Directed by Tobe Hooper [Other horror films: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Eaten Alive (1976), The Dark (1979), Salem’s Lot (1979), The Funhouse (1981), Poltergeist (1982), Lifeforce (1985), Invaders from Mars (1986), Spontaneous Combustion (1990), I’m Dangerous Tonight (1990), Night Terrors (1993), Body Bags (1993, segment ‘Eye’), The Mangler (1995), The Apartment Complex (1999), Crocodile (2000), Shadow Realm (2002), Toolbox Murders (2004), Mortuary (2005), Djinn (2013)]
It’s no secret that the original film, while it has it’s merits, has never been a favorite of mine. It is, however, so much better than this piece of trash.
Tobe Hooper took a different approach with this movie, throwing away the bleak and gritty tone of the original for a black-comedy with very little to offer.
There’s not many pros, so I’ll get them out of the way first. Stretch (played by Caroline Williams) was a pretty good character throughout the movie. Not only was she decently attractive, I thought she did a good job portraying how maddening being a capture to that insane family was. Dennis Hopper’s Lefty was a fun character in the beginning, but very quickly became an idiotic mess as soon as soon as Stretch fell down the hole into the Sawyer’s lair. Leatherface, as a character alone, was okay.
Everything else was hideous.
Chop Top (played by Bill Moseley in a very early role) had no redeemable qualities. Any time he was in a scene, the scene got worse. I couldn’t stand him during any portion of the movie, and when he was with his family, he only got more annoying. The Cook (Jim Siedow) was far better done in the first film (played by Siedow still). Here, he is over-the-top (like almost every character) and utterly irksome.
The original film had a demented house, which was gritty and terrifying. While the final setting here was cool (an abandoned theme park or some such), it was lacking the threatening feel of the house in the first movie. It just felt too goofy and extravagant.
This whole movie was too goofy, in truth. I don’t really do comedy mixed with my horror. Very few movies of the sort have really done it for me. You take a good concept and ruin it like this, it just bothers me. If you liked the movie, great. It’s a pale shadow of the original, though, and honestly, having rewatched it twice now, I don’t think I’ll ever desire to see this atrocity again. If I want my fill of a chainsaw massacre, I’ll stick with the superior original, third film, or 2003 remake.
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