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"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!
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!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This sequel, unlike the original classic, was like an acid trip with
extra acid. Not that I'm saying it was horrible or that it was the best
thing to hit horror cinema, what I am saying is that it seemed a bit
too cheesy and b-movie-ish. It wasn't scary as much as it was
disturbing, but at the same time it seemed like a comedy and there were
many points where it was a bit too over the top. The acting was
descent, the cinematography (special effects and lighting) where way
over the top, the plot was worn out and the scares were replaced by
some good laughs. It was not the original and it had far more
impossibilities than any other Tobe Hooper film I have seen. In this
case, Texas Chainsaw 2 was okay and worth watching.
First off, the acting was okay, it wasn't Oscar worthy but it certainly wasn't the worst acting I have seen. Bill Moseley, who plays Chop Top, does a real good performance capturing the demented and mentally damaged war veteran who has an obsession of transforming the theme park into NamLand. Ken Evert, was okay and did a somewhat good job recapturing the personality of the grandpa from the original, but in this movie he ads a bit more comic relief (i.e. the people he cuts up is used for award winning Chile). Dennis Hooper, whom I'm surprised to see, did a fairly silent and random character that is out for revenge. Now, giving the fact he was brilliant in Easy Rider, this film was a step below his acting career. In the movie he seems a bit over the top (when he goes nuts with the chainsaws), and at points seemed as if he did this for fun. In this film, Leatherface was not a maniac that had faces resemble his personality, but seemed more like a young boy who has fallen in love and throws temper tantrums. This reworking of Leatherface, to me, proved to be a disaster and a step below the personality of the original killer.
The plot is vastly different from the original; basically a radio hostess hears a brutal murder over the phone and is later kidnapped by the very same cannibalistic family. A renegade cop searching for redemption is proved to find the culprits even if it means destroying the entire place with duel chainsaws in a spaghetti western style showdown. However, some of the stuff that could have been vastly scary or disturbing turned out to be a bit funny and gross. They try to bring back that iconic scene from the original with the old man and the hammer, but this one backfired and proved to be comic rather than horrific. Some things that made this plot line seem a bit too unnatural was the use of some extreme impossibilities that was used in this film. Examples like: standing up on a car and killing people in the other vehicle with chainsaw, a skinless man walking and talking and having two huge chainsaws hanging from a belt. They seemed so cheesy and out of the blue that it was enjoyable. It was just way different from the original and I guess that is okay.
The one thing that I really like that the other one did not have was the extreme use of camera angles, lighting and tone of the film. These aspects were so over the top that it made up for some of the poor audio and music. The lighting, especially at night, were very colorful and high contrast and seemed to have come straight out of a comic book. In the radio building there was a high contrast of shadowy reds when Moseley's character appears, even higher tones of red and splashes of green when Leatherface appears. In numerous hallways there was dim lighting with obtuse red, green, yellow and blue shapes and oranges in the main dining hall. I think that by utilizing the lights, it really made this movie atmospheric and haunting. The camera angels (mostly seen in the radio station) where amazing and uses a wide variety of zooms and pans. Some of the best pans and trucks were seen in the "cave" where this family lives and one the best zooms is when it zooms out of the dinner table and the girls is crying. With the camera angles, this movie had a bit of a zest to it that I don't see that often in movies of this magnitude.
Overall, this movie was not the worst thing I have ever seen, nor was it the best thing I have ever seen. There was an equal balance of good and bad aspects of this film ranging from bad acting to excellent cinematography and it had a vastly different plot, but was executed wrongly. I enjoyed this film mainly because it was different that your average cannibalistic family tale, this one seemed a bit more on edge and acid driven. Of coarse, it did not frightened me the way I initially hoped, but it did strike me as being very theatrically disturbing and seemed as if it came from the mind of a drugged out hippie. I would recommend this film to any horror fan, partly because its trip and an experience that I think al horror fanatics should be aware of. It's one of those movies it's famous for being famous, and the first of its kind in along sad history of Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequels. (I hated Texas Chainsaw: Next Generation). It's just a fun and wacky film that nobody should miss.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The problem with doing a sequel to any film, especially a very good
successful one, is the fact that they are double edged swords, on one
hand, if they stray to far from the source material of the original,
many fans will love the change in direction, while others will boo it &
vice versa. CHAINSAW 2 is a perfect example of this, a sequel which
fans of the series has been split on over the years.
CHAINSAW 2 takes a much different far more radical approach from the original & is very over the top in it's plot & character execution & loaded to the eyeballs with some pretty wacky & sick off the wall, pitch black humour. It's also got studio backing & a name actor. Unlike the original film, CHAINSAW 2 is packed with blood & guts.
The script by L.M. KIT Carson (who also serves as an associate producer) is completely tongue in cheek, poking it's salty finger into the eye of the Regan era. With the family now being displayed as having fallen on hard times. This time the family is in the chili making business & the secret ingredient to it's success, should surprise no one who seen the first. Dreighton (called Oldman in the first film) at one point even rants on how difficult it is to make a buck with taxes getting out of control.
The acting works, BILL JOHNSON stars as the hideous Leatherface & does a fairly good job, but its no secret that this Leatherface is radically different than what we seen in the first, he tends to be stupid, goofy. BILL MOSELEY is devilish perfection as CHOP-TOP, with a metal plate cover lodged in his head, a crazed whacked out former Vietnam vet & twin brother to Nubbins (The Hitchhiker in the original). He even eats himself! all the while trying to pursue Dreighton to invest in a Vietnam themed theme park called "Nam Land" he also has a large stain on the left side of his face (The Hitcher in the original had his on the right side) & was in Vietnam during the first Chainsaw film (which explains away his absence in the first). Speaking of The Hitcher, the family still carries his rotting corpse around! With Chop-Top milling about holding it & talking for it, heck even the rotting remains of the grandmother is still around! JIM SIEDOW reprises his role as Dreighton Sawyer from the original, while DENNIS HOPPER gives one of the most over the top crazed (& my personal favourite) performances of his career, as Lt. Lefty Enright, a crazed Texas ranger out to seek revenge on the cannibals. CAROLINE WILLIAMS is awesome as Stretch. The make-up effects are top notch & the set design is really good here, especially the underground Labyrinth Stretch is chased through, which is adorned with skeletal corpses. The score is really good here by JERRY LAMBERT (With the collaboration of Hooper) is scary. The direction by TOBE HOOPER (who also serves as Co-producer here) is well done.
On the other hand CHAINSAW 2 does suffer from problems, for me the main one & the part that kills the entire film for me, was when Leatherface falls in love with Stretch, this provides a really awkward moment about midway when he takes his chainsaw & runs it up her legs & places it between her legs. It's here that the film falters. The problem I had with this plot device is simply the fact that it kills off any kind of suspense or tension to be had later on in the film. More particularly when Leatherface is chasing Stretch through the labyrinthine tunnels, you knows he's not going to kill her, because he likes her, robbing the film of any kind of impact, suspense or tension, certain scenes might have & many of CHAINSAW 2's best sequences wound up on the cutting room floor due to pacing (the film clocks in at 101 minutes). The trio of killers are also presented here as being nothing more than a horror movie variant of THE THREE STOOGES, with Dreighton as Moe, Chop-Top as Larry & Leatherface as Curly. In fact I think it's pretty fair to say that had the Stooges lived well into the eighties & were told to make a horror film, along with EVIL DEAD 2, Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 would defiantly be it! I also had trouble with the explanation that the house Sally escaped from couldn't be found, nor any victims, facts or killers (which contradicts the opening narration of the original) since both a transport driver & a pick up truck driver, saw Leatherface & were near the infamous house of horrors at the climax of the original. Even more so, how unearth would the family back up everything, belongings, corpses & other material & clear out in a matter of a few short hours?
All in all, Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 is a wildly entertaining sequel. In fact there are some fans out there who even prefer it over the original, I myself don't know if I would go so far as to say that, since I much prefer the far superior original. But regardless of that Chainsaw 2 is a heck of a lot of fun, despite the fact it is followed by a sequel, Part III is a direct sequel to the first film only & ignores this one altogether. TOBE HOOPER has a cameo at a party. The original box art also spoofs the BREAKFAST CLUB box art. Look for the DR. STRANGELOVE reference with a skeleton riding a torpedo. Followed by Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.
OK, so it's not the first one. But how could it be? Texas CHAINSAW
MASSACRE is the CITIZEN KANE of horror movies; you don't top that. What
this movie does, though, is it takes its crazy ideas and wacks you over
the head with them; it goes all the way, and then some. That's the
Hooper hallmark. Playing the movie for obvious laughs works to make it
even more disturbing. The jokes play against the gruesome carrying on;
this is a world gone mad because nothing, and I mean nothing makes
sense. We're beyond surreal; we're through the looking glass; which, I
think, is Hooper's intention. Stretch falls down the hole - it's not a
rabbit hole, and she doesn't meet the mad hatter. But what she does
experience is a world that questions sense and sanity. The reason most
find this one less satisfying then the first is because it's not
seamless; we can see Hooper's gears turning and, unlike the first time,
we're actually in on the joke. That aside, Hooper's directorial vision
remains consistent. It's not a story, per se, we are following, it's a
chase, and we're running, running, running like mad.
Hooper seems to have an unerring ability to get inside the crazies that populate his movies. These weird, disastrous, antisocials he creates have dimensional life; and it's all their own. We follow their thinking, their thought process, and in doing so, the irrational in his movies becomes logical. This is his gift. When he works on material like CROCODILE, where the "monster" is not in some way human, the work stutters and spits. Hooper's mad men are scary because they are human, and their humanity is cleverly displayed. Remember Neville Brand's nutty soliloquies in EATEN ALIVE? Brilliant, I thought. Massacre 2 knows it's being funny, and the surprise we felt in the first one is all but lost. This time, though, instead of surprise, we find ourselves tumbling down the rabbit's hole and we end up with more than we bargained for. Chop Top is one of the weirdest, wildest, funniest, monsters ever put on the screen. Bill Mosley's performance shoots off into areas few actors even know about, much less enter. He is gross, funny, and frightening all at the same time. The crazy things he says are like DaDa ravings; he's the irrational made flesh. Jim Siedow weaves back and forth between rationality and the exact opposite with little or no warning. In truth, he looks like he's on the verge of breaking up throughout the entire movie. The scene where Stretch finds herself tied to a chair at the head of this wildly long table is one of Hooper's finest moments. The entire scene is one long take with the camera tracking into Stretch and then back out over the table, then back in to her, then, yet again, we track back out beyond the table, with Siedow raving on like a mad Baptist minister. The tracking, swooping camera, constantly changing our perspective, creates an almost lyrical sense of grandeur in this mad, mad world; Hooper has let us in on the joke, but he surprises us with such effects because we feel, with the Sawyer clan, the power and drive of their subterranean mania.
Hooper is an extraordinary director. Even when his work misses, there's a power to it. In some way or other he understands what it is to be a lunatic, and his major movies, this one included, celebrates the hysteria while putting us non-lunatics through the ringer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To better understand this film, I'll refer to other characters we know. So you know where I stand, I enjoyed TCM 74, give it a 7/10. It has its ups and downs. I haven't seen TCM3 or 4, but I think the 'remake', if you want to call it that, is one of the greatest horror films of all time.
Basically, this film is the crackhead version of the original. I'll use and analogy I thought up while watching TCM2 to help you better understand it.
Imagine two brothers, of about college age in the 70's, one somewhat intelligent, the other I see in my head as being like Brian from 'Half Baked.' Anyways, the intelligent brother writes 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre' and knows it has flaws, but still is a good amateur work. So he decides he will read the script to his brother one night, and see what he thinks. However, his brother is heavily intoxicated, and as the script is read to him, he's not absorbing very much of it. When brother 1 done reading, he asks his brother 2's opinion. Not remembering much, and being to embarrassed to say 'read it again', he just says 'that was good' and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is born. Assuming brother #2 still hasn't seen the movie, we'll jump 1986. Bored one night, while trippin' on acid, brother #2 decides he'll re-write what he remembers of his brother's story. He spends all night writing, and comes up with 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2'.
Now that you have the general idea, I'll break it down piece by piece. Tobe Hooper wrote and directed both films. He made TCM2 because he felt no one saw TCM for what he wanted it to be. It was supposed to be a comedy, but people found it scary rather than funny. So Hooper figured he'd show everyone what he was trying just so everything is properly expressed. Many of the scenes are reminiscent of the original, and the dinner scene is all but completely replicated.
The characters have changed for the weirder. Chop Top is a crazier more perverted version of the hitchhiker. He's just the tag along, but still is interested by everything his two brothers do. Drayton is about the same, maybe a little more adventurous. Leatherface is however, very emotional, gets confused easier, is much more childish, and is surprisingly portrayed as the 'nice guy' out of the group. He actually helps the heroin escape.
One thing that really stuck out is how this film is much more graphic than the original. It makes you realize how clean the original really is. Anybody who ever found it shocking, this film exploits how it was all in you head. You get out of the original what you put in, and that's probably why most people find the original boring. I was just surprised to hear the characters using profanity, seeing gore, hearing sexual innuendos, it didn't seem to fit the TCM atmosphere. The gore wasn't graphic, the language wasn't strong, and the sexuality wasn't to perverted, but it all stands out.
In conclusion, I'd say I enjoyed the film, but most people wouldn't because it's the 'so stupid its cool' thing. I can compare it to Jack Frost, although I hated Jack Frost. The humor isn't that dull though, there's a little more substance to it. Some aspects don't line up with the original's story, as the hitchhiker is still alive, the home has been relocated, the MO's are different, etc, but if you can just chuckle and say 'whatever' you'll enjoy checking out this flick. Nothing special, but interesting.
TCM is such a cool movie, but what I still just don't get is why everybody laughs when somebody's head is getting sawed off. Granted, there were a few humorous parts, for example, how LeatherFace sort of danced around with the chainsaw every so often. Or, some of the remarks they'ed make. But, it's just terrible when people think it's funny when somebody's gettin killed...especially like that! That was my main turn off with that movie, but I thought that it was pretty well directed. It had nearly everything I like in a horror movie: Some gore, excitement, chase-scenes, and tragedy. That's what, I feel, makes a horror movie worth watching. That's what gives it that deeper layer. My favourite scene was at the very end, when Stretch knocked that guy down from the grave shrine and then danced around with the chainsaw over her head, screaming like satan. It had, I don't know, something awesome about that.
Someone here said that Texas CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 was a "misunderstood" film by all accounts. Let me set the record straight: TCM2 is a BAD movie, period. But Why? Why is it such a bad movie if its original creator, Tobe Hooper, was behind the cameras again??? It's hard for me to say how bad this movie is, since I like Tobe Hooper, LOVE the original TCM and am a gore hound, fangoria-reading freak myself. But the facts are there and they can't be denied. It's tough to beat the visceral aggression of the original; when I was young and saw TCM, I almost thought that it was really a picture based on a true account (now I know it was "loosely" based on the Ed Gein case). There is very little actual "gore" per sé on the original, but the visuals, sounds and convincing acting made it the classic it is...in other words, I actually believed what was going on. In TCM2, Mr.Hooper tried to make a "horror" comedy, but failed miserably. The dark and deviant humor of the original is NOWHERE to be found this time around. Now it's just "dumb humor". Not even make up guru Tom Savini, with his extreme make up fx tricks could save this turkey. The acting is beyond redemption. Even Dennis Hopper looks silly as the "hero", looking to avenge some of the first TCM characters. And the stretch character (this sequel's equivalent of Marylin Burns) is just plain unbelievable (it's NOT a compliment). Her acting is not that bad when she is not being chased by leather face, but once she is on the run, her screams and her gestures look totally fake, as if she were in some SCARY MOVIE episode. What's more sad is that, TCM2 actually starts out good; the outlook of the movie was interesting for the 1st 40 minutes. Unfortunately, after those 40 minutes, it all goes downhill with stupid situations and not believable acting. Granted, there's more gore on this one than on the 1st one; Leatherface's first victim gets his head sawed off in half in a very gruesome Savini effect. But even with this, the movie doesn't work. What worked on the 1st one is that you BELIEVED tha characters and the situations were, in some way, believable. Remember the psycho guy in the first one? The one that gets run over by a truck at the end? Well, the guy's ALIVE in TCM2!!!Albeit, with a metal plate as part of his skull. How come he SURVIVED getting run over by a Mack Truck?!?!? The "Grandpa" guy looks better 13 years later! He must've taken some sort of rejuvenating potion or something! And the ending is just plain atrocious. Get this down: TCM2 does not scare, does not make you sick and does not make you laugh. It's a movie that could have been developed into something really sick and frightening, but it didn't. It seems the "big budget" of this sequel was completely worthless. It seems Tobe Hooper tried to make a "black Horror Comedy", in the vein of EVIL DEAD or even RE-ANIMATOR, but failed miserably. Watch this turkey ONLY if you're a Tom Savini fan or want to know how bad a sequel can be. 3* out of 10*.
This movie sucks. It's not even a squeal to the first film but a rip off. The 2003 remake of the orignal film is a hundred times better then this piece of crap. The only thing that would have made this movie good was if Tobe Hopper directed it and Gunnar Hanson played Leatherface and a cameo by Marylin Burns, I wouldn't mind the new people Leatherface went after but that's how it should have been as I said. I give this film a 1/10 for bringing back the cool killer but not the actor played him however.
Texas Chainsaw Masacre 2 is brilliant. Dennis Hopper's performance may be a bit over the top, but he does great. Chop Top is hilarious. He and daddy fight just like in the original. Classic! Bill Johnson's Leatherface is almost better than Gunnar Hansen's! Yes, this one's not as scray as the original, but it's still great!
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