Film Review - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Starring - Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow, Bill Moseley, Bill Johnson, Lou Perry | Directed by Tobe Hopper | MGM DVD WS Unrated 89min 1986

Review By Xmortis

Director Tobe Hopper invites us once again to peer at the dark side of Texas and into the weird and psycho world of Leatherface as we join him, the Cook and Chop-Top in the new family business. So bring your appetite for chili, and let's take a look at this sequel to the 1974 classic.

Stretch is a DJ for a popular rock radio station that captures the deaths of two callers on her request line by the killer known as Leatherface. In town, Lefty Enright, uncle to Sally and Franklin Hardesty and a former ranger, wants to capture and kill those responsible for the murders taking place in Texas. The Sawyer clan now lives in an abandoned amusement park, and the Cook (Drayton) is now in the catering business selling his human BBQ and chili all around town and soon at the big football game. But when Lefty talks Stretch into playing the kill call live on the air, she and her coworker L.G. become the targets of Leatherface and his brother Chop-Top (a vet with a metal plate in his head) who want the tape and want them dead. The attack leaves Stretch's co-worker at death's door and Leatherface with a crush on her, which saves her life. The Sawyer clan heads home as Lefty and Stretch follow and get lost in the maze. Stretch is found and forced to eat dinner with the family as Leatherface's new "girlfriend." Meanwhile Lefty spends time trying to bring the whole place down. After he finds Stretch and saves her from the hammer what follows is a showdown between a crazed family of killers and a crazed man who lost it all when his family was taken away. The result is chainsaw duels, hammer blows to the head, the return of the blood-drinking Grandpa, the hitchhiker's corpse as a puppet and the death of many of the Sawyer family.

This is the cult classic sequel that turns Leatherface and his brothers into the three stooges with killer instincts, and weirdly enough it works really well, adding a whole new side to the Sawyers. While many fans disliked the direction this film took with the characters at the time, over the years it's grown on fans and has become one of the biggest cult classics among 80's horror films. The plot is well done; one part horror and one part silly with a DJ and a family member of victims of the first film teaming up to stop the Sawyer family as they prepare for a big sale day of their award winning chili at the big college football game. This time around Bill Johnson plays Leatherface more like a slow goofball killer who is clearly under his older brother, the Cook's control. Johnson does a good job but isn't remotely scary. His mask is also a little more Halloween store looking and does not have the raw look of the original's. Jim Siedow plays Drayton Sawyer, better known as the Cook, and once more turns in an amazing performance. This time around the character is more crazy sadistic, is clearly driven by the love of money and is still the brother who is clearly in charge. Bill Moseley plays Chop-Top, another brother who is a crazy Vietnam Vet with a metal plate in his head, carries the body of his dead brother the Hitchhiker and likes to eat his own flesh around his plate. He's very much an iconic character in the film series just behind the Cook and Leatherface. Mr. Easyrider himself, Dennis Hopper, plays Lefty and turns in one over the top hammy performance that is down right genius. Lastly Caroline Williams plays Stretch and is a great heroine who is smart, sexy and strong when need be. She also rocks some great Daisy Duke shorts that are very eye catching. Sadly the cameo from drive-in movie critic and horror host Joe Bob Briggs was cut from the movie, although you can watch it in the deleted scenes. It was nice to see the corpses of the Hitchhiker and Franklin, really tying this film to the original. The gore is as over the top as the plot, and the red stuff and flesh is shed throughout its run time making for one great sinister watch. The soundtrack is amazing and is one that you should check out on cassette or vinyl. More over the top then the original with more blood and gore then the original, this a great fitting sequel that over the years has gained a huge cult statues and rightfully so.

This Gruesome Edition DVD has some great extras that were not on MGM's original barebones release. Extras include director's commentary, actor commentary, deleted scenes, trailers, still gallery and a look at the making of this iconic sequel. All are great and worth watching and listening to.

Many fans of the original film seemed not to care for this film when it was released in 1986, and the film did poorly in the theaters due to the original rating of NC-17. Years later horror fans have warmed up to it and made it one of the 80's most loved horror sequels. If you like the original and like horror comedies, then part two is for you. I have loved this film from day one and had the pleasure of seeing it on the big screen several years ago at Horrorama. I say this sequel is worth a watch and a buy for sure.

Next up New Line Cinema takes a swing with the chainsaw in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III!