The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Movie


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Radio DJ Vanita 'Stretch' Brock's open request night is plagued by the annoying phone pranking of two road tripping, party-hard, hoodlums, but things take a disturbing turn when the hoodlums meet their demise at the hands of familiar chainsaw wielding maniacs. With the entire gruesome ordeal recorded on tape, Stretch seeks out the help of a former Texas Marshall who's on a personal quest of vengeance against this family of cannibals. While at first he turns her down, he eventually decides to use her tape to his advantage, asking her to air it during her request block- effectively baiting the cannibals to the radio station where he'll personally deal with them.
USA
IMDb   5.6 /10
Metacritic   42 %
TheMovieDb    5.7 /10
RottenTomatoes
FilmAffinity   4.4 /10
Information
Release Date1986-08-22
Runtime1h 41min
GenreComedy, Horror
Content RatingUnrated (Unrated)
Awards1 win & 1 nomination.
CompanyCannon Films, Golan-Globus Productions
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish
Lieutenant 'Lefty' Enright
Vanita 'Stretch' Brock
Leatherface
Cut-Rite Manager
L.G. McPeters (as Lou Perry)
Mercedes Driver
Gourmet Yuppette
Sports Anchorman

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (also known as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2) is a 1986 American black comedy slasher film directed by Tobe Hooper. It serves as a parody sequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, also directed and co-written by Hooper. It was written by L. M. Kit Carson and produced by Carson, Yoram Globus, Menahem Golan and Hooper. Starring Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Bill Johnson, Bill Moseley and Jim Siedow, the plot follows a radio host victimized and captured by Leatherface and his cannibalistic family while a former Texas Marshal hunts them down.

During its theatrical release, the film grossed $8 million domestically against its $4.5 million budget and became popular on home video. The sequel received a mixed reception from critics and audiences alike. Positives and negatives referred to its emphasis on black comedy and gore, which departed from the first film's approach that used minimal gore, low-budget vérité style and atmosphere to build tension and fear. Director Tobe Hooper decided to focus on its black comedy as this was present in the first film, but was unacknowledged by viewers because of its gritty content. Despite the mixed reception, the film eventually gained a cult following. It was followed by Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.


Plot

Two high school seniors, Buzz and Rick, race along a desolate stretch of Texas highway, en route to the Texas-OU football game at the Dallas Cotton Bowl. Heavily intoxicated, they use their car phone to call and harass on-air radio DJ Vanita "Stretch" Brock. Unable to convince them to hang up, Stretch is forced to keep the line open. While passing a pickup truck, Leatherface emerges from the back of the truck and rips up the roof using his chainsaw. Rick tries shooting Leatherface with his revolver but Leatherface kills Buzz, causing the car to crash, killing Rick.

The following morning, Lieutenant Boude "Lefty" Enright, former Texas Ranger, and uncle of Sally and Franklin Hardesty, who were victims of Leatherface and his family years earlier, arrives at the scene of the crime to help solve Buzz and Rick's murders. Lefty has spent the last thirteen years looking into his nephew's disappearance, investigating reports of mysterious chainsaw killings across Texas. He is contacted by Stretch, who brings him a copy of the audio tape that recorded the attack. He sends her away, leaving Stretch and L.G. to reluctantly get radio coverage of a Texas/Oklahoma Chili Cookoff. The winner happens to be Drayton Sawyer (current patriarch of the cannibalistic Sawyer family), who declares that his secret is having an eye for "prime meat."

Meanwhile, Lefty shops for an arsenal of chainsaws at a local hardware store. He at first unnerves, then amuses the shop's owner with his brutal testing of the saws on a log. Lefty then drives to Stretch's radio station and asks her to play the tape on her nightly radio show so that the public, which had previously mocked his case, will have to listen to him.

Drayton, driving home from his chili cookoff victory, demands that his family go to the radio station, prompted by the nightly radio broadcast of the tape. While preparing to leave for the night, Stretch is confronted by Bobby "Chop Top" Sawyer before being attacked by Leatherface. Her coworker L.G. Peters is apparently killed by Chop Top. Leatherface corners Stretch and is about to kill her, but she charms him into sparing her. Leatherface returns to Chop Top and leads him to believe that he has killed Stretch. They then take L.G. to their home, followed by Stretch, who becomes trapped inside the Sawyer home, an abandoned carnival ground decorated with human bones, multi-colored lights, and carnival remnants.

Lefty, who has been following their car all along, arrives equipped with chainsaws and proceeds to trash the home before he finds Franklin's remains. Meanwhile, Stretch is found by Leatherface, who puts L.G.'s skinned face and hat on her before tying her arms and leaving. Later, L.G. is still alive and frees Stretch before dying. Drayton finds Stretch and the family capture her. Chop Top scolds Leatherface when he finds out that Stretch is still alive. They torture her at the dinner table, but Lefty arrives and saves her. Stretch flees the ground, but Chop Top chases her. Lefty wounds Drayton. Lefty and Leatherface get into a chainsaw fight, and Leatherface is fatally wounded. The dying Drayton, accepting that he and his family have lost, takes a grenade from Nubbins' corpse and blows up the ground, killing himself, Lefty, Leatherface and Grandpa.

Chop Top chases Stretch to the top of a rock tower. Stretch grabs a chainsaw held by the corpse of the family's grandmother in a shrine and fatally wounds Chop Top, causing him to fall off the tower to his death. Stretch shouts in triumph and swings the chainsaw in the air.


Cast

  • Caroline Williams as Vanita "Stretch" Brock
  • Dennis Hopper as Lt. Boude "Lefty" Enright
  • Bill Moseley as "Chop Top" Sawyer
  • Jim Siedow as Drayton Sawyer
  • Bill Johnson as Leatherface
  • Lou Perryman as L.G. Peters
  • Chris Douridas as Gunner/Rick
  • Ken Evert as Grandpa Sawyer
  • Kinky Friedman as Sports Anchorman (cameo)
  • Dan Jenkins as T.V. Commentator (cameo)
  • Joe Bob Briggs as Gonzo Moviegoer (cameo)

Production

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Originally, Tobe Hooper was just going to produce the film but he could not find a director the film's budget would afford. According to the documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, the production company Cannon Films were expecting a horror film while Tobe Hooper wanted to make a black comedy. When Cannon viewed the film they were unhappy with the final product. The movie's climax was filmed at the closed Matterhorn amusement park in Prairie Dell, Texas. They shot in caves for the scenes inside the Sawyer home.

Gunnar Hansen was initially approached to reprise his role as Leatherface but he claimed to have been offered "scale, plus ten percent" with the ten percent going to his agent. When he replied that he had no agent, they offered scale without the additional ten percent. Hansen found the offer too low. Unit publicist Scott Holton offered an alternate story claiming Hansen vacillated about the part and the offer was rescinded. Holton didn't believe the average viewer was even aware of who the original actors were, claiming "who are Neal, Hansen or Burns?"

Bill Moseley created a short film parody entitled The Texas Chainsaw Manicure where he played a small role as The Hitchiker and showed it to a screenwriter who was able to show it to Tobe Hooper. Hooper loved it and kept Moseley in mind for a part should he ever make a sequel. When the time came to cast Chainsaw 2, Moseley was contacted for the role of Chop Top, the Hitchhiker's twin brother.

Deleted scenes

Several scenes were deleted by director Tobe Hooper due to pacing issues as mentioned on the 2000 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Shocking Truth documentary. One lengthy scene that was cut from the film involves the Sawyer Clan heading out at night to collect prime meat for their chili by slaughtering movie patrons and a group of rowdy, rioting fans. The deleted slaughtering scene featured several elaborate Tom Savini special effects. Another deleted scene also includes the American film critic Joe Bob Briggs. An alternative plot line involving Lefty Enright as Stretch's father was also scrapped. However, these scenes are present on the 2007 Gruesome Edition DVD special features section.


Release

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2014)

The film was released theatrically in the United States by Cannon Films in August 1986. It grossed $8,025,872 at the domestic box office.

After it was submitted to the MPAA in the United States, the film received an "X" rating, prompting the filmmakers to release it as unrated. However, TV previews, theatrical trailers and even posters for the film displayed the written statement: "Due to the nature of this film, no-one under 17 will be admitted".

The final poster design, featuring the family sitting together, was a parody of the poster for the 1985 teen comedy-drama film, The Breakfast Club.


Reception

Critical reception to the film was mixed. Roger Ebert awarded the film one star out of four, lambasting the film because it "goes flat-out from one end to the other, never spending any time on pacing, on timing, on the anticipation of horror. It doesn't even pause to establish the characters; Dennis Hopper has the most thankless task, playing a man who spends the first half of the movie looking distracted and vague, and the second half screaming during chainsaw duels." He also commented that it "has a lot of blood and disembowelment, to be sure, but it doesn't have the terror of the original, the desire to be taken seriously. It's a geek show." TV Guide's review was similarly negative, stating that "the film feels as if Hooper himself has nothing but contempt for the original and went out of his way to tear it down." The New York Times criticized the film saying "Hooper's direction is a little sloppy" and that the film "is not first-grade chopped steak."

AllMovie's review was favorable, writing, "much-hated at the time of its release, Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has aged remarkably well, now playing as a strangely effective if none-too-subtle satire of several facets of '80s excess."

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2 holds a 47% approval rating on film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 32 reviews with an average rating of 4.94/10. Its consensus reads, "Without the tense atmosphere of its predecessor, the stakes feel lower, but The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 still shocks with a gonzo blend of over-the-top humor and gore." On Metacritic the film holds a score of 42 out of 100 based on reviews from 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". It has since become a cult film. Scholar Jack Halberstam, in the essay "Bodies That Splatter," read the film as messily deconstructing gender binary and rigidity, finding in Stretch a classic final girl and criticizing feminist thought that confused representations of violence against women with violence against women in reality.

Controversy

The film was released on VHS by Media Home Entertainment the same year. When released on home media it has had no rating.

In a similar way to its predecessor, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has had a checkered past in regard to its relationship with censors in various countries. As a result, the film was banned in Germany and Singapore, however the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft in Germany later gave the uncut version an 18 rating, and Singapore gave it an R21 (Restricted to under 21) rating after an appeal. When the film was submitted in the United Kingdom to the BBFC for a certificate, the BBFC notified Cannon, the distributor, that at least 20 to 25 minutes of footage would have to be trimmed in order for the film to be given an 18 rating. Cannon attempted to cut the film, but eventually gave up after numerous re-edited versions failed to pass the BBFC. The uncut version of the film was eventually given an 18 rating in 2001. When released in Ontario, Canada the film had had 11 minutes cut after being rejected three times by Ontario censors.

The film was banned in Australia for 20 years. An uncut version was released on VHS by Warner Home Video in New Zealand in 1987, but could also be found (illegally, as the box proudly stated) in some Australian video stores at the time. The New Zealand VHS cassette has become very rare. In 2000, an unofficial VHS release was issued to retailers throughout Australia. This was done so illegally by a duplicating house, and without the knowledge of the OFLC. When news of the illegal copies leaked, a number of retailers were raided for possessing infringing copies. The duplicating house was similarly raided by Federal Customs. The film was finally passed for official release in Australia on November 30, 2006. The Uncut "Gruesome Edition" DVD was released on January 24 the next year.

Soundtrack

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Pt. 2
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
Released1986
GenreGothic rock, new wave, alternative rock
LabelIRS

"Crazy Crazy Mama" by Roky Erickson was used in the film but not included on the soundtrack album.

Home media

In August 2000, the film was released on a region 1 DVD by MGM Home Entertainment. In October 2006, the film received a second DVD treatment from MGM, entitled "The Gruesome Edition", which featured an audio commentary by director Tobe Hooper and David Gregory, director of Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth, as well as an audio commentary by actors Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams and special effects makeup creator Tom Savini. The special features also included deleted scenes, a feature-length documentary entitled It Runs in the Family, six still galleries and a trailer. A Blu-ray edition of the film was released in September 2012 which featured all of the special features from the "Gruesome Edition" DVD.

Scream Factory released a Collectors Edition of the film on Blu-ray on April 19, 2016.


Sequel

The official sequel to the film was Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III but in 1998, Tobe Hooper's son William Hooper, began work on All American Massacre, a short film that would be both a sequel and a prequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Hooper ran out of funds for post-production in 2000 and the film was never completed and released although the trailer leaked online in the early 2000s.