Film Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part 2 (1986)

Release Date: August 22nd, 1986
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Written by: L. M. Kit Carson
Music by: Tobe Hooper, Jerry Lambert
Cast: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow, Bill Johnson, Bill Moseley, Lou Perryman

Cannon Films, 101 Minutes

texas_chainsaw_massacre_2Review:

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is not as good of a film as its predecessor but I still prefer it to the original. Maybe that is a controversial stance, considering that most fans of the original loathed the sequel, but I don’t care.

I find this one to be the most entertaining of the series and I like that it is a gory dark comedy that parodies itself. Besides, the first film didn’t have the blood and guts one would anticipate with a film featuring its name. This one, more than makes up for its predecessor, if blood and guts are your thing.

I’m not a huge gore hound but the way it is used in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, is fantastic. It is deliberately over the top, almost to mock the critics of the first film that didn’t get the violence they felt they were promised. This movie pretty much states, in the most bold way possible, “Here you go! Here’s your fucking gore!” The scene where Lefty knocks a hole in the wall, only to discover that the whole place is full of human viscera, is enough to make most people wince.

I think it was over a lot of people’s heads that this was satire. It certainly wasn’t marketed that way when it was released and it may have caught people completely off guard or just pissed them off. When I saw this as a kid, I was grossed out, but I loved the humorous approach. And while I didn’t understand that it was a parody, at the time, I appreciated that it upped the ante a thousand times over.

It also develops the psychotic cannibal family’s story more. You really didn’t know much about them in the first movie but now you have a better idea of what they are. You also see Leatherface, as a character, more clearly. The introduction of Bill Moseley’s Chop Top is a great addition to the family and this became one of his most iconic horror roles.

The opening sequence of this film, as nonsensical as it is, is still one of my favorite openings to any horror film. I never understood why the vehicles drove at the same speed, albeit slowly, or why the radio station couldn’t hang up the phone but it still works for me. Maybe it was the awesome Oingo Boingo track that accompanied the violent and bizarre scene.

The music in this film was really good. Well, the rock tunes were. The actual score is pretty horrid. It sounds like a ten year-old with a synthesizer trying to pound away with scary sound effects. It kind of fits the satirical nature of the film though and it blends in well, as the movie progresses.

As far as the sets go, I much preferred the family living in an old defunct theme park, as opposed to the gross farm house from all the other movies. The evil lair was surreal and the scenes of Caroline Williams running through its bizarre halls was infinitely cooler than all the other girls, in all the other films, running through the woods with Leatherface in tow.

The scenes in the radio station also provide a cooler atmosphere than the creepy house.

Dennis Hopper said that this was the worst film of his career but he’s an idiot if he thought that Super Mario Bros. was any better.

I like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I like it better than all the others in the franchise. Again, the first movie is better, artistically. However, this one is just a lot more fun and insane.

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