The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a 1986 film sequel to the 1974 horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The film is directed by Tobe Hooper, basing the characters on the original film. Writing credits also include Kim Henkel. The film stars Dennis Hopper as "Lefty" and Bill Johnson (actor) Bill Johnson as Leatherface. The film is considered by many fans and film critics to be one of the worst sequels of all time, mainly due to its stylistic departure from the first film. Unlike its predecessor (which had minimal gore and relied on dramatic tension and a documentary-style feel to scare the viewer), this film sports a wildly over-the-top, almost operatic sense of campy black humor, as well as an array of gore effects by makeup maestro Tom Savini. Although it managed to recoup its meager costs, the film was considered a commercial flop. Since its initial release, however, it has developed a rather sizable cult following of its own. Its defenders claim it to be an intentional parody of the original ''Chainsaw'', and point to the cinematography and surreal set design as homages to the French New Wave films of the 1960s. More recently, this entry in the series has been viewed as the dying nightmare of original film character Sally Hardesty, which helps explain the plot of the following sequel. The film features an appearance by Texas writer and erstwhile political candidate Kinky Friedman as the Sports Anchor. Joe Bob Briggs also had a cameo role in the film, though his scene was cut before the first release to theatres. Notably, the original theater poster (shown at right) for TCM 2 is a parody of the poster for the John Hughes (film director) 1985 teen movie The Breakfast Club, this image was also used on the original TCM 2 VHS box art.
The story opens as two rowdy high school seniors race out of control along an abandoned stretch of Texas highway in route to a weekend of fun in Dallas. Heavily intoxicated and in the mood for some fun, these two hellions use their car phone to call in and harass on-air DJ, Vantia "Stretch" Block (Caroline Williams). Unable to convince the boys to hang up, Stretch is forced to keep the line open and later with what began as a simple game of chicken with a few good ole boys quickly turns into a nightmare as their gruesome deaths are caught on tape at the radio station. After a fourteen year absence, a legend has now emerges from the shadows. In steps Lieutenant "Lefty" Enright (Dennis Hopper), former Texas Ranger and uncle of Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother Franklin. It seems Lefty has spent the last fourteen years chasing their ghosts while investigating reports of mysterious chainsaw killings across Texas. Branded a kook by his peers, he is able to get the local paper to carry a tiny article about his quest and this sparks the interest of Stretch who brings him a copy of the tape. At first mortified, Lefty asks Stretch to play the tape on her nightly show. She does so as a special request from Lefty and terror comes a calling. As the sounds of this horrible incidents echoes across the airwaves of Texas, a few of Stretch's fans decide to drop by for an unexpected visit. While preparing to leave for the night, she finds Chop Top (Bill Moseley), twin to the "Hitchhiker" (who was stationed in Vietnam during the first film) waiting out in the lobby. When she tries to get rid of him, out of the darkness comes Leatherface ready to rip her in two. But it seems the "saw" has taken a shining to Stretch and lets her live.
Production & Trivia
*Joe Bob Briggs had a part as a movie critic which was later cut from the film, but due to a mix up in post production his name is still listed in the end credits. The scene was restored in the Director's Cut release. *This film was intended to be a parody to the first film. *A poster can be seen on the wall in the radio station for the band "Fine Young Cannibals." *The "family group shot," as seen in the advertisements, posters and video covers, uses the same positioning as the promotional group shot for the movie The Breakfast Club (1985). *Director, Tobe Hooper and co-writer of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Kim Henkel originally had an idea for a sequel that would feature an entire town of cannibals. The title of that sequel was to be Beyond The Valley Of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it never came to fruition. *The controversial "butcher cover" of The Beatles album "Yesterday and Today" can be seen hanging in the radio station. *Director Cameo: Tobe Hooper Frolicking during a party scene. *Jim Siedow is the only actor in this movie that was in the original. *Due to conflict with the second unit director, large portions of the film had to be cut in order to maintain a sense of continuity; stories from on-set which began circulating the internet in the early 2000s tell of a second unit director who had his own "vision" for the movie and intentionally shot scenes which conflicted with Hooper's script and direction. For example: *A scene in the shooting script had an entire football team being ambushed by Leatherface in a lonely parking garage. The scene in the script simply called for Leatherface to dive out of the back of a van and slaughter the team. The second unit director shot the scene with large floodlights in the back of the van, so that when Leatherface stepped out he appeared ethereal; the football team freezes in place as if hypnotized, and more or less allow themselves to be killed by Leatherface. *At the climax of Joe Bob Brigg's scene, his hand is chaisawed off by Leatherface; the hand then "comes to life" and gives Leatherface "the finger" *Notably cut from the film, albeit for running time and pacing as opposed to quality, were a series of scenes revealing that Stretch's mother had dated Lefty, and that Stretch grew up hearing stories about Lefty.The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Morgue