The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Cert 18.

Director - Tobe Hooper.

Writer - L.M.Kit Carson.

Starring - Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow, Bill Moseley & Bill Johnson.


Premise - 14 years have passed since the original Chainsaw Massacre and former Texas marshall and relative to the massacre's victim's 'Lefty' Enright (Dennis Hopper) is tracking the cannibal family across Texas. He employ's the services of radio disc jockey Stretch (Caroline Williams) to help him track Leatherface and Co. down.

Chainsaw 2 is a completely different film from it's stunning predecessor. Whilst the original Chainsaw film was an excercise in terror and suggestion, barely spilling a drop of blood, the sequel is a balls out schlock horror flick. Chainsaw 2 has more blood and gore in it's opening 5 minutes than the first film had in it's entire running time. The make up and gore effects by Tom Savini are certainly impressive, suitably icky and at points they are actually fairly realistic looking.

It's of little surprise that when Cannon offered Chainsaw 2 to the BBFC (British Board Of Film Classification) for certification in 1990 that the BBFC demanded 20 whole minutes of cuts before it would award an 18 rating. Cannon withdrew the film, unwilling to cut the film by such a degree. The BBFC of the 80's and early 90's were famed for their no-nonsense attitude towards violence against women and Chainsaw 2 has it in spades.

Lead actress Caroline Williams is put through the wars, much like the lead was in the original film. Whether it's sexually suggestive chainsaw use, straight razor slashing, wearing human faces or just plain getting beaten, the film throws it all at her. Dennis Hopper plays his standard nutter role that he has honed over the years, this film clearly isn't a stretch for him, but he seemed to be having a good time and I certainly appreciated seeing him in it.

Best of all though is the Sawyer family. All the actors except Gunner Hanson (the original Leatherface) reprise their roles from the first film. Bill Jonhson gives a good stab at Leatherface and you can't tell it's a different guy, the mannerisms are all there. The family is a crazy bunch and certainly make for some interesting viewing. The bickering between them is like a real family, except this family likes to kill people with chainsaws and turn them into BBQ and chillies!

That said the film is a bit all over the place. Hooper has made a film that tries to keep it's finger in too many pies to be a success. Chainsaw 2 tries to be a black comedy, a parody of the original and a homage all in one neat box. At the end of the day though it doesn't work out that neatly.

Some of the black comedy in this film is a riot, especially the twisted attraction that Leatherface has for Stretch. Cooks reaction to Leatherface's new relationship is inspired, 'Sex or the saw?' is a question you won't hear to often when watching a film. Also of note is a retread of Grandpa's finest hour from the first film involving a bucket and a hammer, hilarious stuff. I also enjoyed the final shot, a nice payoff for fans of the original film.

It's a bit of a shame in the end though, if Hooper had went straight down the black comedy route then Chainsaw 2 might have been a better proposition. As it stands it's a mess, but a mess that I found fairly enjoyable in a sick kind of way.

At least the BBFC finally saw sense and passed the film with an 18 certificate complete and uncut, offending 20 minutes and all.


5/10 for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Poster Quote - Anyone for BBQ?