Slashers & Serial Killers in Review : THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: A favorite in Slaughter town
As little girls our mother allowed us to watch the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre, being all of maybe nine years old we were terrified (and, yes, probably too young to watch it but our mom’s awesome like that). The thoughts of some psycho cannibal family living in an old farm house in Texas, hacking unsuspecting people to death and then consuming them definitely reached a higher level on the horror meter than some of the classics we had been previously exposed to and yet there was an element to it that really drew us in. That man behind the skin mask, not speaking a word yet saying so much to us, he won our hearts forever.
Flash forward a few years when we are on the cusp of becoming teenagers, the precious years when other girls are like totally concerned with regular girl things like makeup and stylish clothing, it was then that the young Sisters of Slaughter were reintroduced to a certain family of cannibals in the form of a sequel, a horror comedy that helped shape their twisted senses of humor, one that is celebrated in Slaughter Town like a national holiday.
The film was Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 from 1986. We couldn’t resist the pull of a man in a Sonny Bono wig, scratching pieces of his own scalp off with a heated coat hanger and eating it or a kick-ass lady in cutoff shorts going toe to toe with a beast wearing someone else’s face, could you? If you said you could in fact resist then you can lick our plates, you dog dick! Ok, that was a line from the movie, now can you see how awesome it is? It was with such characters and dialogue and its unrelenting gore that its influence spawned new horror gems like House Of A Thousand Corpses and The Devils Rejects, both of those pay such homage to TCM 2 that the actor who played that devilishly clever psycho in a terrible wig acted in both of them as well.
Let us guide you through some of its madness and explain how it captured our hearts and opened our eyes to one of the most badass final girls of all time.
From the opening scenes involving some high school douche bros encountering some serious road rage on a dark highway while prank calling a radio station, to puppetry with a corpse and the unveiling of our favorite chainsaw wielding maniac, the audience knows this sequel ain’t fuckin’ around. It’s got a magic to it that only comes from a team dedicated to creating a great sequel to a legendary film and also the special effects wizardry that makes every bloody second look so goddamn real. Not everyone was a fan when it landed in theaters but over time it has become a cult classic and to us the cult is where it’s at. These were the movies we cut our teeth on and the imagery that has contributed to the way our generation envisions horror.
Stretch, our bloodied heroine, is a disc jockey that catches the attention of the psychotic cannibal Sawyer family and is abducted after an attack at her radio station by Leatherface and the iconic Chop-Top, who swings a hammer like no man around while spouting some of the most memorable lines from any horror movie ever. She is taken to an abandoned theme park. She isn’t alone though; her partner at the radio station K-OKLA and not-so-secret admirer L.G. is also taken. She only discovers the blows to his head during her abduction by Chop Top, a legendary character played by Bill Moseley, didn’t quite do him in. His face has been removed as another trophy and courting gift from Leatherface who has a serious thing for Stretch. He makes her wear it while he attempts to dance with her; it’s a scene that captures the depravity of the masked man, how off he really is and the twisted fantasies his mind harbors. Leatherface is the overgrown Texas-style Ed Gein, proving once again that everything is not only bigger in Texas but it’s also bloodier. Stretch finds herself deep in the heart of psycho country, surrounded by corpses and those who put them there in an underground labyrinth of death. It seems she is gonna be another menu item for the deranged family that is until another badass throws his cowboy hat into the ring.
Dennis hopper plays a former Texas Ranger and revenge-seeking relative of two of the victims from the first installment of the series and he ain’t going down without a fight. He infiltrates the lair of the Sawyers, wielding double chainsaws and shit gets crazy. While Stretch fights her way through the maze of death and Lefty (Dennis Hopper) seeks retribution for the death of his nephew the audience is taken on a fast paced, gory, race to the finish, leaving one badass alive and holding a chainsaw to the sky, screaming with madness.
The characters in this film are each so unique and alluring that it’s really hard to pick a favorite. From Chop-top with his twisted hippy attire, metal plate in his skull and foul mouth, to Leatherface who is just a big violent lug whose got it bad for the gorgeous Stretch and did we mention his insatiable craving for human flesh, to Lefty, the man who has been praying for his shot at vengeance for years and had found it at last. Shit, even L.G. is a great character even though he finds himself on the receiving end of a hammer, who could resist a man who builds you a French fry house? Coupled with a blood soaked, gory storyline, it is in our eyes an instant classic. We hope we persuaded you to check it, why not enjoy it while eating a big bowl of Texas-style chili, just beware of those stray peppercorns. 😉