For 14 years,
former Texas Ranger Lefty Enright has been obsessed with finding the psychotic
mass-murderers who killed his brothers children. But today he's in luck.
A tough-as-nails late-night disc jockey has caught the ghouls on tape in
the act of slicing and dicing a couple of fun-loving rich kids. When she
volunteers to help, Lefty persuades her to play the tape over the air to
lure the maniacs out of hiding. But what she doesn't know is that she's
the only witness to their butchery who hasn't been carved up for somebody's
supper - yet!
"You have one choice, boy: sex or the saw! Sex is, well, nobody knows. But the saw, the saw is family!"
- Drayton Sawyer
The second "Texas
Chainsaw Massacre" film is one of the better horror sequels of the 1980's.
Given the generally low quality of genre films from the period, especially
sequels, that's not usually saying a whole lot. Nonetheless, despite its
flaws, it's certainly worth the effort for horror fans. It's not as good
as the original: that is asking too much; it was an unique, one-of-a-kind
film, one that is perhaps best left alone. Still, the sequel does not tarnish
its memory. On the contrary, it revitalizes the concept with a fresh approach.
Director Tobe Hooper realized that even he would be hard-pressed to outdo
his own groundbreaking film, so he wisely takes the material in a whole
new direction altogether. The first "Massacre" was a grim, bleak horror
film; the second is an over-the-top dark comedy. There's much more gore
than the original, but it's so bizarre and frenetic that it's impossible
to take seriously. It's done with so much panache that we can't help but
hop on and go along for the ride.
The funny thing
about it is that it actually does a decent job of making Leatherface sympathetic.
This odd plot thread starts with a symbolic chainsaw/phallic symbol sequence
that is absolutely priceless; it's intense and bizarre, the way a TCM film
should be. So the guy's not evil, just misunderstood? That's right, and
it works. He is actually capable of thinking of another human being as
more than just fodder for the meat-grinder. No wonder this guy is killing
people; it's his only outlet for sexual frustration. Makes sense, in light
of some of his father's comments.
What can I say
about the acting? It's all over-the-top, like the movie itself. You get
to see an insane Dennis Hopper in a chainsaw duel with Leatherface; how
can you go wrong with that? Absurd, but compelling in a bizarre way. Hopper
can always be counted on to spice up a movie, and he certainly doesn't
let us down, although he's equally effective in his quieter moments. Likewise,
Jim Siedow and Bill Johnson are clearly enjoying themselves as members
of the nuttiest family on the planet, and Bill Moseley is so uninhibited
it's surreal. In contrast, Caroline Williams provides a center of normalcy
as the heroine--until she also loses it all in the end.
This is not
an unqualified recommendation, though. The first half-hour is fairly tedious,
with little action to break the monotony. I know that some scenes were
removed for time and content reasons, but the film does suffer for that.
From what I hear, they originally depicted some more Leatherface action,
which will hopefully find its way into a future special edition. As it
is, the film is rough going at first, then it thankfully picks up with
a terrifying sequence. From that point on, the pace rarely flags, although
it gets a bit exhausting after a while. Hooper hadn't lost his touch. 8/10
- A poster can be seen on the wall in the radio station for the
band "Fine Young Cannibals."
- The "family group shot," as seen in the advertisements, posters
and video covers, uses the same positioning as the promotional group shot
for the movie The Breakfast Club.
- When the BBFC notified Cannon that at least 20 minutes, and possibly
25, would have to be trimmed, Cannon aborted its plans for a planned U.K.
release in 1990.
- Director, Tobe Hooper and co-writer of the original Texas Chainsaw
Massacre, Kim Henkel originally had an idea for a sequel that would
feature an entire town of cannibals. The title of that sequel was to be Beyond
The Valley Of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it never came to fruition.
- Final film of Jim Siedow.
- The controversial "butcher cover" of the Beatles album "Yesterday
and Today" can be seen hanging in the radio station.
- The chainsaw used in this movie can be found at Planet Hollywood in Dallas,
- Tobe Hooper (the director) can be seen in a cameo frolicking during
a party scene.
- When originally submitted to the MPAA, it received an "X" certificate,
prompting the filmmakers to release it as "unrated".
- Jim Siedow is the only actor in this movie that was in the original.