Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (TCM) was never meant to be a horror movie. Director Tobe Hooper was actually aiming for it to be a dark comedy movie with very little elements of horror, as I stated in my review of the original. Keen eyes will spot humor in the original, albeit very dark, but still humor. Now, I've been known to give TCM's sequels a lot of slack, but I always maintained the fact that part 2 is very watchable. Released in 1986 under the direction of original director Tobe Hooper and starring Dennis Hopper (I know), as well Jim Siedow, who's the only returning character from the original; he reprised his role as Drayton Sawyer. Siedow excelled in this movie.

Reviewing this movie is an absolute nightmare, because its status changes depending on the perspective I approach it with. If I look at it as a sequel to the original, it's absolutely horrible, a true shitshow. But, if I look at it as a standalone movie, it's actually pretty fun to watch, but not worthy of the TCM title. So we're at a crossroad here, how would I approach it? Both ways, this is gonna be a first for this blog, I'll approach it first as a sequel, then as standalone film. 


If I could do a seven word review of this film, it'll look something like this: TOTAL PIECE OF SHIT DON'T WATCH IT. But I don't roll like that, we're not fucking animals, we live in a society. It's sad to think that Tobe Hooper's vision of the original looked something like what we got in this film, thank god for budget cuts. The silent, gritty, morbid feeling of the original is completely destroyed and replaced with dancing corpses, an actual soundtrack, and a total butchery of Leatherface's character. 

What were they thinking? TCM is not supposed to be bright lights and music, it's not supposed to be Leatherface doing that stupid dance of his and dry humping a disk jockey. Whatever happened to the seriousness of the previous film? They could've done so much with a budget of $5 million, but for some reason Hooper wanted to build up on his original concept of a dark comedy. Haven't you heard of happy accidents? Not the ones that come after 9 months, but like vulcanized rubber? Seriously, this guy had a powerhouse in his hands. It would've been nice to have seen a direct sequel to the movie, as the ending of the original was kinda vague. That would've been cool, only that came to us 39 years later in the form of Texas Chainsaw 3D. Serendipity dude, serendipity. 

The fact of the matter is, Hooper wanted to expanded on subtleties found in the first movie. Leatherface, who's mentally impaired in the first movie, went full retard in this one, and everyone knows you can never go full retard. The dark humor and uncomfortable setting were still present in part 2, but they were super evident and felt kinda forced down the viewers throat. Like "HEY YOU MISSED THIS IN THE FIRST FILM? WELL LET ME MAKE IT SUPER OBVIOUS FOR YOU BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT I WAS AIMING FOR!". Subtlety was not so high on Hooper's list in this movie, it seemed like he was trying to change the idea that the viewers had of the original. A child can watch this movie, really, a child.

Finally, what was Dennis Hopper thinking? YOU WERE IN EASY RIDER, MAN, COME ON!!! 

In case you couldn't figure out that he was an
absolute idiot, we gave him a funny looking
face to help you.


I really appreciate dark comedy. It's bold, ballsy, and doesn't give a crap about anyone or anything. TCM 2 does not lack that, it is one of the best comedies I've ever seen. Once you get over the fact that it's categorized as a horror flick, and start accepting it for its comedic value, you'll be in for a treat. I used to loathe it, I was ashamed of owning it, but that all changed. It is hard to to have multiple mindsets when watching a movie, and usually first impression is the best impression, but of course that's not always the case. For a long time I've hated many movies (and bands), but in time I started appreciating them, a good example being Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2. 

This film is somewhat a parody film, like scary movie. It was released in 1986, and it obviously parodies the excess that was associated with the 80's. The original poster of the film hilariously mocks The Breakfast Club's poster. The whole movie was the definition of excess, with over the top characters, stunts, music, and gore. I really enjoyed that because who doesn't love a good parody film.

The man who stole the show, without a doubt, was Bill Moseley as Leatherface's brother, Chop Top. That guy is one of my all time favorite characters in any movie, he did a great job carrying the film. A severely wounded Vietnam War veteran turned major hippie. We first see Chop Top at the radio station talking to Stretch, putting in a request for a song and talking about how he is a "far out fan". Moseley perfected the role, Chop Top (in this film) was more of an icon in that film than Leatherface. A maniac who gleefully murders his victims and listens to Iron Butterfly, far out man!

The final battle scene between Lefty and Leatherface was nothing short of epic. Two guys battling it out with chainsaws and grenades, how can anyone hate that? TCM 2 is a pure gore-fest, and although I've been known to have my reservations on gorey movies, it's good to appreciate a good gore-fest from time to time. I only hate gore-fests when they're used in a context to scare people, because it's really not creative and quite boring, but that wasn't the case with this movie.

To conclude, from whatever perspective you chose to watch this movie with, you will find a way to appreciate it. TCM 2 is a really good movie in it's own right, just don't put it side by side with the original. It is a classic midnight popcorn flick that's worth watching and won't really ruin your night, so long as you ignore Leatherface's stupid dance. But beware, I was a lenient on this film because it started to grow on me, the movies that came after it though, total fucking horseshit. I will not even attempt to review the atrocities that came after it, because they're exactly what I said they were, atrocities.

"Can you play Inna Gadda Da Vida?"

Ahmed J, Almatrook 

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