The sequel plays a dangerous game. It has a lot to live up to and then some. You have to give your fans everything they loved about it’s predecessor, double it, view the story from a new angle (upside down is good) and throw in something completely different that will give them a reason to love it as a standalone film. Oh and some freaky twists would be nice too.
Not asking for much are they?
Now I don’t normally write about sequels, but most horror sequels don’t have the original director, star Dennis Hopper and Bill Moseley and have the legendary make up FX skills of the Tom Savini, so you can forgive me for making an exception for this.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is sacred to most horror fans, and the iconic Leatherface mask is ingrained in even the most squeamish of civilians minds. Tobe Hooper did something special when he created a family of cannibalistic inbreeds, and plenty have tried to recreate or pay homage to the legendary nightmare that many still believe is factual (It is not of course, but Hooper was by his own admission, influenced by themes in the cases of Ed Gein and Elmer Wayne Henley), but well, they’ve mostly failed, in most cases, embarrassingly so.
In the sequel we follow Lefty (Dennis Hopper as a cop .. Stay with me) the uncle of the ill fated Franklyn (wheels) from the original, who along with the pretty young ‘Stretch’ a radio DJ, they follow the murderous clan to an abandoned amusement park where they carve up the community for Daddy’s award winning meat business. Bill Moseley is the star of the show (Easy Who?) as the deranged, metal headed Chop Top and completely overshadowing his chainsaw wielding sibling, because oh yeah, in this one Leatherface has ‘feelings‘.
As an 80s horror movie, this one isn’t half bad – it’s silly, full of blood and guts and it made me laugh in the good way, but as a sequel to TCM it sucks monkey balls and that is the big disappointment. The reason why so many people fell in love with the original is that it’s dark and not completely outrageous enough for fans to laugh off the claims it makes in it’s opening scene. Of course, most of us (the none dumb ass variety of us), know that this ‘based on true events’ schtick is pure fictitious goodness from the mind of Hooper, and that it’s the claustrophobia and subtlety of the violence that won the hearts of generations of sickos, not making perfectly good serial killers into human beings with emotions.
Nobody wants that.