|Directed by:||Tobe Hooper|
|Written by:||L.M. Kit Carson|
|Cast:||Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow, Bill Moseley|
For a decade, Texas Ranger Lefty Enright has sought to avenge the brutal murder of his kin by the cannibalistic Sawyer family – Leatherface, Chop-Top, Cook and Grandpa. With the help of a radio DJ who’s also bent on putting an end to the terror, Lefty finds his way to the Sawyers’ underground butcher shop, where a battle of epic proportions soon rages…and the line between good and evil gets chopped to bits.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 comes out 12 years after the original, and definitely shows that a ton of time has passed since its predecessor. The difference is that we are in a whole new decade, involving a whole new generation of horror fans and it shows in the film because it’s completely different from the first one. It has a very strong 80′s influence having to deal with a radio DJ, and the setting is very 80′s as well. The story is fairly simple and doesn’t involve much more than a few people trying to avoid the Sawyer psycho killer family once again, but we have a radio DJ who gets picked up by the killers at work. We also get a great appearance from the late Dennis Hopper, who I haven’t seen in a ton of films but his character is definitely great here. The acting is great on top of that, and it’s the sole reason for this film to even work as well as it does because it’s not anything too special. Being the first addition to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, I’d say it does a fairly good job of keeping Leatherface relevant and only proves that his character and family are timeless. There’s nothing better than a movie that can disgust you without just a ton of guts or blood, but the use of many other techniques in this film make it terrifying.
There are a lot of corny little things in the film like Chop-Top’s head and Grandpa’s face and despite the fact that they’re most irrelevant, they are truly disgusting and horrifying to actually look at. On top of that all of the kills are fairly gory and the blood factor is definitely delivered on, especially the gore factor. There’s all kinds of sick stuff in the film to keep Leatherface as terrifying as he was originally, and the characters are pretty crazy enough to encourage that. The movie really is kind of silly while simultaneously being horrifying, and I think it’s because of the 80′s style it has to it almost. The lighting and shot selection just always seems somehow 80′s relevant, and it really just goes to show that it’s a modern version of a classic film. It’s not a modern classic by any means, but it’s fun as hell to watch and you can pretty much tell after how silly it is to watch today. A movie chock full of corny characters, with corny lines, doing really corny things, amounts to film full of cheese as much as it is horror. When there is a chainsaw battle like a sword duel in the movie between Leatherface and none other than Dennis Hopper, you know you have a cult horror classic on your hands.
Dennis Hopper plays Lefty Enright who is out for revenge on Leatherface, and towards the end of the movie he makes an attempt at taking down the Sawyer family. The best thing about it is his journey there, in going to a store to buy chainsaws to go into their fortress with to take them down. He chooses his chainsaws, and goes in there just to start wrecking shit up and challenge the one and only Leatherface to a duel. Hopper really plays a great eccentric character, and it’s without a doubt one of his classic performances. His name is the sole big name to come from this film, and thus is the only name to appear on the cover of the Gruesome Edition I own. Also in the film though is Bill Moseley as Chop-Top, whom I think is hardcore hilarious and I really love his performance. Though it’s a bit cheesy and strange, he definitely plays a demented nice guy with an extremely strange habit. He has this metal plate on the side of his head, which he itches the outside edges of with a heated up wire-hanger. It’s an absolute disgusting habit to see him partake in, but it’s also one of the reasons he’s so hilarious and entertaining to watch, and it’s really him and Hopper that make this film for me.
The radio DJ who ends up captive of the Sawyer family is played by Caroline Williams and she does a fairly good job at playing part, though it’s not really anything special. Returning in the director’s chair was Tobe Hooper which is cool that we were able to get a follow-up to his first film, from him about 12 years later. It’s truly fascinating to see how he updates his story for the 80′s, and that’s kind of what gives this movie its edge. While it is a sequel, it feels like a completely different movie with the same characters because it doesn’t follow too much of a continuity. The story is fairly basic in the sense that the family goes after the radio DJ, takes her captive and Lefty Enright just so happens to be out for revenge on them all the same. It sets up for the abduction and the final battles of the end of the film, and many kills in between so I would consider it a successful horror movie. It definitely has a ton of gore and other scenes in the film to make you squirm, and it really shows that Tobe Hooper still didn’t lose his touch as to what gets under people’s skin. I must say though that the ending is absolutely insane but hilarious at the same time, to see someone mimicking Leatherface’s chainsaw movements but either way.
The film is a great and fun horror film to watch for Halloween, or anytime for that matter. The first time I saw it was a couple Halloweens ago and ever since then I’ve felt the need to watch it. It’s a blast and a half and especially now that we no longer have Dennis Hopper with us, this should be a classic to watch during the month of October. Bill Moseley turns in a fantastic comedic, yet horrific performance as Chop-Top with probably one of the most disgusting character quirks that I’ve ever seen in horror film, or film period. The story may be simple, but it really makes up for it in all this fun that I’m speaking of, but it’s definitely more for fans of B-horror movies as well the franchise itself. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but for those who enjoy just a silly horror movie will enjoy this one. It’s still not light-hearted though and they take that into consideration by adding more blood, gore, and disturbing moments in this film compared to the last. We get a sort of re-enactment of the famously terrifying dinner table scene from the first film, and moments like that really show again how powerful Hooper’s films really are for the genre of horror. His use of extreme blood and gore sets the bar both times he releases these films in my opinion, and has kind of had that background influence on slasher horror.