Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is one of the most misunderstood movies of all time. I saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 when it was released in theaters back in 1986. I loved this horror flick then. But everyone else hated it. Critics trashed it. Even many horror fans, of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre or slashers in general, hated it and dismissed it. Now after a decade or so after its release, TCM 2 is now a bona fide cult movie.
There are so many things to point out why TCM 2 is a stand-out. The first and most important thing to point out is that back in the 1980s, horror films were reduced to simple slashers. TCM 2 is totally different than the plethora of slashers that many horror fans expected to see, which is one reason why many horror fans didn't get it. The body count is extremely low in TCM 2 compared to the Friday the 13th or Elm Street flicks. But that doesn't mean it's not violent. No, it's VERY violent. But the violence in TCM 2 is more engrossing, shocking and even at times funny, and in turn less acceptable than the unreal violence found in many slasher films. Because of the amount of violence and violent imagery, films critics trashed TCM 2, pointing out how the first film didn't rely on gore and violence to scare the audience.
I love Texas Chainsaw Massacre as much as I love TCM 2. I understand what the critics were saying. Unfortunately, they didn't get the point of the violence in TCM 2. While TCM is a sweat inducing TERRIFYING horror film in the first order, TCM 2 is a "GRAND GUIGNOL HORROR" horror film in the first order. In TCM 2, Hooper creates a vast canvas of baroque imagery, where we watch the insane and gory story unfold before our incredulous eyes. I'm amazed that critics missed the whole difference between TCM and TCM 2. It's odd that critics will rave about Peter Greenaway's "THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE & HER LOVER" which is a twisted drama in the the Grand Guignol style, but didn't see TCM 2 in the same way. It's probably due to the fact that TCM 2 is a sequel to a quasi-legendary horror film and everyone expected the sequel to be the same as the first movie.
I give credit to everyone involved with TCM 2. They actually TRIED to do something different: different from the equally great TCM, different from the increasingly boring horror films of the 80s. And in my eye, they've succeeded. There are so many memorable scenes in TCM 2, some of which are the most amazing horror moments ever put on screen (when Leatherface tries to put the scalped face on Stretch, the scene when Stretch finds her friend sans face, etc). And there are so many quotable lines too. TCM 2 is also a very funny film ("Rain, rain, rain, rain..." Choptop says as he checks out records at the radio station).
TCM 2 is not perfect. The ending is abrupt. And the chainsaw fight at the end is too short. Dennis Hopper is a bit hard to take as a "hero." But he does play the "twisted hero" right. It's just difficult to see him fighting big and burly Leatherface. BTW, the very last image of TCM 2 is Strecth dancing with a chainsaw in her hands at the top of that amusement park structure. In the original film (and the original video release), we can see cars and trucks driving by on a highway in the distance. On the DVD, they cropped this shot and we don't see the traffic anymore. Personally, I thought it added a LOT to the whole surreal aspect of the film. Like the world was continuing on with its relentless pace, no matter what had just happened that night. I wished they didn't crop this shot on the DVD. Oh well...
It's a shame few people "got" TCM 2 back then. After reading the reviews at IMDb and at Amazon, it's great to see that some are finally "getting it." For anyone who's game, watch TCM 2. You'll be squealing in horror and laughing at the insanity of it all in equal amounts.
A radio host is victimized by the cannibal family as a former Texas Marshall hunts them.
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July 23, 2016 at 8:43 AM