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Movie Review- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Over a decade after the release of the first film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was released on August 22nd 1986. Due to the passage of time and the indelible mark that its predecessor had left on pop culture, it had a lot to live up to.

The film follows the cannibalistic Sawyer clan from the original, who are being tailed by Lieutenant Boude Enright (Dennis Hopper), who is obsessed with apprehending the killers and gaining justice for his niece and nephew, Sally and Franklin Hardesty, who part of the original cast brutalized in the first film. Joining him on his personal vendetta is feisty, likeable radio host, Stretch (Caroline Williams) who manages to attain invaluable evidence when one of the Sawyers’ slayings is recorded on her show. Unfortunately, this brings them both into the Sawyers’ crosshairs and the floodgates open once more for another bloodbath.

Unlike the more subtler moments of dark comedy from the first film, this one is utterly entrenched in it, from enterprising cannibal cooks to chainsaw fights. It adds a dark charm to the film without detracting any of the series’ trademark brutality. This is in turn aided by the manic energy channelled throughout the main cast, such as Bill Moseley’s deranged performance as the grotesque ‘Chop-Top’ Sawyer and Jim Siedlow as Drayton, the exasperated eldest of the Sawyer clan, who trying to manage both his chilli business and his unruly brothers. The relationship between the three Sawyer brothers is a twisted version of the Three Stooges and provides some dark slapstick.

But the crown is taken by Dennis Hopper, who dials his performance up to maximum, being as loud and eye-catching as Leatherface’s iconic weapon of choice. The climax of the film, with his ranting destruction of the Sawyers’ hideout and violent duel with Leatherface, which involves him triple-wielding chainsaws, must be seen to be believed. Stretch too is a final girl’s final girl, being both wily and willing to retaliate against her attackers. The film’s bigger budget allows for more macabre effects than the more minimalistic original, leading to some truly eerie imagery.

Overall, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a wickedly funny, bloody romp through the sun- and -blood drenched outskirts of Texas. Though it’s not as bleak and dread-inducing as the original, it still stands on its own.



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