Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Review
My favorite entry in this series, is not often remembered by many horror movie fans. People cite this series as being extremely gory and my parents didn’t even let me see it when I was a kid. I had to smuggle it behind some Wrestling vhs tapes that I was renting once while visiting my dad, and it became an instant classic for me. I present for your reading consideration, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 dvd review:
The movie has a simple plot. We pick up about a decade after the original, and we get some weird character introductions, but it surrounds a Sheriff seeking revenge against those that killed his family. Along the way, we also see a radio show dj get in the mix, and get to see an uncanny case of goons and helpers, creating such an awesome second film in the series.
Here is a trailer for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2:
Tobe Hooper is back to direct this film, but the budget seems a little higher. It works really well here and you see where Rob Zombie got his inspiration for some of the sequencing that was in House of 1,000 Corpses as the film plays with night and day horror pacing.
The actors do a good job overall, and there are a lot of cool parts, and a lot of sexualized parts that you don’t really get the first time watching this film. I’m talking about the overtly sexualize sequence where Leatherface nearly molests the radio dj “Stretch” in the back room of the radio studio. There is no other way to really explain how sexually charged this scene is, than for you see it for yourself and nod your head in agreement. The chainsaw in this sequence is used almost like a dildo, and it is just way too symbolic for my tastes, and maybe that is what they were going for, but it really teases your mind and being a guy I really wanted this to get into the rated R territory if not the unrated or x-rated sequences because I guess I like nudity at times. Overall though the acting is top notch, including Dennis Hopper as a Texas Ranger, and Bill Moseley doing a killer job as Chop Top!
The beginning of this film is the best, if you haven’t seen it, really puts up a major horror sequence. These two college students are on their way to spring break or a party of sorts, and they play chicken with a truck. Later that night that truck comes back with a full crew and saws the kids and the car in half! We get introduced to Leatherface and the second wave of his family, and things start rocking hard right away.
The third act of this film is also a great one. The setting is an abandoned amusement park, and the creep factor goes through the roof. It’s interesting to see how much this influenced House of 1,000 Corpses, and some might blow a whistle to say that Rob Zombie stole most of the settings from this film. There are some great points in this third act, creating a great element of fear and horror, that really rivals some of the better episodes of “Tales from the Crypt” on HBO, and that’s a huge compliment in my honest opinion.
The ending makes no sense. Seriously, the ending is just weird, and I don’t understand why they chose to leave a final girl victorious. Things really get out of hand as there is a third film entitled “Leatherface” where we see his return, even though this film would basically not allow another sequel! Hopper really plays his role into a badass territory, where he breaks down the walls of revenge and really starts looking more like Charles Bronson than the guy from “Easy Rider”. By this time, Dennis Hopper’s career wasn’t exactly doing so hot, and I don’t even remember a lot from him after this, until he became a villain in the Keanu Reeves film “Speed” that people like to hate on a lot. Hopper, has redeemed himself in recent years, and he does a great job in this piece of B-Movie goodness.
A sub-plot that makes this film a little different than most of this category happens to be rather odd considering what is going on today. What I am referring to is the bbq contest featured in this film. We later find out that the meat used in this award winning bbq is meat from humans! Oh yeah, USDA suck it!
Tom Savini does the make up and effects in this film, and it looks awesome. The gore and make up is top notch. If you look at Chop Top’s head and skull, the latex and burned parts are just too good. His face is awesome too, and if you’re not familiar with this, you are missing out. Tom is a credit to horror, and is better than any CG you could come up with.
Why The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is scary: It is easy to find scary moments in this film, but I am going to go with some less obvious points of scary instances. The scary thing is not obvious to most, at least from what I have found through conversations.
The first thing that should scare you and others is the radio station set up. This radio station is stated in the film as being somewhat popular. The radio show is late night and plays requests, but the dj and the programmer seem to say that they are the number one show at their time. Immediately I would assume that the radio station is not a hole in the wall. However, in 1986, maybe the radio stations weren’t that high tech at all? I don’t know. I do know that there is a local radio station here in Seattle, Wa and you can’t just run down there with your chainsaw and terrorize anyone. It’s highly guarded. However, if you saw the movie “Airheads”, then you are going to say that jumping into a radio station isn’t all that hard. The lax of security at this radio station is really odd, and the ease of which it is taken over is hilarious to me. I know, it is 1986 when this film was released, but still, there’s no excuse for the lack of protection on what is assumed a popular radio station and show. Considering that the woman in this film is touted as being a sexual object and/or attractive in the way that there is a near sex scene in the back room upon Leatherface and Chop Top’s breaking and entering, you would think that the radio station would have some sort of protection for her or at least better locks to the doors of the building. Then we wouldn’t have a movie, huh? Hey, I’m just saying that it’s scary to see a woman terrorized due to lack of protection and therefore makes a convincing horror element in this otherwise black comedic film.
Another scary notion in this film is the deregulation of abandoned amusement parks. Seriously folks, did anyone else think about how funny it is that the Texas government, the U.S government and anyone else involved in this city, didn’t know that Leatherface and his crew were living underneath the abandoned Amusement park? Isn’t that a bit crazy? I know that skateboarders have recently been embarking on abandoned water parks to skate the pipes and make some great photo and video opportunities, but come on, an abandoned amusement park holds a psychopathic family who is hell bent on killing people? Seriously, this is just insane, and underneath the park is a long aisle of catacombs that connect to a massive dining room, where the rest of the family stay, of course unknown to anyone…until Lefty shows up armed to the teeth.
Lastly, the scariest part of this film is the grandfather. The grandfather in this film is decrepit and looks to be nearly dead, and the crew tries to get him involved in smashing the skull of Stretch. This is the most pathetic and sickening old man, who is in a wheel chair and can barely move his arms. He picks up a small mallet and just misses, and connects a few times, the sound is sick and the thud is just amazing. It’s harsh, and it is another scary moment in this film. Seriously, the sound effects on this part is just so good, you have to admit that Hooper draws you in with so much tension at this point that the rest of the film seems amateur to this sequence.
This is definitely my favorite movie in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Series. It is better than the first, and way better than the third. Check out The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and enjoy all the best of 80's dark horror comedy from Tobe Hooper, Dennis Hopper and your pal Sirj...I was 3 years old when it came out.
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