HMM Day 30 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Sawyer family is once more wreaking havoc amongst the great state of Texas. After a radio show broadcasts one of their attacks on live air, Leatherface and his crazy brother Chop-Top decide to pay the DJ named Stretch a visit. But this time a Texas Ranger by the name of Lieutenant “Lefty” Enright is on the case and armed to the teeth with the right kind ammunition to level the playing field against the Sawyers. The massacre of chainsaws will continue!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a 1986 horror film directed by Tobe Hooper and stars Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Bill Johnson, Bill Moseley and Jim Siedow. The film is a direct sequel to the 1974 film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but with a more comical feel to it. It received negative reviews from critiques and pissed off hard core TCM fans.

My Two Sons

Sorry this is coming late. We had a Halloween community egg hunt in our neighborhood. My two boys had to dress up in their costumes. My oldest son wore his Space Jam Tune Squad outfit. It’s kind of a basic Halloween style costume which matches personality. He’s not really into horror stuff and doesn’t go for the more unsavory style . But my youngest son, he’s my little clone. He dressed as Sam from Trick r’ Treat and is faithful to the character to the bitter end. He walks around with the mask prop lollipop that Sam uses to cut the throat of his victim. Why does he do this you ask? He does this because he’s a fanatic for horror and wants to be the best scary kid at the festival.

So here are my two sons, both are great. One doesn’t like horror and the other can’t get enough of it. But guess what! I love both of them! They’re both two different people and that’s just fine. Being a parent has its challenges but one thing I would say is every parent needs to try their best at not wanting their kids to be the same people. It’s wonderful for your kids to be into their own thing and letting them be who they are is kind of rewarding.

It’s kind of like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. While Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a brilliant movie, historical in its own right that paved the way and may mark the very beginning of Bronze Age horror. Without Leatherface then we wouldn’t have Jason, Michael Myers and Freddy! But the sequel is equally as awesome in its own way and deserves more credit. These movies are like my two sons. Sure they share the same DNA, but they’re very different in their own way. I can’t expect one to be like the other and it’s because of that that I can love them both for very special reasons.

OK so I get it, some people don’t love this movie and I get that the original is much better. It is! Something about the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre makes it such a special movie. In the realms of horror history it took the culture by storm and scared the hell out of people. Which is funny because by all standards the movie isn’t as graphic as many people claim to say it is. Sure people get killed but it’s mainly off screen kind of gore. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a film that lives on in infamy. So to make a sequel to one of the most defining films of Bronze Age horror? That isn’t something that can be done easily. But Tobe Hooper wasn’t interested in making the same movie over again. Thus he did something that is missing from movie making today… he took a fucking risk.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is absolutely insane. It takes all the good things about the first film and upgrades the lunacy. Right off the back you know you’re getting something with an entirely different tone. The beginning opens up with these two yuppies driving their car down a street. They’re headed to a party and they are super pumped. So pumped that they are shooting street signs and destroying mail boxes. They’re playing chicken with oncoming traffic and giving us a completely campy demeanor. It’s a vast difference compared to the seriousness of the original movie and that is pretty much the best description of this film.

It isn’t serious at all. The settings are much more exaggerated and so are the characters. You also have an entirely different atmosphere in this movie. Instead of the old farm house in the middle of no where, we’re down in the under-dwellings of an abandoned amusement park. The Sawyers have set up shop down there and the place is like a full time freak show. Dead skeletons are laid out all over the place. They’ve hung lights throughout the tunnels and use construction tubing as a means of transit between caverns. It’s like a sick and twisted version of Batmans cave.

If you thought the original movie was graphic then this will blow your mind. The film is extremely gory and ups the blood and guts to a level where it would make the original shy away. Dudes get their heads, butts and stomachs chainsawed. People are beaten with hammers. You actually see a pretty gross skinning scene where Leatherface Thanksgivings a dudes skin with an electric knife. Just a shit load of slicing and dicing. By all accounts this film is far more disturbing in its own way.

Even the characters are much different. In this film we have Chop-Top, played by Bill Moseley and he is probably the most threatening thing. The dude is insane because he picks at his scalp with a bent hanger. He picks at it revealing a metal plate in his head. I know Leathface is the main draw to these films but Chop-Top truly steals the show. He’s a constant whirlwind that seems to never end. I know the film is supposed to be a parody and laughing is required. But I can’t help but be freaked out.

Then we have Lefty Enright played by Dennis Hopper. If the Sawyer family is an evil cannibalistic family, then Lefty Enright is the equally insane remedy. He may not eat people or be as extreme a murderer, but the man is equally nuts. The ying to the yang if you will. Lefty is a relative of Sally and Franklin and seeking vengeance against the Sawyers. Pretty much to the point where he’s gone insane. He speaks to the Lord in his hand and speaks to no one when it comes to “bringing it down.” Supposedly Dennis Hopper admitted that this was his most hated movie he’s ever done. Which is crazy because he was in 1993’s Super Mario Bros!

All in all, I say give this movie a chance. Sure it’s not as serious of a film as the first. But it is good and one that will make you smile. The mayhem goes on and on, almost to the point where the Sawyers bantering creates its own tone. When you’re down in their lair, they just keep going on and on to the point where you feel a sense of insanity. You know that dinner table scene in the first movie? Well, this is like that the entire time you’re with the Sawyers in this sequel. Moments where it focuses on Lefty or Stretch will be like a breath of fresh air.

I for one love this movie. The production value is pretty cool and to this day it’s one of the best sets I’ve seen in a horror film. I love the idea that the Sawyers have moved their endeavors into a business in which they sell chili made of human meat to the public. Leatherface shows a little tenderness in this film and you have to love his shuffle dance he does when chasing people. The best thing about this movie is the ultimate showdown with Lefty and the Sawyers. I love chainsaw battles and this probably delivers one of the best chainsaw battles we’ve ever seen.

So go ahead and check this movie out and approach it with an open mind. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the humor and still find a disturbing touch that far exceeds the original. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is just a different kind of child to a parent. Sure it may not be like its big brother but it’s still bad ass in it’s very own and absurd way.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. I love that movie. I like it more than I like the original.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nscovell says:

      Yea I have to say it is a much more interesting movie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You ever see a Dennis Hopper movie called “Backtrack?” It’s insane.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. nscovell says:

        Is that the one where he says he’d fuck everything he sees?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think that’s blue velvet. This is one he directed and I guess wrote himself, in which he plays a mob hitman who falls in love with and abducts his target, played by Jodie Foster.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. nscovell says:

        I will have to check that out. Hopper is probably the craziest actor, way before nick cage did wicker man.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. One of the oddest things about it is the casting. Vincent Price, Bob Dylan, Tony Sirico(Pauly from sopranos), Joe Pesci, Charlie Sheen. Dialogue is crazy and Hopper is wild in it.

        Liked by 1 person

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