A Look Back At: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 poster

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 poster

Did you know? In the poster above, which was used for the promotional purposes of the film, the group shot of the family are in the exact same positions of the poster for the film The Breakfast Club.

When the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre released back in 1974 it was a cult hit, and it gained die hard fans. Fast forward twelve years later and its sequel releases. It would always be hard to outdo the original, and even more so with comedy elements added to the film. Would this turn out to be one of the best horror sequels of all time? Lets find out, as we a take a look back!

In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, the plot centres around a young radio host (named ‘Stretch’) who ends up hearing Leatherface (and co.) murdering two guys in their early twenties as they called into her show. She then teams up with Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright, (played by Dennis Hooper) who is trying to figure out who murdered the two guys. After Stretch plays the recording of the two males dying all day on her show, Leatherface and co. show up at her radio station to make her their next victim while Lieutenant Enright hunts the family down.

Though that is the plot for TCM2, director Tobe Hooper and co-writer of the original TCM Kim Henkel had thought up a plot for the sequel which involved a town of cannibals instead of just the family we got in the first film. It was also known that it would be a satire of film Motel Hell which itself was a satire of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A name was even given to the sequel, “Beyond the Valley of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre“. But the studio Cannon Films Inc. disliked the screenplay so much that a new screenwriter was hired. They then ended up with the plot for the film we have now.

Actor Jim Siedow welding a chainsaw.

Actor Jim Siedow welding a chainsaw.

Did you know? Not only is Jim Siedow the only actor that was in the original film that returned, but TCM2 was his very last film.

Though The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has a totally different direction from the original, at the heart of the film, it is still very entertaining. And it is certainly better than the other sequels that were made later on down the line. When you think about it, with Hooper leading the film it couldn’t be actually that bad. The man has done so many incredible films, that he can even turn a classic slasher movie into a comedy movie, and still managing to keep the most important character, Leatherface, true to his roots but giving him a little bit more soul.

One of my minor problems with the film is that it gets very cheesy at the end, and I felt that it was kind of dragging out. Even with a running time of 101 minutes (note: the original was only 83 minutes) it felt like it was being dragged out, and some shots like the very last shot with Stretch, it could of been done better or even just cut altogether.

Even with my problem with the film going on a little bit too long, it is filled with goodness. There is many laughs to be had, and a great chainsaw battle in the movie too. But one of my favorite things about this movie would have to be Leatherface, I believe he is a better and even more of a ‘person’ but yet is forced to do things by his very sick family. It’s very clear in multiple (two in particular) scenes that he has some sort of feelings for Stretch, may they be sexually urges, or that that he actually cares for her. I think this makes him much more of a likeable character than the Leatherface we saw in the original who has basically no lines of dialogue at all and is just out to kill people. You get nothing more there and I can see why he was that way in a slasher film, but I do think he portrayed better in the sequel. I liked him way more, even with the few hundred (thousand) people he murdered.

Our favorite chainsaw wielding killer, Leatherface!

Bill Johnson as Leatherface!

Did you know? Tobe Hooper wanted Gunnar Hansen who played Leatherface in the original film, to comeback in the sequel to play him again. Hansen was up for playing the part, but he wouldn’t play him unless he was payed more. It was then decided to not bring him back and get Bill Johnson to play Leatherface.

At the end of the day, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 isn’t a sequel that just copies the original and lives off its glory. It’s a film where chances were taken and they paid off very well. It’s not the best sequel in the world, but it is one that any fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series should see, or just a horror fan in general.

Questions you may ask:

Should I watch this?
If you’re a fan of the horror genre in any way, or even just saw one of the TCM films and liked it, this sequel is definitely worth a look. I know when people hear about the comedy elements it kind of scares them away because the original film was (and still is) a landmark for the slasher genre, and now that comedy was incorporated into the sequel they automatically think it will be bad. But it’s not! Trust me, it’s a film that is very entertaining and fun to watch!

Is the rest of the franchise worth watching?
This is a tough question, because this franchise is very…mixed and matched. The original film is brilliant, and if you haven’t seen it already, that is the one you should start with. The second (which I discussed here) is also very good. The third film is…okay at the most. Even in the unrated version it is scared to show deaths, you always get that crappy ‘you can see the death!…in the shadow’. As for Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation? It’s a very, very bad film that you can totally miss out on. Even though the cast is impressive with Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey starring in it, it doesn’t make up for how overall poor the film is. The remake and prequel to the remake are both good films that can be enjoyed.


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