22 December 2017

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3: A DOUBLE BILL OF GRISLY HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3: A DOUBLE BILL OF GRISLY HORROR MOVIE REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2. (1986) DIRECTED BY TOBE HOOPER. STARRING DENNIS HOPPER, CAROLINE WILLIAMS, LOU PERRYMAN, BILL MOSELY, JIM SIEDOW AND BILL JOHNSON AS 'LEATHERFACE.'

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3. (1990) DIRECTED BY JEFF BURR. BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY KIM HENKEL AND TOBE HOOPER. STARRING VIGGO MORTENSEN, KATE HODGE, WILLIAM BUTLER, KEN FOREE AND R.A. MIHAILOFF AS 'LEATHERFACE.'

'The saw is family.'

The original movie in this franchise, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, is one of the greatest horror movies of all time. It's right up there with the first films in the HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, CHILD'S PLAY and HELLRAISER franchises for sheer brilliance and the memorability factor.

By this last I mean the fact that you'll remember it long after lesser horror movies have fallen by the wayside and slipped through the cracks in your memory bank. It's a stone-cold classic and ain't nobody gonna tell you no different no-how, consarnit. Lol...!

Let's just recap on the premise of the original film. A bunch of foolhardy hippy-ish young 'uns travel to the isolated backwoods of Texas to check that the grandparents of two of their number are still safely buried where they're s'posed to be buried. Trust me, it'll make sense when you watch the film.

An empty gas tank leads them to the house up the road from Grandpappy and Grandma's abandoned old place. The Sawyer family, a clan of cannibalistic, deranged and probably inbred chainsaw-and-hammer murderers, prove to be the young peoples' worst nightmare, literally. Marilyn Burns as the screaming Sally, the Last Girl Standing, is superb in her role.

The lead villain of the Sawyer family, Leatherface, so-called because he wears the skinned-off faces of his victims over his somewhat less than pulchritudinous own boat-race, comes out of nowhere with his chainsaw and makes horror cinema history, in less time than it takes to rev up said implement.

There's no explanation for his behaviour, no long-winded back story, he's just there, and he's incredible. Incredibly f**ked-up, haha. I also loved Jim Siedow as Drayton Sawyer, the warped uncle of Leatherface.

The first sequel, filmed twelve years later, is a horror-comedy. I was disgusted. Hoping for more of what we'd been given in the original, I was gutted to see Leatherface and the gang being turned into over-acting caricatures of themselves, figures of fun, a big fat joke.

Drayton Sawyer, the uncle, is running a food business now. The hot-dogs he serves to the hungry public at football games are made with human meat. He operates his business out of an underground abandoned theme park and his two nephews, Leatherface and deranged Vietnam vet Chop Top, supply him with the fresh meat in the form of human victims. This underground gourmet centre is littered with decomposed and decomposing corpses.

On their trail are an annoying lady radio DJ called Stretch and Dennis Hopper as Lefty Enright, a former Texas Ranger and the uncle of Sally and Franklin from the first film. He wants revenge for both his nephew and niece, but all I can say is that hearing about the ordeal they went through must have caused him to become unhinged, because he's lost most of his marbles in this terrible film and just runs aimlessly amok, even singing loudly at one point.

The Vietnam vet thing is overdone to the max with the manic Chop Top. It's annoying and infuriating. Also, all the mystery is taken out of that horrible little house in the backwoods and its inhabitants. The house doesn't even feature in this movie. Instead, the occupants are out and about. They're here, there and everywhere. Uncle Drayton is even seen in town winning a chilli cook-off and not for the first time either...

Leatherface and Chop Top come out into the open at the radio station and commit several acts of violence that will lead the police straight to them. No effort is being made by them to keep their murderous operation covert and some of the dialogue is a bit cringeworthy.

Also, a man who's been beaten to death with a hammer doesn't get up, make a few flippant quips and then save his co-worker from certain death before lying down quietly again to pass away himself. Ah Jaysis. I'm getting annoyed all over again.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3 isn't exactly worse than the first sequel, but it's not much better either. Leatherface is now part of a new Sawyer family. It includes Viggo THE LORD OF THE RINGS Mortensen as a cowboy brother called Tex who lures people to the family home to, well, kill and maim them horribly. Well, they sure as shit ain't runnin' no f**king guesthouse, no-how...

There's a hard-ass Momma now too and a little girl who's growing up to be as warped as her two older brothers, Tex and Tink. Leatherface is learning how to read, if you please, using a kiddies' talking computer dealie and a pair of wee headphones. Sweet sufferin' Jaysis...

Running frantically away from Leatherface and Co. are young couple Michelle and Ryan and a big burly black survivalist called Benny. Don't worry, little lady, he tells Michelle. 'I'm trained for this kinda thing.' This kinda thing? When he encounters Leatherface with his brand-new, state-of-the-art chainsaw, Benny realises that he ain't trained for shit. Not shit like this, anyway...

TCM3 is a trifle confusing at times as well. It seems like there are just too many people running around in them there woods, if you get me. The narrative could have used a little tightening-up in places. I tuned out for a good bit, I'm sorry to say, bored with all the mad running-around-in-the-woods business that seemed to go on for ages.

I loved the writing bits at the beginning of both sequels in which we're reminded of what Sally and her friends went through in the original film. The bit where it says in TCM2 that Sally had escaped from 'a window into Hell' is so evocative, it's so the kind of thing we want to hear more of. It describes her experience of the sick-o Leatherface family to a 't.'

Sadly, however, these two sequels didn't nearly live up to the original movie, a genuine horror masterpiece. The Grandpappy in TCM3 marginally beats the Grandpappy in TCM2, by the way. And that's important. It's crucial to have a good, dessicated Grandpappy sat in a chair somewhere or it's not TCM in any shape or form.

The wonderful Kane Hodder, aka a certain Jason Voorhees, is the stunt co-ordinator for TCM3, and it does have a sort of Jason-y feel to it all right. I have no quarrel with the settings either. I love the scary woods by night, the swamp with the skulls bobbing about happily in it and the miles and miles of empty, arid desert in which nothing moves. Or does it...?

Don't be mad at me, finally, for 'dissing' these two sequels. It's only because I love the original film so much that I mostly hated these two films. The original movie just set the bar so high that maybe no film was ever going to live up to the incredibly high expectations of the viewer. Y'all can lynch me now if that's what y'all want. I'll be, um, in my trailer...

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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