The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

1986

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Critics Consensus

Without the tense atmosphere of its predecessor, the stakes feel lower, but The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 still shocks with a gonzo blend of over-the-top humor and gore.

48%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 31

44%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 50,684
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Movie Info

Over ten years after making the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tobe Hooper returns to his deranged family of reclusive cannibals for another round of chainsaw chases and non-stop screaming. Hooper brings a real budget this time (having recently directed Poltergeist for Steven Spielberg) and the talents of veteran make-up artist Tom Savini. This means he can make things bigger, louder, and gorier than ever before; and they are. He also brings a wacky, self-deprecating sense of humor, as if deliberately flaunting Texas Chainsaw Massacre's status as one of the first and still greatest "slasher" movies. The result is an impish take-off on the original film (and contemporary horror movies in general) which elevates its own cliches (buckets of blood and gore, droll dialogue, the screaming female lead) to the level of high camp. The movie is loosely concerned with a small-town disc jockey named "Stretch" (Caroline Williams, who does most of the screaming) and an embittered Texas Ranger named "Lefty" (Dennis Hopper). They team-up and decide to put an end to the murderous activities of the Sawyer family once and for all (that is, of course, until Texas Chainsaw Massacre III). The real highlight of the film is when Stretch and Lefty find their way into the Sawyer family hideout--a ruinous, winding abattoir underneath an abandoned amusement park--and engage in a chainsaw-battle-to-the-death with Leatherface and the rest of the clan. Jim Siedow is back from the first film as the acerbic Drayton Sawyer, the family cook and owner of the "Last Roundup Rolling Grill". Chop-Top (Bill Moseley) and Leatherface (Bill Johnson) do most of the movie's dirty work.

Cast

Bill Johnson
as Leatherface
Dennis Hopper
as Lt. `Lefty' Enright
Caroline Williams
as Vanita `Stretch' Brock
Jim Siedow
as Drayton Sawyer
Bill Moseley
as Chop-Top
Lou Perry
as L.G. McPeters
Barry Kinyon
as Mercedes driver
Kinky Friedman
as Sports Anchor
John Bloom
as Gonzo Moviegoer
Ken Evert
as Grandpa
Harlan Jordan
as Patrolman
Kirk Sisco
as Detective
Tobe Hooper
as Man in hotel corridor (uncredited)
James N. Harrell
as CutRite Manager
Judy Kelly
as Gourmet Yuppette
Wirt Cain
as Anchorman
Daniel Jenkins
as TV Commentator
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News & Interviews for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Critic Reviews for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (16)

  • No matter how adeptly Chainsaw 2 was put together, it would remain just another exploitation flick for fans who get a tingle from watching blades slash into flesh and innards peep out.

    May 21, 2003 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Gratuitously violent, and none too subtle (it lacks the subversive qualities of the original) it's also undeniably funny, maniacally energetic fare with a liberal smattering of enjoyable set-pieces.

    Sep 26, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Jason Wood

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Hooper successfully welds together the terrifying steel of Leatherface's chainsaw with a good dose of backwoods Texas humour.

    May 3, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • There's something to love about how unapologetically crazy, and unlike the last one, this movie is...it still tries to convey relatable things.

    Jan 4, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Everything is heightened in Chainsaw 2, the gore gorier, the performances, broader, the music synth-ier.

    Jul 3, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

  • Jul 12, 2018
    To say that the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a controversial movie at the time of its release would be an understatement. My own mother told me of the time, back when she was young and my family had gotten a VCR, that they rented the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and she couldn't actually finish watching it because of its dirty, grimy visual style which is, really, part of the reason a lot of people like the movie. I don't wanna say it felt real, but the Texas Chainsaw Massacre's relatively minuscule budget actually helped in creating a more believable atmosphere. While you knew that you were watching a movie, the visual style helped you pretend that what you were watching was real, if even for a moment. The thing about my mom's memory of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, however, is that she remembers it as something it's not. She recalled it being very violent. But that's just the thing about the cinematography, because it's so dark and dirty, it gives off the appearance of being incredibly violent, but it was anything but. That movie relied more on its suspense and, honestly, the gore itself was incredibly minimal. The movie has also been incredibly influential in the FORTY-FOUR years since its release. I don't wanna say that without Leatherface, we wouldn't get Jason or Michael Myers, but Leatherface definitely helped shape people's perceptions of what a horror villain is meant to be. I'm hopeful that the original movie's influence is never forgotten, because without it, the slasher genre might have been very different. Having said all of that, you'd think that it'd be almost impossible to follow that movie's success and influence up with something that is of similar quality or, perhaps, even better. I don't wanna say I came in with preconceived notions of what I wanted this movie to be, but there's a certain perception that what you're gonna see is not gonna be as good as what came before. And I'm not here to claim that this movie is as good, or influential, as the original movie, because, quite frankly, that would be very hard to duplicate. What I can say, however, is that this movie is absolute fucking insanity. And I mean that as a compliment. I'm not gonna spoil who gets this treatment, but I find it absolutely impossible, IMPOSSIBLE I SAY, to have anything but respect and love for a movie where a character dies due to getting a chainsaw in his ass and taint. I really can't. Perhaps the most obvious change from this movie, which Tobe Hooper (RIP, kind sir) maintains wasn't a change, from the original is the fact that this is a more openly comedic movie. I'll honestly have to watch the original again to see if what Mr. Hooper claims is true, but I think I would honestly classify this a dark comedy first and a horror movie second. I'll be honest, the change was a little jarring. I don't wanna say I was expecting a serious horror movie, but at first I was a little bit confused as to what exactly I was watching. The movie starts off fairly straightforward enough. Stretch, this DJ at a local radio station, is called by two of the douchiest of 80s douchebags. They fuck with Leatherface while driving down the road and Leatherface proceeds to rip up the roof of their car, fuck up their door and slicing off part of the head of one of the douches, leading to them crashing the car and dying. This is all while the two douches are on the phone with Stretch. She records this conversation for future use. Lieutenant Enright has been hunting down for those responsible behind the series of chainsaw 'accidents' throughout Texas. Nobody believes him. Oh and he's also the uncle of two of the victims from the original movie. So there's a personal stake involved. Enright asks Stretch for help and, eventually, she does by playing the recording of the deaths every hour on the hour to see if anybody comes forward with additional evidence. But, of course, Enright used this as bait to get those responsible to come forward. Eventually Chop Top (played by Bill Moseley, who does a great job here, as always) and Leatherface make their way down to the radio station, where Leatherface proceeds to threaten Stretch with his chainsaw and Caroline Williams (Stretch) starts overact the ever-loving hell out of it. This is where red flags were thrown up. I mean, Caroline Williams was so over-the-top with her acting and I was like, something does not fit here. As the movie progresses, however, the path became clear and it was painfully obvious to me that the movie is MEANT to be this way. Once you realize that this is meant to be an over-the-top and ridiculous movie, the more you start to enjoy it. But, we'll get to that later. Leatherface falls in love with Stretch and he lets her live. Stretch follows the family in her car, Chop Top believes that Leatherface murdered her, and they finally arrive at their compound. Which is some sort of underground carnival, cave thing. Lt. Enright is right behind her ready to take on the family of cannibals. How does Lt. Enright arm himself, you may ask. Well, he buys three chainsaw. Two small ones and one really big chainsaw. And, this is the kicker, the two smaller chainsaw he actually has HOLSTERS for, like they were a fucking sidearm. The visual of this grown-ass man having holsters for his two small chainsaws, which is still bigger than a handgun by, like, 10 or 20 times, is so preposterous that you can't help but laugh. I think when some people see this, who might have been confused by what they were seeing, they'll finally get it. By then, though, it may have been too late for some people, I don't know. Long story short, eventually Stretch is discovered by Drayton and Chop Top and they offer her up to grandfather in order for them to consume her meat. This is while Lt. Enright sabotages the family's home left and right, cutting up support beams and shit, while he screams that he'll drag these people back to hell in a dramatic fashion. Leatherface does this weird thing where he holds the chainsaw high above his head, he yells and he sort of shakes his belly from side to side. Sort of like he's doing the horror version of the shuffle truffle. And it's the least threatening thing this guy could have possibly done. I mean, it works within the context of the movie, it's hilarious and absurd, but if the idea was to make him scary by doing his as well, it failed. That can't have been the original design, it had to be done for comedic purposes. There's so much in this movie that I feel I'm not covering. The third act of the movie is even more insane, as if it was even possible. Enright eventually catches up to the family and Drayton, whose family owns a restaurant that feeds its costumers (you guessed it) human meat, he assumes that Enright has been sent by one of his competitors. Because, yes, the restaurant business is so cutthroat that your competition will hire police officers, with chainsaws, to sabotage your home and kill you. Hilarious. And then, and this is even better, Drayton tries to bribe Enright. Enright replies by saying that he's the lord of the harvest, to which Drayton asks if that's a new health-food group. It's the sort of line that you have to see for it to work, but I found this line hilarious for some odd reason. Fast forward a bit and the shit has, obviously gone down. Enright and Leatherface proceed to have a chainsaw fight. There's never been a sentence that I liked writing more than that last one. Enright shoves the big chainsaw through Leatherface's stomach, through the other side, and they STILL continue their fight. Because Leatherface took that chainsaw to the stomach like a fucking champ. This movie is so awesome. Drayton has a grenade that he's gonna use to kill Enright. Grandfather throws a hammer at Enright, Enright moves and the hammer hits Leatherface instead. Leatherface drops his chainsaw and it goes through the table and it fucks up Drayton's (who was underneath the table all this time) taint and asshole again. Drayton drops the grenade and it blows everybody up. So, essentially, the day was saved by slapstick. Yes, really. By this point Stretch has run away and Chop Top is after her. They reach the outside and fight their way up to this rock tower. In the tower, Stretch finds the mummified remains of the grandmother holding a chainsaw. Stretch takes the chainsaw and, eventually, (it is believed) kills Chop Top with it as he falls down to his death. Presumably. The movie then ends with Stretch shouting and swinging the chainsaw around like Leatherface did in the original movie and then it ends. I feel like I had to recap this, because this was all absolutely insane. The beauty about this movie is that it fully embraces the darkly comedic tone. This is still very much a horror movie, but it's also a movie that definitely wants to entertain you. And, honestly, I don't think I can disagree with that. I found this to be such a damn fun movie. The performances are great, the gore is great, the comedy is surprisingly effective and the visual style, while not as gritty as the original, doesn't sacrifice as much as one would have thought. I can't recall the last time I had this much fun watching a horror movie. And it's not like this is a bad movie that you laugh at because of how bad it is. The comedic shift is definitely a little jarring, but you can tell that the movie was created to be this way. And I'd have to say that it succeeded tremendously at that. I had a blast watching this and, while it helps to have some knowledge of the original, it is not essential to enjoy this movie in the slightest. It's a damn entertaining movie and I'm really glad I decided to watch this last night. Thumbs way up.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 28, 2014
    I will confess that upon initial viewing I was extremely underwhelmed by the radical change in tone in 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2'. Over the years I've warmed to the concept of a kamikaze satire about the nuclear family (the tagline was "The saw is family"). Whereas the 70's cult classic was noteworthy for its cinema verite style and minimalist gore, the sequel is guilty of 80's-era excess (ex. A chainsaw is thrust into Leatherface's midsection during a duel). The opening decapitation on a Texas bridge from makeup effects maestro Tom Savini is fiendishly scuzzy. Leatherface is no longer a burly butcher with vacant supernova eyes, he is a henpecked buffoon who sashays with his chainsaw more than he terrorizes people with it (the chainsaw is explicitly a phallic symbol). Country bumpkin L.G.'s (Lou Perryman) flayed appearance is certainly conducive to the gag reflex and the audience is genuinely saddened to see him in agony. Bill Moseley as the decaying Vietnam vet Chop Top fluctuates wildly between nuisance and comic relief. I will always lament that 'Part 2' is a grungy, amusingly hellacious follow-up isn't a tonal companion piece. However Tobe Hopper galvanizes our expectations and that is a cause for celebration.
    Cory T Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2013
    Balls to the wall insanity, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is the fevered dream of a madman. A radio DJ becomes the latest target of Leatherface and his family after one of their killings is accidentally recorded during an on-air phone call to her show. Rather than go for scares and chills, Tobe Hooper sets a comedic tone and goes for crazy and weird. Additionally, the visual aesthetic is creepy and freakish. Starring Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, and Bill Moseley, the performances are all over-the-top, but oddly charismatic; especially Moseley. Like a train wreck, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has a strange curiosity to it, but it's atrociously awful.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 19, 2013
    I consider the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" the greatest horror movie that's ever been produced. The grisly realism and berzerk psychology on display is, and always will be unparalleled. I could easily argue that the site of Sally Hardesty breaking down into hysterical incapacity, while Leatherface violently wielded his chainsaw in a frustrated tantrum, brought the saga to a very satisfying conclusion. Perhaps, the story could have been expanded. Unfortunately, the original was never done justice with a competent sequel. In the genre of horror, a successful brand name is rarely laid to rest. No matter how inept the ideas for future chapters appear. It's an easy way to make money. The first attempt at a sequel came from Tobe Hooper, the man who was responsible for the original. Unfortunately, Hooper never created anything memorable, or even good after "Chainsaw"( And yes, I'm including "Poltergeist"). Hooper's plans for the continuation of his masterpiece was to take the sequel in a new direction. So in 1987, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" was unleashed, with nearly no resemblance to its predecessor, whatsoever. Instead of grim atmosphere and the ambiguous use of gore, the idea here was to go over-the-top. While the effects on display were probably state-of-the-art at the time, thanks to the talents of Tom Savini, the constant blood bath does little to sustain much entertainment value. It's just a matter of what you see is what you get. There's no substance, just shock value. This error in judgement was mild compared to other "artistic" liberties that were forced upon the franchise. Apparently, Hooper was under the impression that the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was hilarious? It's true. Hooper considered his horror classic comical. Somewhere between the gritty realism, invalids being mutilated by chainsaws, sledgehammer assaults, and a girl being left alive hanging from a meathook, the humor was lost on the audience. Imagine that. So once again, Hooper's plan was to go over-the-top. What the audience got was "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2"... the dark comedy. For the most part, I experience a massive disconnect when I view dark-comedies. If I want to watch something funny, I'll watch something funny. When I want to experience horror, I'm in a different mood. Not to mention, nothing in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" is actually amusing. It's just campy and extremely irritating. Nothing is as awful as the introduction to the film, featuring two rowdy students causing mischief on the way to a football game. The dialogue is absolutely painful, and what transpires is constantly insulting to the intelligence. It's just something that I'm embarrassed to watch. Even if the movie was able to recover from the shoddy opening sequences, which it doesn't, the introduction would still serve as a black eye to the remainder of the proceedings. As far as the family is concerned, in the sequel Hooper decided to name the clan, the Sawyers. Get it? See that's the kind of highbrow humor that's on display here. Brilliant, right? Anyway, the Sawyers are completely overexposed in this film. Leatherface is completely emasculated as he falls head-over-heels for the Stretch character. You know, for some reason, the character is far less intimidating once we witness his premature ejaculation. (That's right, without going into the ridiculous details, that actually occurs. So there's a giant, wearing a dead skin mask, violently wielding a chainsaw, and he's not the least bit imposing, because someone thought that would be funny.) "The Cook" gets entirely too much screen time rattling off limp puns (No pun intended for the previously mentioned Leatherface scene). The most offensive addition to the clan is without a doubt, Choptop. Choptop is basically a poor man's imitation of "The Hitchhiker" from the original. Anyway, he hee-haws through the entire film, poorly executing pathetic dialogue, on his way to the losing end of a humiliating cat fight with the film's female protagonist. "The Grandpa" is still alive too. You see, he has to be. This is a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" sequel, so for some reason, the writers feel that they're obligated to recreate the infamous "dinner scene". Predictably, it was performed with the utmost sloppiness this time around. The film's only redeemable quality was Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of the "Lefty" character. He's the only actor that was able to pull of a one-liner, in a film littered with quotes that would disgust Henny Youngman. Years later, Hoffman would go onto admit that "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" was the worst film that he ever participated in. He was right. I hate this movie, and it's not even the worst sequel in the series. It has come to my attention that it's actually a lot of people's favorite chapter in the entire series. I suppose the original "Chainsaw" can be somewhat of a chore to sit through. Especially if you're not a fan of intense horror. This is much lighter, both in mood and substance. So I guess it's just a matter of taste. You know, one man's trash...
    Jason C Super Reviewer

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