Time to get back into the franchise mines and keep digging up sequels that I never watched. I’m one of the few horror fans I know that never particularly liked the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It suffered from the 70’s movie issue of being slow and plodding plus I never cared for any of the characters. Leatherface managed to stand-out in that film because he was the only one with that really interested me. While this sequel certainly manages to have some incredibly memorable performances, I’m not sure if it justified a new entry to the series 12 years after the first one came out.
The movie lets us know in an opening crawl that it also takes place over a decade since the events of the last film. The victims and the family were never found and most people chalk up the whole “chainsaw massacre” thing as an urban legend. Except for Lieutenant Lefty Enright (Dennis Hopper), the uncle of a couple of the victims from the first movie that has been on the tail of the Sawyers for 12 years. A local radio DJ, Stretch, manages to get a call in from some idiots as they get chainsawed and goes to Lefty with the recording. Unfortunately, playing that recording on the air gets the attention of the Sawyers, which leads to a very strange evening for the poor woman.
The film this time around eschews a lot of the horror from the first film for humor. We find out that the eldest Sawyer brother, Drayton, is apparently a two-time chili cookoff champion and has his own food truck to make money on the human meat they get from their kills. We also are introduced to the most memorable new character, Chop Top. Bill Moseley does such an incredible job of making the character both amusingly ridiculous but also the most disturbing of the family. We also get a scene with Leatherface and Stretch where we get some heavy “chainsaw as penis” stuff with her placating him by telling him he’s “real good” and I have to imagine it spawned a slew of essays all on its own.
The movie tried to do something drastically different from the first film, which I can respect, but it still feels just as clunky and weirdly paced. The entire back half of the movie is just the Sawyer boys fucking around and tormenting Stretch in the abandoned Texas Battle Land amusement park. While hearing Drayton lament the taxing of the small businessman is amusing, the extended amounts of goof-em-up schtick makes the whole thing get real disjointed. Even Dennis Hopper running around yelling while wielding no less than 3 chainsaws doesn’t manage to save this film because they will establish him sawing down the structure they are in but then jump over to the Sawyer Comedy Hour for 15 minutes while totally forgetting about him.
While certainly more memorable to me than the original, I don’t think this particular installment is for me. I know people love the crazy Chop Top performance and all but it lacked enough genuine humor and horror to get me to appreciate it.
Score: 2.5 out of 5