Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Case It's Based On

Family Reunion

Video cover: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2
Video cover: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2

The first sequel to TCM, released in 1983, does not merit much attention. It was more of a gore-fest, going all out with gruesome special effects in ways that TCM had not. There are various explanations for its deviation from the original, from being nothing more than a spoof to being the hallucinatory rendering of Sally Hardesty as she expired several years after the incident that left her psychotic. In any event, despite its coterie of fans, the movie fared badly, both critically and at the box office.

Tobe Hooper directed TCM2 (and apparently made a cameo appearance in one scene), and it featured Dennis Hopper as Lefty, an determined Texas Ranger — and uncle of Sally and Franklin Hardesty — out to get Leatherface for what he did. It seems that Hooper realized the sexual overtones because now it's really a battle of the phalluses as both Lefty and Leatherface arm themselves with the biggest, baddest chainsaws ever imagined.

The star, as usual, is female, but this time she's a disc jockey, "Stretch" Brock. She's privy to the murder of two free-wheeling adolescents out on the highway, which she believes was the work of the killer who'd become legend in that area: after fourteen years, he's resurfaced. She learns about Lefty and joins forces with him to hunt down the killers. This brings out "Chop Top," who is supposed to be the twin of the demented (and deceased) hitchhiker from TCM. Part of the Sawyer family, he drags Stretch's co-worker to an abandoned tunnel on a carnival ground, and she follows. Lefty arrives as well, with his super-duper chainsaw, and he wields it mightily, to great and gory effect. He even duels with Leatherface.

But then Stretch falls into the hands of the cannibals and she must endure an unappetizing dinner scene. Lefty saves her but apparently dies in the process. It seems that Leatherface (and Grandpa) does as well, but not really. He's resurrected for the next sequel.


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