“I said, hey sawbones, I’m just carrying on an ole family tradition!”—Hank Williams Jr.
Rage…it’s in us and all around us. This intense feeling of anger can overwhelm and ignite a flame that is hard to extinguish, especially when driving in a vehicle. Why is there so much road rage? Is it because a vehicle which we sit in and surrounds our body, and becomes an extension of our personal space? Unfortunately at times, we react the same way we would if an individual violated our personal space. Maybe that was the case recently in Canada, when a fit of road rage documented on video shows an irate man pull a chainsaw on another driver for what seemed an accident in judgment over a simple traffic infraction. The “offended” man felt the need to brandish the saw, just like Tobe Hooper of Salem’s Lot (1979), had envisioned when he directed the opening bloodbath drenched scenes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986).
A radio DJ, “Stretch,” played by Caroline Williams of Halloween II (2009) gets prank called by two obnoxious pretty boys, Buzz and Rick (good name), from their car down a road. This prank call is the duo’s last, as they are chased by Leatherface, Bill Johnson of D.O.A. (1988) emerging from the truck bed of a supped up pick-up and proceeds to brain bust with his trusty saw until the rubes meet their demise in some horrendous highway horror. The murder has been recorded on live radio,–what a great way to start a movie!
“Lefty,” a former Texas Ranger played by Dennis Hopper of Blue Velvet (1986), and uncle of Sally and the annoying wheel chaired whiner Franklin, were victims 13 years earlier of the Sawyer family. “Lefty” arrives at the crime scene to investigate the cause of Buzz and Rick’s demise. “Lefty” is now a rogue lawman on the trail of Leatherface’s kin and obsessed with redemption for all of the unsolved chainsaw murders throughout Texas. One thing leads to another, and before you know it “Stretch” is aiding “Lefty” on his personal quest before being visited by Leatherface and his metal plated hippie, Vietnam veteran, brother Chop-Top, Bill Moseley of Devil’s Rejects (2005). “Stretch” ends up being held captive in an underground theme park and becomes the love interest of Leatherface as he adorns her with a death mask of her radio producer colleague, L.G., portrayed by Lou Perryman of Poltergeist (1982), as a sign of his affection. Dysfunctional family fighting ensues among the brood in their lyre as Lefty comes roaring through with his own chainsaws to have a final showdown with the killers.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was directed by Tobe Hooper of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and written by Hooper and L.M. Kit Carson of Perfume (2001). Massacre 2 has a lot of blood, disembowelment and great special effects created by none other than the “Maestro of Macabre Makeup,” Tom Savini of Dawn of the Dead (1978). Though it is a bizarrely funny movie, was released to negative reviews, tagged with an “X” rating by the MPAA, and banned in several countries. Luckily, the years have been kind to Massacre 2, and now it has a huge cult following due to VHS, horror conventions, late night television and great Blu-ray rereleases. But don’t ask Dennis Hopper about Massacre 2. One, because he is dead and he won’t talk back, two, he thought Massacre 2 was the worst film he had ever acted in. Funny, Hopper must of forgot that he directed and acted (when he was higher than a kite) in the mess of a movie, The Last Movie (1971).
Massacre 2 is packed with visually interesting sets, great gore, and the introduction to one of the funniest characters of the franchise, Chop-Top, who’s every line of spoken word (“Burn her like a rat! Burn her like a rat!”) is a memorable morbid morsel of comedic bliss. Massacre 2 has a solid soundtrack featuring little ditties by The Cramps, Concrete Blonde, The Lords of the New Church, Oingo Boingo, and Texas great, Roky Erickson (sadly, he’s sans on the soundtrack if you decide to buy it). Being the sentimental chap that I am, it is really good to see Jim Seidow of Amazing Stories (1987), in his last film reprise the role as the Cook who cooks up their victims for his award winning chili.
A warning to all fans, Massacre 2 is not a roller coaster of terror like the original Chainsaw, but more of a dark comedy that is totally 80s but fun nonetheless. Overall, Massacre 2 is an underrated film that shouldn’t be taken too serious but appreciated for what it is truly is, fun. A must see if you are a horror hound, twisted, or looking to kill a Friday night with something new.
So be careful while you are driving out there. There are some crazy hot tempered whackos behind the wheel on the verge of a meltdown any minute. Are you one of those with a short fuse? If that is the case, you need to take a breath, have situational awareness, and reevaluate your temperament. Remember what poet Ralph Waldo Emerson shared, “What goes on around you… compares little with what goes on inside you.” Exit. E-X-I-T.