The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II (1986)
Director(s): Tobe Hooper
Writer(s): L.M. Kit Carson, Tobe Hooper
Starring: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Bill Johnson, Bill Moseley
Oh the curse of success! As much as I’d like to say I was speaking about yours truly, the FearTASTIC Vault Keeper, I speak of horror classics that fall into the pressures of making a sequel. I find myself a fan of horror sequels for the most part; although I respect the classic movies that started it all, I like to use this vault to introduce new horror flicks to a general public that could use a good scare or plead mercy to the courts of horror to take another look at movies that are found to be failures in the horror realm.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II was doomed from the beginning; the original was a ground – breaking classic that shocked as much as it did suspense and shock in some of the most riveting horror scenes of all time but where to go from there? The problem with being so ground breaking a lot of the time is trying to chase that dragon again in order to satisfy fans of the first movie but hopefully ring in some new folks who may think the first movie was just hype. First off, I’d like to acknowledge that from the standpoint of how the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre holds up as being one of the classics, this sequel is NO WHERE NEAR the original’s grittiness and shock value. What made the original classic so successful, the sequel pretty much ignores and moves on as its own entity and that my FearTASTIC friends, is the beauty of this movie.
This movie is definitely in the realm of guilty pleasure for my taste but imagine if you will that this movie was a standalone flick about a psychotic family of killers who go around slaying folks while making deliciously awful one – liners while delivering on gore in a way only movies from the 80’s can, not sounding too bad, right? One could make the argument that it may be generic but definitely not out of the realm of what’s been enjoyed in past horror flicks. Now I shall take a bold stance and even say that in the realm of horror flicks containing dark humor, which this flick delivers pretty well! I enjoyed the tone of the movie which is a bloody, horror ride filled with the zany humor to mask the sheer carnage that this flick brings at a fast pace! You have to give Tobe Hooper credit for wanting to do something different with a sequel and sticking to his guns that this sequel will not simply mirror the first but break everything that made the first memorable.
The film follows the events of the first flick with the cannibal family being MIA and the lone survivor deemed catatonic. An ex – state trooper looking for revenge, Lefty Enright (played brilliantly by legend Dennis Hopper), contacts a local radio DJ who has proof that the cannibalistic family is still out and about. Entertaining gore ensues and by the time we meet the family we are already primed for a flick that adds dark humor, mostly provided by Leather face’s brother, Chop Top (played by Bill Moseley, one of my favorite icons in horror history)! The climax of this flick accumulates into a battle between Lefty and the family of killers, which in my opinion is executed to gory perfection. The action sequences for this movie are surprisingly entertaining and the gore that accompanies this movie is over the top, which is perfect for the entertaining brand of horror I enjoy!
I remember the first thing I noticed about this flick’s particular brand of humor is that the poster reminded me of something but I could not figure out what until I realized that right off the bat, this flick was pure parody. The movie poster used for this flick has the whole Leatherface crew posing as the teens from The Breakfast Club movie! This pretty much sets the tone for what I was in store for and I must admit when I first saw this flick, I was confused about how big the tonal shift was from the first movie but I couldn’t help but still be thoroughly entertained.
This movie’s only flaw is that is it connected to a horror icon that defined a horror sub – genre that is still enjoyed today. I implore you however my FearTASTIC friends is to give this flick another watch and forget that the first was so iconic, rather see this film as the continuing adventures of a blood thirsty band of misfits going all over Texas creating havoc everywhere they go! Watch on guys and ghouls!
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.