‘After a decade of silence… the buzzz is back.’
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a 1986 American slasher horror film directed by Tobe Hooper. It is a sequel to the 1974 horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, also directed and co-written by Hooper. It was written by L. M. Kit Carson, produced by Carson, Yoram Globus, Menahem Golan and Hooper, and promoted as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2.
The movie stars Dennis Hopper as Lefty, Caroline Williams as Stretch, Bill Johnson as Leatherface, Bill Moseley as Chop Top and Jim Siedow, who reprises the role of The Cook.
The film’s US theatrical poster shown above is a pun on the poster for the film The Breakfast Club which depicts its cast in a similar pose.
For fourteen years, former Texas Ranger Lefty Enright (Dennis Hopper) has been obsessed with finding the psychotic mass murderers who killed his brother’s children. And today he’s in luck.
A tough late-night disc jockey (Caroline Williams) has caught the ghouls on tape in the act of slicing and dicing a couple of fun-loving rich kids. When she volunteers to help, Lefty persuades her to play the tape on-air to lure the maniacs out of hiding…
The sequel was criticised by some for its stylistic departure from the first film, including its bigger budget and emphasis on splatter and wacky black comedy, as opposed to the original which utilised minimal gore, a low-budget vérité style and atmosphere to build tension and fear. The emphasis was on black comedy, which director Tobe Hooper believed was present in the first film, but unacknowledged by viewers because of its realistic and shocking content.
Despite being successful in its initial 1986 theatrical run, the film failed to make a substantial profit for Cannon; however, it eventually garnered a cult following.
Several scenes were deleted by director Tobe Hooper due to perceived pacing issues. One lengthy scene that was cut from the film involves the Sawyer Clan heading out at night to collect prime meat for their chilli by slaughtering movie patrons and a group of rowdy, rioting fans. The deleted slaughtering scene featured several elaborate Tom Savini special effects. An alternate plot line involving Lefty Enright as Stretch’s father was also scrapped.
In a similar way to its predecessor, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has had a checkered past in regard to its relationship with censors in various countries.
When the film was first submitted in the United Kingdom for a certificate, the BBFC notified Cannon, the distributor, that at least 20 to 25 minutes of footage would have to be trimmed in order for the film to be given an 18 rating! Cannon then aborted its plans for a possible UK release in 1990. Despite this initial censorial hysteria, it is now rated 18 in the UK.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a cocaine version of the original – bug-eyed, frenetic and overly excitable. It’s certainly very 1980s, and that’s rarely a good thing. Yet, it works, against all the odds.
Like the first film, it shows no restraint, no sense of decency and gives no quarter to social niceties or censorial demands. Even the soundtrack, which replaces Wayne Bell’s ultra-unsettling musique concrete with a mix of mid-Eighties alt. rock (The Cramps, Timbruk 3) and a more ‘conventional’ – though still pretty delirious – musical score, works well.
David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA
“It’s a truly weird film but it has its charm and it has its place alongside the other sequels – just don’t go in expecting a rehash of the more famous first film, because it almost seems like Hooper knew he couldn’t outdo himself and so instead he opted to go in a completely different direction.” DVD Talk
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part Two is a self-aware riot, a profound meditation on the global phenomenon of the first film, a visceral send-up of horror filmdom’s psychosexual dysfunctions, a joyful paean to the often lethal weirdness of Texas, I literally gut-busting black comedy, and, most importantly, a rip-roaring horror epic that feels as though it will split right through the screen and slice the entirety of the world into giddy ribbons.” Mike “McBeardo” McFadden, Heavy Metal Movies
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a masterpiece, a complete reinvention of the series’ low-key art film roots, and horror-comedy-drama of the highest order – an epic Grand Guignol.” Junta Jeleil’s Culture Shock
“This is a very uneasy, uncertain shocker, quite unable to digest the mix of horror and black comedy which became a genre-must after the first TCM” The Guardian
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