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Nov 04

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II

texaschainsaw2Genre: Horror
Year: 1986
Country: USA

aka: Texas Chainsaw 2

Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow, Bill Moseley, Bill Johnson

 

After a decade of silence… the buzz is back!

 

Vanita “Stretch” Brock works as a DJ at a small radio station in Dallas and one night she gets a call from two bratty high school seniors that are having fun by doing some fast driving while intoxicated on the highway.

Stretch records them while they are brutally attacked by someone and this recorded tape will put her in great danger by a twisted and demented family of meat loving cannibals. Her only help comes in a former Texas Ranger nicknamed Left, who has his own reasons for going up against this family of butchers.

It would take incredible twelve years between the first Texas Chainsaw and the first sequel, an unheard of break today when it comes to popular horror films that made money. The idea of churning out sequels for a quick buck started in the eighties though, especially with the slasher icons such as Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger. It’s no surprise that they thought this might work for the Texas Chainsaw story aswell, since the original after all has one of the most interesting and iconic killer in the Leatherface character.

Tobe Hooper didn’t exactly set the cinematic world on fire after delivering the original Texas Chainsaw film (although I do like a few of his films) and his career wasn’t going so great at the time he decided to make this sequel. He was originally only supposed to produce it, but ended up also doing the directing due to budget restrains.

Instead of trying to replicate the brutal atmosphere of the original, Hooper did a ballsy move by doing this with a lot more black comedy (it can be argued that there is plenty of that in the original though), making it very much a product of its time. He gets some good help from Tom Savini with the gore effects and there are plenty of it to keep the gorehounds happy. They could have done a better job at the new mask Leatherface is using though, it looks way to cartoonish for me even if it isn’t supposed to be as raw and disturbing as the original film.

Speaking of good old Leatherface, he has been reduced to a childlike monster here. He shows a softer side here and even has a little crush on the Stretch character. You even get the feeling that he is only doing harm because of his upbringing and that he isn’t that bad of a guy after all. Very different from every other film with the character, that’s for sure.

On the “good guys” side we got Caroline Williams as a tough southern girl in Stretch and Dennis Hopper as Lefty. Hopper plays Lefty as mad as he can and he seems to be enjoying himself here. Even though they don’t interact that much, they do make up for a pretty good team. On the other side we have Bill Moseley in his legendary portrayal of Chop Top. He walks a fine line between being hilarious and also creepy at the same time.

The only actor that came back from the original film is Jim Siedow who reprises his role as “The Cook”. He is still great in his role and it is nice to see someone come back from the original film. Bill Johnson plays Leatherface and well… he’s no Gunnar Hansen (if you for some reason did not know, he played Leatherface in the original).

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 doesn’t try to emulate what made the original so unique and great. Instead, this one is a fun 80’s horror film with plenty of comedy in it. If you can accept it for what it is then you have a very entertaining film to enjoy with a couple of beers. It might not be what people wanted back in 1986, but it is exactly what you’ll want if you feel nostalgic and want to revisit the mid-80’s.

 

 ★★★½☆ 

 

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