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          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

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          - 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, TX.

          - 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.




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