The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
What’s It About: The Sawyer family is BACK and in hiding by murdering people on highways in Texas and winning widely covered cooking competitions.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- A Cannon Film!!
- Was John Larroquette too busy for a voiceover?
- This is my second Tobe Hooper movie of this year’s Schlocktoberfest. Completely unplanned. In his memory, hopefully this is much better than that piece of shit The Funhouse.
- Ok this guy with the novelty sunglasses on is the most annoying character in movie history. Worse than Sophie in Sophie’s Choice. Make up your friggin’ mind already, jeez.
- I don’t remember much about ’80s phones, but someone could tie up your line by not hanging up? What if you were talking to someone who was on a phone on top of Mount Everest and they dropped dead, would your phone be tied up forever? I’d like to think so.
- These assholes have been driving around and screech-laughing for hours? Why do they think driving through the country is such a blast?
- Stretch is the Final Girl of this movie. She hosts a radio request show that these two dipshits tied up the phone line with. And she’s named after the popular knife-throwing game from April Fool’s Day.
- Remember the really ominous and gritty grindhouse tone at the beginning of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre? This is the exact opposite of that. This is the most 1986 movie ever made. It’s basically a remake but through a hyper ’80s filter of bright colors and stupid cocaine.
- Leatherface in this just looks like a dumb fat kid with a big head and a bad haircut.
- How did Dennis Hopper get roped into this? I mean, this is the same year as Blue Velvet and Hoosiers. I’m going to assume he owed a lot in back-taxes, or he had some odd hobby collecting mummies of children who fell into tar pits.
- Why is Stretch carrying around a purse the size of a Volkswagen Beetle?
- This is not a judgment, just an observation: in every movie I’ve ever seen about Texas or Texans, I’ve never seen one eat a vegetable.
- Drayton, the Sawyer family patriarch from the original is now the two-time chili champion! He credits his success to the prime human meat he uses, which he gets from Frank Reynolds.
- Leatherface’s chainsaw skills have really dulled since the original.
- Chop Top is a weird character. He has a similar look and speech pattern as the hitchhiker brother from the original, but he got obliterated by a truck (and he’s supposed to be the rotten corpse Leatherface carries around during this movie). So it’s just kind of confusing. And where was he during the first movie? Summer camp?
- Did Leatherface just have an orgasm?
- Why is Lefty (Dennis Hopper) also using a series of chainsaws? Is there a worse weapon to use for an element of surprise attack? But his average chainsaw skills really impress the chainsaw store owner, even though sawing wood is what chainsaws do.
- Lefty is supposed to be the uncle of Sally and Franklin from the original (although he calls them brother and sister later on) and has been hunting down the Sawyer clan for over a decade. That seems like a really long time for failure. Especially considering that they’re still in Texas, and Papa Sawyer runs a business and competes in chili cook-offs that are covered by the media, and they’re also killing people at their leisure. With a chainsaw.
- To rev up: after Leatherface and his brother attacked the radio station and killed Stretch’s engineer, LG. Leatherface went sweet on her and she chased them to some kind of abandoned amusement park. Lefty followed her there and starts chainsawing down all the support beams. Not much else really happens besides that. A ton of rambling and chainsaw noises. Seriously the last 45 minutes is two scenes stretched (pun intended) way the fuck out.
- It’s pretty weird that Stretch is really the only protagonist character in this movie. Since the two jerkoffs in the beginning there’s only been one death.
- Grandpa looks like Judge Valkenheiser from Nothing but Trouble. Complete with penis nose.
- There’s not a ton of dialogue, and what there is is basically gibberish.
- This is what happens when you give a director a blank check and a pile of Bolivian marching powder and just let him do whatever the hell he wants. Oh and it’s a Cannon Film.
- The music is unbelievably grating and repetitive.
- A lot of these scenes might be disturbing if the movie’s tone wasn’t so fucking goofy.
- Horror Movie 101: When a bad guy is chasing you, always seek a higher elevation. Unless you’re running from birds, then you need to dig deep underground. But then your problem is C.H.U.D.s.
Scare Level: There are a few jump scares from Leatherface and some creepy moments from the rest of the Sawyer clan, but they’re dulled down by the tone of the movie.
Gore Level: One of the few saving graces of this picture. Once again some excellent work from Tom Savini, the Human Gorenado.
Nudity Level: None, but it’s very suggestive when Leatherface dry humps Stretch with his chainsaw. It’s off. It’s an extension of his penis. Which he’s never used. It’s complicated. But it’s not.
Best Line: Drayton Sawyer (after Lefty gave him a chainsaw to the rectum): “Sure took care of my hems! (as in hemorrhoids)”
Best Scene: I really like Bill Mosely’s performance as Chop Top, and something happens here that works really well, and I LOVE Leatherface’s chainsaw dance.
Worst Scene: The entire beginning when these two donkeyshits drive around and screech and TIE UP THE PHONE!
Overall: Another Tobe Hooper triumph! TCM 2 is pretty lousy, BUT, it’s not the worst movie of all time as was believed for many years after its release. It’s ok. I guess with a sequel to a movie that was considered a classic and years after the fact you can either try to capitalize on what that movie did right and up the ante (which would leave you vulnerable to negative comparisons and people saying you just did more of the same) or go the complete opposite direction into basically what is an absurd farce, which is what Hooper decided to do. And the results did not turn out so hot. The original TCM is has a look and feel that was very unique and still freaks people out to this day. This movie is corny and has a look and feel like every other horror movie from the mid-’80s. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it never really goes anywhere and just rambles toward a climax, like Leatherface and his Freudian chainsaw.
Score: 4.75 Dennis Hopper Regrets (out of 10)