of grave robbing in the area. Afterwards, they decide to visit the old Hardesty family homestead. After they arrive, Kirk, Pam and Jerry are all killed by Leatherface. When Franklin and Sally go searching for their missing friends, Leatherface appears and kills Franklin with a chainsaw while Sally runs to the Sawyer house. She runs upstairs and finds the desiccated bodies of an old couple. She jumps out of the second story window to escape Leatherface and runs to the gas station.
Drayton Sawyer ties Sally up, gags her and forces her into the back of his truck and drives to the house. Sally is tied to a chair at a dinner table and Leatherface and the hitchhiker bring the desiccated body of the old man downstairs. They decide that he should be the one to kill Sally, but after several failed attempts, she manages to jump through another window and escape. She reaches the road and jumps into the back of a pickup truck that stops to help her, escaping Leatherface.
Although she does not physically appear in the following two sequels, Sally's aftermath from the first film is mentioned in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), which identifies her as Sally Hardesty-Enright. The narrator states that Sally described her traumatic encounter with Leatherface and his family as feeling like she had "broken out of a window in hell", and it is revealed that she had went into catatonia after revealing her ordeal to the police.
In the intro speech for Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), the narrator states that Sally died in a private health care facility in 1977; this is contradicted in the fourth film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995), where Sally is briefly shown being wheeled through a hospital on a gurney while still in a coma. Marilyn Burns reprised her role for this film.
Sally appears in a flashback scene in the 2013 film Texas Chainsaw 3D, which serves as a direct sequel to the 1974 film.
In other media
In 2017, Fright-Rags released a T-shirt featuring a design of Sally and Leatherface. Although not playable, Hardesty is referenced in the video game Dead by Daylight.