In 1986, Tobe Hooper, the mastermind behind 1974’s classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre set out to do something nobody ever expected — He set out to make a sequel to a movie that in no way could ever have a sequel. A movie like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre really could never have a direct sequel, due to the type of film it is. It was a masterpiece, a horror film that opened up like a real life crime story. A film, that in my opinion, is perfect in every way. It’s grounded in reality in a way most horror stories could only hope to be. It was dark, gritty, and truly felt as if this horrifying incident could really happen. So, when you have a movie like TCM that is grounded in reality, how can you honestly make a sequel to it, while keeping that real life feel? You can’t. Tobe Hooper knew this, but he also wanted to please his fans who were constantly begging for a sequel, so, he went off in a completely different direction with this movie… Did it pay off?
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a black horror comedy, and while it in no way is meant to be a direct connection to the first movie in terms of tone, the story itself tells a different story.
We open with two typical 80’s douche bags named Buzz and Rick, riding around Texas, firing off a pistol, and having way too much fun while doing so. The two decide to harass a local radio DJ by the name of Stretch (played perfectly by Caroline Williams). They call and call and call this poor DJ, until they have a run in with a pickup truck, and make the bad mistake of playing their party boy games with the driver. This is where the whole plot of this sequel comes from, as live on the radio with Stretch (apparently in the 80’s, a radio station can not hang up on its callers), the two party boys are murdered by a maniac with a chainsaw (Leatherface, played by Bill Johnson, in an awesome scene that never leaves the road — a man standing in the back of a speeding pickup truck wielding a chainsaw — It’s amazing).
The next morning, Lefty, a Lieutenant (played by Dennis Hopper, who needs no introduction) and former Texas Ranger arrives to investigate the murders of Buzz and Rick. You find out that Lefty has a deeper connection to the murders, as he is the uncle of Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin, who were the victims of Leatherface in the first movie. Lefty then meets up with Stretch and convinces her to play the taped session of the murders from the night before, live on the air. Thanks to this terrible idea, horror fans are introduced to one of the most memorable characters in horror (in my opinion). Of course I’m talking about “Chop Top” (played perfectly by horror icon Bill Moseley), the twin brother of the hitchhiker in the first film, who was stationed in Vietnam during those events.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 continues down the path of Lefty chasing the Sawyer Family (including Jim Siedow, reprising his role as Cook a/k/a Drayton Sawyer from the first film), until the climax in an underground lair in Texas where the Sawyer family has been hiding out for the last 13 years. This movie even has a chainsaw showdown (dueling swords style) between Leatherface and Lefty, and it is very satisfying, to say the least.
If you go into this sequel expecting the original movie all over again, prepare to be very disappointed. It is a fun, twisted and gory ride through the back roads of Texas, but this movie, unlike the original, focuses more on gore and laughs than the real life feel of the first. As long as you go into this movie with an open mind, I promise you will enjoy it. It is funny and more often than not, brutal with its gore, and this is why I love it.
While the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre will always be my favorite movie ever, this sequel is probably what I would call my favorite black comedy ever. Check it out with an open mind, and you will not be disappointed.
I give this movie 4.2 Chainsaw Sword fights out of 5.