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John’s Horror Corner: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), taking the Sawyer family from dire to stark raving macabre delirium and delivering a stronger kind of final girl.

May 7, 2016


MY CALL: Part 1 stunned us with brutality and desperation. But part 2 was made to push the gory and psychological aspects into disturbing territory. I loved this film and clearly so did Rob Zombie, who claimed that House of 1000 Corpses (2003) was in honor of the horror era of the past–but really, and not to his discredit, it seemed that he was re-imagining this.. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: Well obviously you should have already seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). From there I’d suggest seeing The Funhouse (1981) and Motel Hell (1980) before moving on to the much better TCM 2. After that, you could skip to the rebooted series (2003, 2006), perhaps excluding Texas Chainsaw 3-D (2013)– I wasn’t at all thrilled with it as a Texas Chainsaw movie, but I generally LOVED it as a bad horror flick!


After a narrated introduction linking our story to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and explaining the aftermath of Sally’s escape, we meet a pair of yuppie shithead sociopaths shooting road signs and playing chicken with locals on rural roads while donning preppie attire like pastel sweaters and frat house blazers. They obnoxiously cackle and, unlike our gang of victims in part 1, we are all probably looking forward to their well-deserved gruesome deaths.


Not only do they get what they deserve, but it happens in a manner far more gory and campy than anything in part 1. Leatherface (now played by Bill Johnson; The Caretakers) has a slapstick vibe about him as he chainsaws a moving vehicle while wearing an entire dead shambling corpse as a disguise. Taking a hard turn from the hopelessly desperate and dire original, this new campy tone emanates throughout this sequel and takes more after Tobe Hooper’s own The Funhouse (1981).



Compounding this silliness is that we find Drayton Sawyer (Jim Siedow; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) taking very much after the campy Motel Hell‘s (1980) Farmer Vincent, winning a chili cook-off and being praised for his tasty meat stew. Like The Funhouse (1981), Motel Hell borrowed heavily from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), embracing cannibalism, a macabre pig head mask, and a chainsaw attack. Now it seems that TCM 2 is borrowing back.


Radio DJ Stretch (Caroline Williams; Leprechaun 3, Halloween II, Hatchet 3, Contracted) is the best part of this movie. She and her producer (Lou Perryman; The Cellar, Poltergeist) heard the aforementioned yuppie victims (one with the top of his head awesomely sawed off) being killed when they obnoxiously called in to her radio show. So Stretch rushes to help Lefty (Dennis Hopper; Waterworld, Land of the Dead) in his investigation of his nephews’ death, which he believes to have been at the hands of the purported chainsaw-wielding maniacs 12 years prior.


Of course, the Sawyer family is back and Chop-Top (Bill Moseley; House of 1000 Corpses, Texas Chainsaw 3D, House) is batshit crazy and disturbingly awkward. He is so sick and twisted that I felt scared for Stretch when she faced him–and I, a well-seasoned and desensitized horror buff, never feel scared for anyone except for the Poltergeist (1982; also Tobe Hooper, by the way) family! The violence goes off the deep end when he hammers the shit out of her friend over and over again…with an actual hammer…cackling all the while. Whereas Leatherface is as sexually repressed and perverse as can be, essentially chainsaw dry-humping while licking his malformed lips.



It’s pretty sick and it really paved the way for subsequent sicko releases like House of 1000 Corpses (2003). All the while, these encounters show us how strong Caroline Williams plays our final girl Stretch. She’s terrified and manic, but she fights back and defends herself however she can, even by psychologically manipulating the man-child Leatherface.



As we approach the third act Stretch falls into the deep underground lair of the Sawyers, Leatherface skins sopping corpses and plays with peeled bloody faces, and Lefty goes mad with vengeance intent on caving in the Sawyers’ abandoned mines. The festival macabre continues with puppeteered corpses and insane rants. Offal pits and halls of rotting corpses abound in this craziness that you will subsequently find duplicated in House of 1000 Corpses (2003; in honorarium) and Stretch runs for her life through the maze of dead bodies in her short shorts screaming.



Writer/director Tobe Hooper (Lifeforce, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, The Funhouse) returns and shifts gears from brutal and dire to slapstick gory batshit crazy. In an effort to one-up his own work, the Sawyer home and dinner scene are elevated to an “11” in terms of lunacy, the chase scenes are longer and the gruesome actions find far more blood, severed limbs, rended flesh and rubber guts than its predecessor.


Grandpa is evil senescence at its best as he hammers Stretch, Leatherface is now borderline invincible and able to fight Lefty with a chainsaw through his stomach with his guts hanging out, scrappy Stretch gets into a fight with Chop-Top that endures so long that it set the standard for Keith David and Roddy Piper in They Live (1988)…it seems EVERYTHING has been turned up to an “11” in this crazy sequel.





Just when you thought it couldn’t get more over the top Stretch ends up at Grandma Sawyer’s shrine and does the same crazy chainsaw kata as Leatherface in the end of part 1. That’s what I love about this movie. You keep thinking it can’t get any crazier, but it somehow does. It’s like Jurassic Park (1993), “crazy” finds a way.



Part 1 stunned us with brutality and desperation. But part 2 was made to push the gory and psychological aspects into disturbing territory. I loved this film and clearly so did Rob Zombie, who claimed that House of 1000 Corpses (2003) was in honor of the horror era of the past–but really, and not to his discredit, it seemed that he was re-imagining this.



Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 : Cinema 1-Sheet Poster



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  1. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: Leprechaun 3 (1995), Warwick Davis, Las Vegas, and infectious Leprechaunthropy. | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: Cannibal Holocaust (1980), appallingly brutal yet stylistic and controversial yet admonishing. | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Don’t Breathe (2016), so much more than a home invasion movie with a dark secret. | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. John’s Horror Corner: Tourist Trap (1979), where Psycho meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. John’s Horror Corner: Wrong Turn (2003), if The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) family had a cabin in the woods. | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. John’s Horror Corner: Lifeforce (1985), Tobe Hooper’s big budget naked space vampire epic. | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. John’s Horror Corner: Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007), an over-the-top gorefest that was made for Henry Rollins. | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. John’s Horror Corner presents Strong Opinions: Critically analyzing 10 reasons I appreciated the Evil Dead (2013) remake. | Movies, Films & Flix
  10. John’s Horror Corner: Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009), mixing the booby traps of Rambo: First Blood (1982) and Predator (1987) with inbred, redneck, mutant, cannibal hillbillies. | Movies, Films & Flix
  11. John’s Horror Corner: The Blob (1988), this slimy, gory sci-horror about an acidic alien ooze is an 80s practical effects favorite! | Movies, Films & Flix
  12. John’s Horror Corner: Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011), the best cannibal hillbilly sequel in the franchise so far. | Movies, Films & Flix
  13. John’s Horror Corner: Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012), not quite the worst of this hillbilly horror franchise. | Movies, Films & Flix
  14. John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985), more boobs, body count and masked killer shenanigans advance the Tommy Jarvis story arc. | Movies, Films & Flix
  15. John’s Horror Corner: Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), introducing zombie Jason to more camp counselors and some of the most fun death scenes of the franchise so far. | Movies, Films & Flix
  16. John’s Horror Corner: Hatchet III (2013), Kane Hodder returns as Crowley in this AMAZING gore fest that bests the franchise in the dismemberment department. | Movies, Films & Flix
  17. John’s Horror Corner: Charlie’s Farm (2014), a brutal and basic Australian horror featuring the monstrous Nathan Jones in a Leatherface-ian role. | Movies, Films & Flix
  18. John’s Horror Corner: Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (2014), neither best nor worst in this hillbilly horror franchise. | Movies, Films & Flix
  19. John’s Horror Corner: The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984), Wes Craven’s surprisingly tame cannibal cult classic sequel. | Movies, Films & Flix
  20. John’s Horror Corner: The Hills Have Eyes (2006), the shockingly brutal remake reflects Wes Craven’s and Tobe Hooper’s cannibal cult classics. | Movies, Films & Flix
  21. John’s Horror Corner: Boar (2017), Nathan Jones goes mano-a-mano with a giant killer boar in the unofficial remake of the Australian classic Razorback (1984). | Movies, Films & Flix
  22. John’s Horror Corner: Wolf Creek (2005), a brutal Australian slasher film that is totally mean-spirited, well-villained and shockingly credible. | Movies, Films & Flix
  23. John’s Horror Corner: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), a worthy remake bringing new levels of meanness to the franchise. | Movies, Films & Flix
  24. John’s Horror Corner: Maniac (1980), a sick, brutal, ultra-violent (for its time) slasher movie with an in-depth look into its killer. | Movies, Films & Flix
  25. Bad Movie Tuesday: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), squandering the strong final girl and slapstick bonkers violent legacy of part 2 (1986). | Movies, Films & Flix
  26. John’s Horror Corner: Child’s Play (2019), the fun reboot of the 1988 classic evil doll franchise that we deserve! | Movies, Films & Flix

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