Welcome horror fans! Thanks to being closer to my partner Cult now I have been able to raid his horror collection which is impressive I must say. This time I revisited another “classic” but what do I really think about it? Here we go…
Man is it ever nice to have my horror lovin partner in crime close by, not only is it nice just to hang out with my friend but aside from his serious T-shirt buying addiction he also has a serious horror movie addiction. I’ve raided his collection to re-watch several favorites that I’ll have coming your way soon enough but the first one I pilfered from his collection was one that honestly I didn’t like the first time I saw it many, many years ago but since it is a part of one of my favorite horror series of all-time (Yes, including the remakes which I honestly think are awesome!) I thought it was high time I gave TCM 2 another shot. If nothing else for one of my favorites, the always awesome Bill Moseley!
So next year will mark the 30th Anniversary of this long awaited (at the time) sequel by Tobe Hooper to his classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This sequel is debatably the worst film in the TCM series but gave us the best character aside from Leatherface in the series which is not debatable (To do so is to challenge Feind to a battle to the death. Trust me you’ll lose!). If you don’t love Chop Top (Bill Moseley) then I honestly don’t know what to say because Chop Top is definitely, without a doubt, the best part of this film. I would even make the argument that the only reason to watch TCM 2 is solely for Chop Top because no offense to the other actors which includes another favorite of mine in Dennis Hopper as Lefty but the rest is pretty forgettable and you’ll probably want to forget.
So what’s wrong with TCM 2? Well, honestly, I can say I liked it better now than I did way back in the late 80s when I first saw it but I have a different appreciation of things now. TCM 2 is so thoroughly 80s it can make it unwatchable for some. For some reason the first TCM while dated and low budget seems timeless where TCM 2 looks, feels and is so thoroughly an 80s film the only thing really missing was Madonna and some “high” hair from the lead actress Caroline Williams as “Stretch.” The acting is beyond over the top and exaggerated which is obviously what Hooper was going for in this sequel and maybe it’s just me but I find it annoying. Also sadly and I mean no offense to the actor, Bill Johnson, but I hated Leatherface in this sequel. Leatherface is not scary in this one but rather I find him just more than a little goofy. Leatherface, to me, should not be goofy. Also Dennis Hopper as Lefty comes off quite goofy at times as well which bothers me for similar reasons.
So those are the main reasons why I didn’t care for TCM 2 when I first saw it so how was seeing it now with 20+ years of horror loving under my belt? Honestly it was significantly better. For one the OTT acting is something I’m far more tolerable of now and Bill Moseley as Chop Top really does save this entire film. Also on a side note Bill has admitted that Chop Top is his favorite character to this day just barely edging out my personal favorite Otis Driftwood (from Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil Rejects). Chop Top’s very first scene is one for the horror ages confronting “Stretch” (Williams) in the radio station after airing a recording of Chop Top and Leatherface killing a pair of idiots live. TCM 2 was made at the tail end of the “slasher” film era of the late 70s/early 80s which Tobe Hooper helped kick off with the original TCM even though John Carpenter’s Halloween is generally cited as the film that kicked off that era in horror history. Debate that all you want it really doesn’t matter but for me Hooper started it with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was fun seeing this one with fresh eyes since honestly I didn’t remember most of it and again seeing it now it brings up a lot of nostalgia for all those 80s horror flicks I watched as a young man.
If you’ve never seen this one here’s a brief synopsis. TCM 2 is a direct sequel set 13 years after the first film with reports of similar butchery reported all over Texas but the Sawyer family is considered basically an urban myth. When Leatherface and Chop Top kill a pair of young men on their way to a concert (sound familiar?) it is captured by small radio station DJ “Stretch” as the men had called the radio station to make a request and to be complete idiots. Lefty (Hopper) is the only cop who ever believed the random killings were the work of the clan from the first film, the Sawyer family (though he doesn’t know who they are). After “Stretch” brings the tape to Lefty he convinces her to play it on the air to draw out the killers which it does even though Lefty conveniently isn’t around when it does. “Stretch” and Lefty eventually track the family to an abandoned amusement park where plenty of chainsaw fun ensues.
Now for some perspective after watching TCM 2 again after all these years. Where on my first viewing TCM 2 it came off as some over the top cheesy crap I didn’t care for at all at the time, I can now say the OTT cheesiness is something I can appreciate. I still think this is the weakest of any of the TCM films but in some ways it is also the best. Seriously, I can’t say it enough, Chop Top is just fucking awesome but see for yourself don’t necessarily take the word of a huge biased Bill Moseley fan for it. Though I don’t think you can argue Chop Top is ten times better than Leatherface in this film. Some of the chainsaw swinging moments (there are too many to even count) are so cheesy you wanna scream including the very end but Chop Top 1000% saves this film for me personally. No Chop Top and I’d give TCM 2 maybe 1 star and that would be pushing it I think. I can laugh at the 80s cheese now where back then it made me cringe (and still did in spots to be honest). But this film does have Chop Top and I could even argue Lefty was a template for Sheriff Wydell in The Devil’s Rejects which is an all-time favorite of mine so there’s another redeeming quality. So in the end where I really didn’t like this film the first time I saw it many moons ago I did thoroughly enjoy this time around with the perspective of time on my side. Again this one is worth watching mainly just for Bill Moseley in one of his first roles as Chop Top and one that has become iconic even if outshined overall by brother Leatherface. Check it out for that alone because Chop Top makes TCM 2…
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Scribbler Movie Reviews
Feind loves watching movies of all kinds so if we watch it, we tell whether you should as well. I'll share mostly horror but I also enjoy everything from big Blockbusters to micro-budget Independent films.
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