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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (also known as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2) is a 1986 American horror dark comedy slasher film, directed by Tobe Hooper. It is a sequel to the 1974 horror classic 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. The film stars Dennis Hopper as "Lefty", Caroline Williams as "Stretch", Bill Johnson as Leatherface, Bill Moseley as "Chop Top" and Jim Siedow, who reprises the role of "The Cook".
The sequel was highly criticized by some for its stylistic departure from the first film, including its bigger budget and emphasis on gore and wacky black comedy, as opposed to the original which utilized minimal gore, a low-budget vérité style and atmosphere to build tension and fear. The emphasis was on black comedy, which director Tobe Hooper believed was present in the first film, but unacknowledged by viewers because of its realistic and shocking content. Despite being successful in its initial 1986 theatrical run, the film failed to make a substantial profit for the studio; however, it eventually garnered a cult following and became popular on home video, which led to a special edition release of the film on DVD in 2006.
On the afternoon of August 18, 1973, five young people in a Volkswagen van ran out of gas on a farm road in South Texas. Four of them were never seen again. The next morning the one survivor, Sally Hardesty-Enright, was picked up on a roadside, blood-caked and screaming murder. Sally said she had broken out of a window in Hell. The girl babbled a mad tale: a cannibal family in an isolated farmhouse... chainsawed fingers and bones... her brother, her friends hacked up for barbecue... chairs made of human skeletons... Then she sank into catatonia. Texas lawmen mounted a month-long manhunt, but could not locate the macabre farmhouse. They could find no killers and no victims. No facts; no crime. Officially, on the records, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre never happened. But during the last 13 years, over and over again reports of bizarre, grisly chainsaw mass-murders have persisted all across the state of Texas. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has not stopped. It haunts Texas. It seems to have no end.
The film takes place in 1986, 13 years after the events of the first film. It begins with Buzz and Rick, two rowdy high school seniors racing along an abandoned stretch of Texas highway, in route to a weekend of fun in Dallas. They are heavily intoxicated and use their car phone to call and harass on-air radio DJ Vanita "Stretch" Brock (Caroline Williams). Unable to convince them to hang up, Stretch is forced to keep the line open. Buzz and Rick encounter a large pickup truck which runs parallel to them on a remote bridge. Suddenly, Leatherface (Bill Johnson), wielding a chainsaw, emerges from the back of the truck and proceeds to attack Buzz and Rick. After a short struggle, Rick tries to shoot Leatherface with a .44 Magnum revolver, but misses his target. Leatherface then slices off part of the driving Buzz's head, and the car ends up crashing.
The following morning, Lieutenant Boude "Lefty" Enright (Dennis Hopper), former Texas Ranger, and uncle of Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother Franklin, 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 investigating his niece and nephew's disappearances while investigating reports of mysterious chainsaw killings across Texas. Although regarded with disdain by his peers, Lefty is able to convince the local newspaper to print a tiny article about his quest for justice. The article captures the interest of Stretch, who brings him a copy of the audio tape which recorded the attack on the two teenagers. Initially mortified, Lefty asks Stretch to play the tape on her nightly radio show so the law enforcers and the people will have to listen to him.
As the sounds of the horrible attack echo across the airwaves of Texas, Leatherface's family arrive at the radio station. While preparing to leave for the night, Stretch finds Chop Top (Bill Moseley) (who was stationed in Vietnam during the first film and is the twin of the Hitchhiker from the first film), waiting in the lobby. When she tries to get rid of him, Leatherface emerges from the darkness. Horrified, Stretch locks herself behind the metal door of a storage closet, holding off Leatherface until he comes through the wall. Meanwhile, Stretch's co-worker L.G. (Lou Perryman) arrives, but is beaten badly with a tack hammer by Chop Top. As Leatherface approaches Stretch, about to attack, she does some fast talking and charms him into sparing her. After a moment of distraction, Leatherface restarts his chainsaw and tears off through the studio slashing at walls, furniture and studio equipment, but leaves Stretch alive. He returns to the reception area where he leads Chop Top to believe that he has killed Stretch. Leatherface and Chop Top haul the mortally wounded L.G. off to their home, followed by Stretch, who winds up trapped inside the Sawyer home, which is actually an abandoned carnival ground decorated with human bones, multi-colored lights, and carnival remnants.
Lefty soon turns up with three chainsaws of his own and begins to carve up the home in a rage shortly before he finds the remains of his aforemntioned nephew, Franklin. Stretch finds L.G. dead and takes a look around the hideout. Drayton (Jim Siedow) finds Stretch roaming the grounds and the family capture her. Lefty eventually finds her being tortured at the dinner table and saves her. Drayton tries to bribe Lefty with money, but Lefty slashes Drayton's back side with the chainsaw, and frees Stretch. A battle between Lefty and the Sawyer family ensues, ending with a chainsaw duel between Leatherface and Lefty. As a wounded Drayton commentates from under the table, Lefty gains the upper hand and impales Leatherface in the stomach. In the end, Lefty and most of the Sawyer family (Leatherface, "Grandpa" and Drayton) are apparently killed when a grenade (which Drayton recovers off of the Hitchhiker's preserved corpse) goes off prematurely. Only Chop Top and Stretch escape, where they have a final battle in a carved-out rock tower that overlooks the property.
Despite being slashed several times with a straight razor, Stretch grabs a chainsaw held by the mummified remains of the family's grandmother in a ritual shrine in the rock tower. Stretch then gets the upper hand on Chop Top, as she cuts him with the chainsaw, causing him to fall off the tower to a presumed death. The final shot shows Stretch standing on top of the tower and emulating Leatherface's famous chainsaw dance from the ending of the first film.
Several scenes were deleted by director Tobe Hooper due to pacing issues. 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. An alternate 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. There are other some other deleted scenes that were't featured in the DVD:
|The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Pt. 2|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Genre||Gothic rock, New Wave, alternative rock|
- The Lords of the New Church: "Good to Be Bad" – 4:42
- The Cramps: "Goo Goo Muck" – 3:02
- Concrete Blonde: "Haunted Head" – 2:48
- Timbuk3: "Life Is Hard" – 4:06
- Torch Song: "White Night" – 3:42
- Stewart Copeland: "Strange Things Happen" – 2:58
- Concrete Blonde: "Over Your Shoulder" – 3:20
- Timbuk3: "Shame on You" – 4:48
- The Lords of the New Church: "Mind Warp" – 3:42
- Oingo Boingo: "No One Lives Forever" – 4:08
"Crazy Crazy Mama" by Roky Erickson was used in the film but not included on the soundtrack album.
Reception and box officeEdit
The film was released theatrically in the United States by Cannon Films in August 1986. It grossed $8,725,872 at the 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 Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2 has received generally mixed reviews from critics over the years, currently holding a 45% approval rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on twenty-one reviews.
Roger Ebert wrote, "Part 2 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." 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 film was released on VHS by Media Home Entertainment the same year. When initially released on home video and laserdisc, it still had no rating. When reissued on home video and on DVD in 2000, it was given an "R" rating by the MPAA.
In a similar way to its predecessor, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2 has had a checkered past in regard to its relationship with censors in various countries. As a result, the film is still banned in Germany and Singapore. 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 then aborted its plans for a possible UK release in 1990. Despite this, it is now rated 18 in the United Kingdom.
The film was banned in Australia for 20 years. An uncut version was released on VHS by Warner Bros. 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 30 November 2006. The Uncut "Gruesome Edition" DVD was released on 24 January the next year.
The theatrical release poster for the film also resembled the poster for the film The Breakfast Club.
On 1 August 2000, the film was released in a bare bones region 1 DVD by MGM. However, on 10 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 on September 11, 2012 which featured all of the special features from the "Gruesome Edition" DVD.