I have a confession to make. While I’ve seen most of the classic old-school slashers, I’ve never bothered much with the sequels. That includes my favorite of them all – the 1974 Tobe Hooper classic proto-slasher The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That is, until now.
Now, for all you fans of the original film, what makes it so good? Is it the cinema verite-inspired rawness that somehow makes it feel more real? Is it the slow introduction to the horrors of the Sawyer clan in their backwoods Golgotha of a home? The on-screen violence that is simultaneously clear while hiding enough of itself to leave the worst to our imaginations?
Now, imagine all that is replaced with pure over the top insanity the straddles the lines between macabre and outright wacky, and you’ve got yourself The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Tobe Hooper’s 1986 follow-up to his 1974 classic.
Unsurprisingly, the Sawyer clan – dumb muscle mascot Leatherface (Bill Johnson), laughing lunatic Chop Top (Bill Moseley), evil restauranteur Drayton Sawyer (Jim Siedow), and living mummy Grandpa Sawyer – are back at their inbred-yokel-flavored cannibal shenanigans. Only instead of wayward teens, Vanita “Stretch” Brock (Caroline William), a radio DJ who got the wrong call, is now in their sights. And like the Sawyers, the movie ramps up everything in this second go-round.
I mean, who needs any kind of subtlety when the bulk of the action takes place in a mausoleum of an amusement park? When Dennis Hooper’s revenge filled Lt. Boude “Lefty” Enright spends half the time running through tunnels with a chainsaw until he ends up in a chainsaw-on-chainsaw duel with Leatherface? When the movie starts off with some sociopathic punks getting into some road rage trouble with Leatherface and Chop Top that ends in Leatherface sawing through the other car, all during a high-speed chase down a Texas highway? When Stretch has her last conversation with her producer when she’s wearing his still blood-slicked face while Chop Top – dancing with the mummified body of the hitchhiker/his twin brother from the first movie I might add – and Leatherface listens to Drayton Sawyer bitching and moaning about small business taxes? Yeah, there’s a lot going on.
Sure, I wouldn’t exactly call this movie scary – there were some good tense scenes in the first half, but those passed by as the film dialed up the insanity. That said, I gotta hand it to Tobe Hooper. He wanted to make a balls-to-the-wall grindhouse sequel filled with schlocky black comedy alongside horror, and by god the mad man did it. I’ll end with this. It may not be great, but you’re not going to be bored. I know I wasn’t.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2
$40 per car / $35 Music Box Members
starting at 9:30 pm on Sunday, October 4th
Chi-Town Movies Drive-In located at 2343 S Throop St, Chicago, IL 60608
Drive-in admittance begins 30 minutes prior to the films’ listed start time.