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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
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A misunderstood and much-maligned sequel that isn't nearly as bad as you've heard

7/10
Author: happyendingrocks from United States
15 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One's enjoyment of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 will largely depend on the ease with which you can judge the film on its own merits and divorce your criticism from any comparison to the legendary classic that preceded it. There's no question that the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most truly scary and horrifying films the genre has ever been graced with, so any sequel is pretty much pre-destined to be a lesser experience. However, if you can manage the seemingly impossible task of forgetting all about TCM and focusing solely on what this film brings to the table, you will be forced to grudgingly conclude that while Masscare 2 doesn't venture anywhere near the heights of Tobe Hooper's original macabre masterpiece, this unnecessary sequel is still a fun romp in its own right.

The tone here is so far removed from the movie it reprises that it's hard to believe that Hooper was once again sitting in the director's chair. While Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a relentless and brutal tour de force of terror, Part 2 inserts a black humor sensibility that discards any pretensions of this being a strictly horror-based vehicle, and shifts our entire view of the cannibalistic Sawyer clan. This time out, the family doesn't come across as a hideously deranged group of killers, but rather as somewhat goofy collective of sadists whose tastes for violence veer closer to the physical comedy of The Three Stooges than to anything in the fright flick canon. Admittedly, this shouldn't work as well as it does, but a brilliant performance from Bill Mosely, who handily steals the show, straddles the fine line between gruesome and giggling and keeps the film from sinking beneath its playful facade.

The plot is fairly ridiculous by any standards, and when the impetus for lead heroine Caroline Williams to be stalked by the saw-happy band of lunatics is her repeatedly playing an audio recording of a brutal murder on her radio show, we know right away that we're going to have to suspend our disbelief to swallow this one.

Hooper's direction is surprisingly keen considering the radical departure he's overseeing, and he keeps us wondering exactly how far into the realm of absurdist comedy the film is going to reach until about the midway point. When an amusingly manic Dennis Hopper straps a pair of chainsaws to his hips like six-shooters and charges into the meat-loving family's lair screaming like Rambo, it should be abundantly clear to even the most jaded viewer that the film isn't going to bother to take itself seriously, and we shouldn't either.

Despite the heavy emphasis on morbid funnies, the film does throw a few solid scares into the mix, and these jump-inducing moments arrive precisely when we've let our guard down, giving them unexpected and jolting impact. There's also a fairly generous amount of gore, and the effects work of Tom Savini adds immeasurably to the horror quotient.

Unfortunately, Savini's skills aren't called upon very often here, and even when they are, the MPAA did a particularly thorough job of forcing much of Tom's artistry to linger on the cutting room floor. Only a couple of scenes recall the gravitas of Savini's most infamous work, and while it's certainly not his fault that his creations were so severely neutered, his name in the credits writes a check that the heavily-trimmed final product can't cash.

Still, the film does deliver some grotesque elements, and it's far bloodier than its predecessor. It's also a bit more twisted in its own quirky way, and Leatherface's amorous attachment to Caroline Williams provides some demented moments that are almost uncomfortable to laugh at. The sequence where our "hero" presses his decidedly phallic chainsaw against Williams's crotch assuredly skirts the bounds of bad taste, but the scene that sticks out most in my mind is one in which he covers her face with the flayed skin of her friend and playfully dances with her in a room cluttered with severed body parts.

Williams is excellent here, as is Hopper, who seems to be having a ball hamming it up and wringing every bit of mirth possible out of his one-dimensional archetype. Bill Johnson is equally fantastic as Leatherface, and he manages to convey a multi-faceted character through his nuanced grunts and facial expressions, no easy feat when all we see of him are his eyes and mouth.

The sprawling subterranean set where the final action unfolds is an impressive and well-realized creation that provides an audaciously epic upgrade from the humble farmhouse in the first film. Dicey loopholes inevitably arise (if the family travels from place to place to keep their crimes undiscovered, would they really have hauled the body of Franklin, who they killed over a decade before, to their current location, where Hopper finds it?), but those who admire set decoration will have a lot of fun pausing the frames and taking in the vast minutiae on display in the background.

The climax, where Hopper and Leatherface duke it out with dueling chainsaws like a pair of swashbucklers, is by far the most widely referenced aspect of the film. Most detractors point to this scene as the stupidest part of the movie, and they're clearly right. However, considering that the bulk of the film revels in a parody mindset, I actually can't think of a more fitting way for it to conclude.

Yes, there clearly shouldn't have been a sequel to such a perfectly essayed snapshot of horror. But Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is an inherently enjoyable offering if you accept it on its own terms. There's no denying that it's an entertaining film, and since it practically announces its separation from the original from the opening frames, we can't accuse Tobe Hooper of failing to realize his vision, however skewed that vision might be.

Give this troubled production another look, and, more importantly, give it a chance.

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A definite classic!

7/10
Author: imad_jafar (imad_jafar@hotmail.com) from Pakistan
8 February 2010

This shocking - and bizarre - sequel to director Tobe Hooper's own 1974 original is one of the greatest slasher films of the past thirty years. It has, however, been overlooked by both critics and fans, who, in the past, have detested and misunderstood it's rich combination of insane black comedy and harrowing horror. Perhaps they were expecting another disturbingly suggestive nightmare like the first "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" - this just seemed so immature with it's scenes of explicit violence. It's zany style, coupled with Dennis Hopper's maniacal performance, is, however, a masterstroke that Hooper manages to pull off surprisingly well. The movie bursts with inventive Gothic satire and an unrelenting energy so powerful that it deserves to have it's own position as a landmark fright flick. This is one slasher film that is a must-see for any true fan of the sub-genre.

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Very different, and inferior, but fun sequel to the horror classic

7/10
Author: sgtking from United States
11 July 2009

Sequels have been around since who knows when. They are a permanent part of our culture, which is both a positive and a negative thing when you look at it. By definition a sequel is a continuation of a story, but often times the magic just isn't there the second time around. You have to find a way to keep things fresh, while keeping fans happy by not straying too far from what came before. The original 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' is one of the most frightening and powerful horror films of all time and would be a tough act to follow. Tobe Hooper, director and co-writer, of said film would take a stab at following it up with the first of a few sequels 12 years later. What he came up with is one of the most bizarre horror films ever and one that thankfully is not a xerox copy of it's predecessor.

Pros: Great cast and everyone seems to be having the time of their lives. Tongue is planted firmly in cheek. Tom Savini's effects are top-notch. Plenty of blood and gore. Moves at a decent pace. Fabulous design on the families hideout. Good score. You'll love to hate the Sawyer family again, which includes a truly twisted new addition.

Cons: The change in tone is fine, but this sequel is really lacking in the scare and suspense department. Plot wears thin. Some scenes drag on a bit too long. Ends rather abruptly.

Final thoughts: Can't compare with the original, but this belated sequel is still a joy to watch for fans. It's not one of those sequels that seems to have been made solely for the money. Like the first film it was a labor of love and it's nice to know that some filmmakers really do care about pleasing their audience. The saw is here to stay!

My rating: 3.5/5

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Cool film!

9/10
Author: experten-1 from Russian Federation
20 May 2009

Cool film! On another also you will not tell. In difference from the cult first film which become by the ancestor of a genre and has generated numerous continuations and imitations, the sequel has turned out with a strong bias in «a black comedy» balancing on the verge of a trash. Well, where you still will see fight on Chainsawes between Leatherface and the sheriff? It is worthy of it, that it have looked! And an episode when the sheriff chooses to itself these most Chainsaw for forthcoming fight is simply hilarious. Though blood in a film like many, but rather bloody episodes of all, perhaps, two: in one scenes, one of members of a family a hammer has smashed a head to the employee of radio and an episode rip up a stomach Chainsaw. And this with the fact that I looked the full version of a film designated as «gruesome version». Nevertheless, the film has turned out in my opinion very quite good: It very dynamical, especially since an episode when Leatherface with brother to be declared on dismantling on radio station – from this point on in general begins a high-grade drive to the end of a film. Here I looked without coming off. It is necessary to tell about actor's works especially. Actor Dennis the Hopper which became popular enough actor in America after a cult film «Careless goer», all film goes with the most serious look, but thus, does amazing acts, and looks impressively. But the actress of Carolina Williams became a film star. Actually the most part of screen time is taken away to it, instead of Leatherface. By the way, the actress who at the moment of shootings was 29 years, looks it very not bad in all senses that is called, will handicap many young. She also plays pretty well, and very nice in itself. Though nudity with its participation in a film is not present, it is compensated to that the actress all film goes in super-short shorts and . In a film there is one episode when art of the director to create full erotic scene from anything, has proved to be in all beauty – in one of episodes of Leatherface gently drives switched off Chainsaw on the bared foot of Stretch, and then rested Chainsaw to it in pubis simulates sexual intercourse. Yes, it's worth seeing! to Make from Chainsaw phallus a symbol such it is necessary to think up! Tob Huper unequivocally talent. And victorious dance of Stretch with Chainsaw in hands in the film ending unequivocally makes impression original anthem of a bloody victory! It is a pity that Carolina Williams did not become the well-known actress though the data at it, in my opinion, all were. By the way, in the third part of a serial - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, Carolina Williams has seemed in a tiny episode without words (will look the third part – pay attention on reporter at the very beginning of a film), probably to show communication between the second and third part of a serial. I summaries. An original and dynamical sequel with a bias in a black comedy. It is necessary to look unequivocally. In my opinion, one of the best parts of a serial.

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Fun sequel?....well maybe

6/10
Author: Prof-Hieronymos-Grost from Ireland
1 December 2008

A late night radio host hears some prank callers being killed over the phone, she offers to help Lieutenant 'Lefty' Enright (Dennis Hopper) track down what he believes to be the same people responsible for chainsaw killings in Texas. He however uses her as bait and she is taken by the Chop Top and the gang. He then has to try and save her before she becomes dinner. After the intensity of the original, that was probably impossible to top, Hooper decided to go with a comic leaning this time, some of it works some of it doesn't, but by the end i was just about persuaded it was fun. Hopper is naturally OTT, he doesn't quite sleepwalk through the film like others have stated, but he also doesn't really excel either. Caroline Williams constant screaming is more than slightly irksome and her playful musings with an impotent Leatherface are just silly, but its Bill Moseley you'll remember most from this film, he's a hoot.

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Better than its reputation has it

6/10
Author: Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki from United States
5 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While nowhere near as good as the original, this much maligned sequel is better than a lot of people claim. After fourteen years, the chainsaw killers have relocated from south Texas to Dallas area, and are now ... wait for it, wait for it ... the most popular caterers in town, having even won an annual chili cook-off two years running, with their "unique" recipes of meat.

When a couple of drunken, idiot college students crank call a late night disc jockey on a local radio station immediately before being sliced and diced by the chainsaw killers, and the DJ records audio of the killing (shades of Blow Out?) Enter Dennis Hopper who, while overacting outrageously, convinces her to play the tape of the killing on-air to draw the killers out into the open, against the advice of the station manager with the phlegm problem.

Unfortunately, that's where the plot runs out, and, after a good first half, the pacing slows to a crawl in the second half, and it was also undermined by a rushed post-production schedule, which allegedly prevented further editing and effects-work.

This was intended to be a satire of Motel Hell (which was a satire of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre) complete with climactic dueling chainsaws, and the over-the-top slasher movies so popular in the 1980s, which is not entirely successful, but holds up better than a lot of the films from that time, and really captures the late night radio/ cable television feeling of the mid/ late 1980s. Our introduction to Chop-Top, both genuinely creepy and intentionally funny, was probably the best scene in the movie, very well done. It seems almost like something out of a David Lynch movie. The final scene has the heroine yelling and waving a chainsaw, after having dispatched the last(?) of the chainsaw family, just as Leatherface did at the end of the first movie. She had become exactly what she was fighting, and then, oddly, the movie ends with a bubbly little pop tune played over the closing credits, which should have been a sign to people that this was not intended to be taken seriously, as a straight sequel to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but basically a satire based on itself.

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More equals less.

4/10
Author: TOMASBBloodhound from Omaha, NE USA
5 October 2008

A dozen years had passed since Tobe Hooper's classic film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was made. And you would have thought that Tobe and company would have had time to conjure up a worthy sequel. This time they'd have the money that would allow them just about anything they wanted to create on screen. But after watching this disaster, one cannot help but be reminded of the old adage that "sometimes less is more".

The original film was shot in four weeks under brutal conditions and with a budget that must have run in the tens of thousands of dollars. This time the scale is larger, and most of it obviously shot on actual sets. Tom Savini was on board to provide some disgusting gore that the original lacked. They even had an experienced star like Dennis Hopper to give top billing to. How could this film have missed? Well first of all, the tone is more comedic than frightening. This film is not at all frightening, nor does it seem to be trying to be. The original had a few moments that may have provided a chuckle or two, even if by accident. But it is painfully obvious that nobody is really that concerned with scaring the audience here. Even back then, they had to have known that gore alone is not scary. At the most it only provides the audience with discomfort. So this sequel lacks the suspense, the claustrophobic atmosphere, and basically all of the tension packed into the original. Not a good way to go, Mr. Hooper.

The cast is not bad. You wish Hopper would have a more carefully defined role than that of just an ex(?)-lawman trying to avenge the death of the wheelchair-bound Franklin from part one. Hopper was seeing a career resurgence at this time, and maybe they just figured he'd provide even more zaniness as he battles Leatherface chain saw to chain saw. Hopper would go on to state that this was the worst film he ever made. Jim Siedow is the only returning cast member from part one, and gone is the edginess from his earlier performance. He and Bill Moseley are only going for laughs. Bill Johnson is an active and menacing Leatherface, but here he's made into too much of a sympathetic character by the third act. Caroline Williams is decent enough. She appears to have had a physically demanding role, and she sure knows how to scream.

Go ahead and watch this film if you must. Especially since the Red River football weekend is coming up very soon! But by the time these creeps are chasing Ms. Williams around the bowels of a deserted amusement park, you will be disappointed. You will miss the tension, the atmosphere, and most importantly the scares from part one. Tobe Hooper's career had begun to slip by this point, and this film did him no favors. In fact the films of this series only seemed to get geometrically worse with each additional sequel or new meditation on the original idea. 4 of 10 stars.

The Hound.

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Average

6/10
Author: killbill_28 from Australia
1 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is set 12 years after the events of the first movie which was released in 1974. For a decade, Taxes Ranger "Lefty" Enright (Dennis Hopper) has been trying to chase down the cannibalistic Sawyer family that killed his brother Franklin 12 years ago. With no help from the local police. Lefty with the help of a local disk jockey, find the Sawyer's underground butcher shop and take matters into there own hands.

Tope Hooper returns to the helm to tell another chilling story and the evil Leatherface and his overpowering chainsaw. The main story was written by L.M. Kit Carson and it was released by the now bankrupted company Cannon films. This film was banned in some country's for 20 years for it's gore and graphic violence, but only two people get killed by the chainsaw in this movie and it's gore isn't as bad as some of the other movies I've seen. The recent "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" made in 2006 was a lot worst then this, the gore which was shown in that film made this one look like it was G rated. But I guess they had different rules back in 1986 when this film was released to the public.

The Taxes Chainsaw Massacre 2 isn't as good as the original. The bigger budget, cheap scares, length and it's comedy was the major flaws in this movie which could had been a lot better. The film does lag half way through once they enter the underground butcher shop. The ending which was also disappointing shows Leatherface having a chainsaw duel with Lefty which ends up with Leatherface coming out second best and the disk jockey doing Leatherface's famous chainsaw dance after she kills "Chop Top".

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"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2"- A hilarious and off-beat horror-comedy...

8/10
Author: MaximumMadness from United States
30 August 2008

"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" is director Tobe Hooper's (and writer L.M. Kit Carson's) sequel to the original horror classic, and is the cinematic equivalent of not sleeping for three days straight and then watching your favorite horror movie with a group of friends. You are not totally aware mentally, and everything washes over you in a new light, oftentimes with hilarious results.

Yes, this time it is more comedy than horror, which I personally loved. While I hadn't seen the original at the time of seeing this entry, I was able to get right into the story.

Basically, a radio host (the sexy Caroline Williams) and a Texas Ranger (Dennis Hopper... yes I said "Dennis Hopper") who happens to be related to a couple of the victims from the original film try to contend with Leatherface and his cannibalistic (and dementedly hilarious) clan. Well, I mean, there is more to the plot than THAT, but overall, that is what's most important in this film.

The film is a slow-build, and it really isn't until the halfway point that it picks up and maintains a steady spiral into oblivion. But don't think the movie boring- writer Carson injects quite a bit of life into the story, and makes the characters fun and very interesting to watch. He also has an ear for dialogue and knows how to make even the most minor of moments shine. Never before would I think a line of dialogue such as "Hey, I built you a french-fry house!" actually make me like a character and root for him, but Carson's quirky character and Hooper's fun direction make it happen.

But no review of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" is complete without a mention of the one character that everybody loves- Bill Moseley as "Chop-Top", a supposed Vietnam Vet and brother of Leatherface (or, as we learn his real name, "Bubba") with an exposed metal plate sticking out of his head (supposedly from a war-wound) and sickly pale skin. Yes, Chop-Top has some of the most amazing and gut-busting lines of dialogue I have ever heard, and Moseley shows his talent for acting, making him horrifying and hilarious at the same time. One of the best things to happen to Horror-Comedies ever.

There are plenty of surprises in the story to keep you reeling, and great "silly" performances by talents like Hopper. Basically, once this movie gets going, it sucks you right in and won't let go.

Oh, and it also has some great gore, and superb performances by the likes of Bill Johnson as Leatherface and Jim Siedow as the Cook Drayton Sawyer, among others.

I can't help myself with this one- an 8 out of 10!

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Just finished watching this for the 1st time and.......

6/10
Author: tim-williams-6 from United Kingdom
5 January 2008

I have to say that I was fairly disappointed but not surprised. At first I couldn't see where Tobe Hooper was coming from. It took him 11 years to come up with a sequel and what he has made does not compare to the original, in the way of FEAR! No, he definitely played this for laughs and it shows, but tried to make up for it by employing Tom Savini to pile on the gore and Dennis Hopper for comedy value. Having said this I did enjoy it. The little nutcase with the coat hanger was suitably f**ked up (quite a good scene with him and the DJ when they first meet). Leatherface this time round was by no means scary! What really bugged me was his impression of a limbo dancer every time he'd smash through a wall or a door, close to his victim. This is a silly little sequel, but well worth watching. I read the review of this from the Radio Times which I usually find pretty good value. They view this film with very high regard – very odd. When you first start reading it it's as if your reading a review of Apocalypse Now or something. You think they must have got this wrong, but as you read on you realise that they are talking about the same film!

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