By Chris Parcellin | October 31, 2000

Why would someone wait twelve years to film a sequel to a blockbuster cult classic like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”? Well, a follow-up movie that had the ground-breaking realism of the original was a tall order indeed. Director Tobe Hooper had crafted a simple, but terrifying vision of redneck insanity and bloodlust. And, on paper, “Part 2” seems promising, with its star being none other than world class actor/lunatic Dennis Hopper.
Our old pal Leatherface (Bill Johnson) starts the fun off by going after a couple of spoiled teenage pricks who make the mistake of running his pick-up truck off the highway. Needless to say, Leatherface prevails with a swipe of his chainsaw that chops the other driver’s head in-half while both vehicles are in motion!
Lieutenant “Lefty” Enright (Hopper) is soon on the case and with the all the subtlety of a chainsaw attack we are immediately told that Hopper is the uncle of some of the punks killed by Leatherface in the original flick. For his part, Hopper seems to be going through the motions. But, let’s face it — this ain’t exactly “Hoosiers”.
Hopper gets his first break in the case when Stretch (Caroline Williams), a disc jockey, gives him an audio tape of the killings made when the high school snots called-in to her radio show to harass her. (The only good thing I can say about Stretch and her radio station is that she played a song by the Cramps — which she later referred to as “head-banging music”).
For some reason, Stretch is also covering “Bake Offs” for the radio station — and the next thing you know, she’s reporting that one of the killers from the first movie has won a cooking contest with his chili. He accomplishes this, he says, because he has “a real good eye for prime meat”. Right on, brother.
When Stretch starts playing the tape of the teen geeks being murdered on her radio show, Leatherface and his flesh-loving kinfolk show up at her station with chainsaws in-hand. One of her co-workers takes a brutal a*s-whipping with a hammer (and later has his ugly face peeled-off by the rascally Leatherface). But the creepiest moment is probably when Leatherface puts his chainsaw (the ultimate phallic symbol) dangerously close to Stretch’s private parts. Hey, no more camel toe!
Following this bit of light-hearted frollicking, Stretch manages to stumble into the Chainsaw Family’s underground lair — where they cut-up humans and make all that mouth waterin’ chili! It’s here that there’s a sweet moment between old softie Leatherface and the very available Stretch. L-face puts the face he just ripped-off of one of his victims right on Stretch’s homely mug and dances with her. Could she have “Mrs. Leatherface” potential? No, that would’ve been a little too cute for this crew. And — charming as he is — Leatherface is no Fred Astaire either.
Shortly, a raging Hopper arrives to exact a little justice with his own chainsaw. (Personally, I would’ve sprung for an Uzi or a Glock to deal with this bunch.) And he goes right into Frank “Blue Velvet” Booth mode with some bad-assed snarling and nutty ham acting.
This movie is a great, big mess. It’s never truly scary, and you get the feeling that Tobe Hooper’s been living off the original flick’s rep for so long that he didn’t give a damn if this movie sucked or not. And, believe me, it does.

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  1. p snider says:

    Yeah I admit, if Lefty was to be more, say, realistic about pursuing his vendetta against the family, he should have opted for an assault rifle or something. But then we would have been deprived of at least two completely great, hysterical moments: our bad lieutenant going bat guano on a test log with what has to be the biggest saw EVER, much to the cackling delight of the shopkeeper; and later, charging into the family’s underground lair with said saw in hand like a monoxide-belching Winchester and two (relatively) smaller models hung like six-guns from either hip– a bizarre image, Hopper looking like some nihilistic black comedy gunslinger. Bonus points for situating a deranged clan of small business-
    men/cannibals in an abandoned monument to Texas-style violent self-mythologizing. Remember the Alamo indeed. It would appear that these wingnuts haven’t forgotten.

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