Retro Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

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I am a big fan of this one and I have already written reviews on Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.  I think neither compare to TCM 2.  Something about this one, it could be nostalgia.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was the first of the series I got to see.  After enjoying my first horror movie, ever, my mom rented a bunch and TCM 2 was one of them.  I was very entertained, even though I was only 6 when I saw TCM 2.  This one had, a hero, kind of and the image of Chop Top picking his skin away with a hangar was stuck in my head forever.

So this film is a follow up to one of the more iconic horror movies of all-time, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It comes in the “decade of the sequel” and 12 years after the original.  I think one of the reason I approve it so much, it is directed by Tobe Hooper.  That is odd, most directors of horror movies don’t come back and play in the world they create.  There are some, but not many.  With Tobe Hooper at the helm, it helped the movie feel like a part of the first.  The subsequent sequels would be more of a departures and less like the original.  I am glad he got to dig in for a second round.  Of  course TCM 2 is not as strong as the original, but it is still great.

So the film picks up 13 years after the first.  It begins with a couple idiots driving to a football game in and shooting off their gun.  They call in to Stretch’s radio show and show how awesome they are.  Leatherface eventually shows up and kills these dicks, the entire event is recorded on Stretch’s show.  Later, Lefty Enright shows up to investigate as his niece was a victim of a chainsaw wielding psycho.  Chop Top drops in to see Stretch to tell her how big of a fan he is and it gets creepy.   Chop Top was stationed in Vietnam during the first film and is the twin of the Hitchhiker from the first film, probably creepier than his bro.

The Sawyer family has taken refuge in an old abandon carnival, cave place. The cook or Drayton wins the chili cook off, of course his secret recipe and Leatherface is still terrorizing people with that damned chainsaw. This one took a different approach where it really seemed to rely more on gore and black comedy. Which I love, where the original was so bleak, this one is so much fun.  When I say black comedy, just pay attention to the family. Also new characters are a part of the film, like “the hitchhiker’s twin brother Chop Top play be Bill Moseley as I mentioned. I love Bill Moseley and if you ask me he really stole the show in this film,  Moseley is a very underrated actor and his role as Chop Top was the one thing about this film that always stuck in my mind.

I really like the female lead, Stretch played by Caroline Williams, she was cool and had to deal with Leatherface a lot and Chop Top, not to mention, check out the picture below. Then we have Lefty Enright, Dennis Hopper, now this guy is a hard ass, he brought not one but an arsenal of chainsaws to the final fight, holy crap.  It was more like an action movie ending, a couple of samurai fighting to the death.  Another way to tie the second to the first, Lefty is the Uncle to Sally and Franklin for the original movie.

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This film is not scary, when I first saw it as a kid, it scared the hell out of me, but as the years have passed, not so much. I recommend this to everyone and if your a horror fan it is a must for your collection.  Scream Factory has a great Blu Ray collector’s edition available, which I totally recommend, hell anything from Scream Factory is quality.   The cover art is great.

From the original 4 movies, which sequel is the best or your favorite?  For me, it is this one, it was not too serious and it is a lot of fun.

IMDB.com rates it at 5.5

Rotten Tomatoes sucks, but it has a 44% rating

I give it a rating of 7.0

On a side note, this movie was also produced by Cannon films.  They made some crazy ass movies back in the 70s and 80s.  Originally Tobe Hooper was just going to produce it but he couldn’t find a director the film budget would afford.

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About Ray Marek III 227 Articles
I am a lifelong horror fan. I have written for a few web sites, Kung-Fu Comrades, Nightfall Unlimited and Rage of Rayzor. Freddy's Revenge was the first Horror Film I watched, I was 5. When my mom found out I liked horror films, she began challenging me. Soon to follow were the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead. Horror is in my blood, I want to share that with you...my blood...horror. I write unpublished comics. Lifelong dream is to write comics for a major comic book publisher or build my own comic book company.