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Amy Holden Jones
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Young DJ Vantia Block is hosting a music show when two renegade hoodlums phone her and start making trouble. The situation changes rapidly as the kids drive to a passageway and get sawed to pieces by Leatherface while the shocked DJ listens the kids' screams. Local sheriff approaches Block and convinces her to play the recording made from the phone call on radio, hoping that the killers would show up. Written by
Hate me if you want, but I never understood the high regard for the first movie. Yeah, I get the grim documentary tone, and I respect that, but there is only ONE massacre with a chainsaw, and it happens off-screen, while the rest of the film is also virtually bloodless. Nah, it's not something I rate highly.
This bizarre sequel only crossed my radar when I saw it on sale rather cheap and I was surprised by how much I liked it. Taking place 13 years after the first movie it opens with a couple of Yuppies being massacred with a chainsaw (sadly, the only chainsaw massacres in the whole movie) and the case promptly investigated by renegade Texas Ranger 'Lefty' Enright (the brilliant Dennis Hopper). The sound of the killing is caught on tape by radio DJ-type lady 'Stretch', who Lefty uses as bait to lure Leatherface out of the shadows. The trail leads to the labyrinthine catacombs beneath an abandoned amusement park for an epic showdown that doesn't really happen.
The problem begins with the second half in which Dennis Hopper seems to wander off into a different movie and nothing really becomes of his character while Stretch runs screaming from a horny Leatherface. It's a bit disappointing in this regard, but the wonderful set-design and gore effects keep it interesting. I just wish that there was more fodder for the titular chainsaw.
A lot of people consider this to be a spoof, but I don't think so myself. Horror movie-making had changed a lot by this point in the 80s. With slashers and the tools of their trade gaining popularity the genre moved away from gritty, grindhouse darkness and into something more colorful and mainstream (for better or worse). TCM2 is just a reflection of that. It's trash, but it's highly energetic and manic trash that's never boring, despite its shortcomings.
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