The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II
starring Dennis Hopper, Caroline
Williams, Jim Siedow, Bill Moseley,
Just As Good As The First
Just recently I re-watched the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" with a
friend who had surprisingly never seen it. I had forgotten how horrific and
viscerally disturbing it was, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
That got me thinking about the sub-par sequels; "Leatherface" (had a
couple of moments, but the studio really crapped that one up), "The Next
Generation" (which I didn't think was as bad as some, but bad all the
same), the remake, the prequel (both of which were good in their own
rights, just not the same gut-level dread and horror as Hooper's
original)...and the part two..."Hmmm" I thought..."wasn't there some crappy
part two back in the eighties?"
I have to admit, when I saw this one twenty-odd years ago, I didn't like it. I
was one of many who went to the theater expecting the same kind of
atmosphere and experience as the original had given me, and "The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre 2" did NOT do that.
As said, a lot of years and my critical eye for film have matured a great
deal, and reading some of the reviews I opted to give this one another
I'm thrilled that I did.
No, TCM2 isn't a primal fear fest that the original was, but it IS, like
Romero's "Dawn of the Dead", a reflection of the time it wa s made.
Watching it for only the second time (but certainly not the last time; I
ordered it the same day I returned the rental) in my life, I was at times
horrified, other times tickled, and constantly impressed by the level of
satire that was not always tongue in cheek, but was certainly well done.
The performances were all spot on and never delved into self-aware
parody (and Caroline Williams not only turned in a stellar performance, but
man, is she gorgeous or what?), the sets and cinematography were
phenomenal, and I found myself very ashamed of my youthful and
arrogant original opinion of the film.
This "Gruesome" release is the uncut version of the film, contains some
very funny deleted scenes, an excellent featurette on the making of the
film, and not one but two commentaries (I recommend the one with the
actors; whilst the track with Tobe Hooper is informative, the one with
Williams, Moseley and Savini is just plain fun).
Look at it for what it is...if you watch this film on its own merit and do n ot try
to compare it with the classic original, you'll find one of the most brilliant
and well done satirical works done on the genre, while at the same time
acquitting itself as one of the very best OF that genre.
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