Happy New Year my fine Face-Off fiends! Everyone was in the holiday spirit with our last Face-Off
and agreed that Stripe would indeed best Mohawk in a Gremlin grudge match.
Now, at the very start of the new year, our genre has already been bestowed with a big-time release that will hopefully start things off with a crrrrrang! I was trying to write out what the sound of a chainsaw would be. Not sure if I got it right, but anyways, with this past Friday's unveiling of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D, we decided that a Leatherface movie-themed battle would be in order. And since we already compared the remake to the original, we're pitting the horror that preceded each against each other. So, throw on your skin masks and prepare for Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Vs. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning!
A lot of shit got kinda weird in regards to this straight follow-up to the original TCM and ol' Leatherface is certainly one of those. First off, his whole look is way less scarier than the messy, realistic demeanor he carried in the first one. He kind of looks like a guy wearing a bad Leatherface Halloween costume; a parody of himself. He's even referred to as "Bubba" in the flick, which only adds to the silliness. Okay, maybe this is what director Tobe Hooper was going for with this outlandish sequel, but it doesn't work for me.
Here, we get Leatherface before he got the leather face and the result, albeit a tad predictable, does emote the appropriate chills. The greasy, long dark hair, the rag of a mask covering his deformed face, the bloodied butcher attire. This is how Leatherface is supposed to look. By the time he's donning his first facade of human flesh, the ultimate transformation is complete and we've got a towering villain who you do not want to f*ck with!
Part 2 does have its fair share of icky grue, but nothing as overly sick as one might expect. If you remember, the original was also rather short on blood (but, of course, was still very effective). We get a sweet chainsaw half-beheading and then... not a whole lot else of anything really memorable. I mean, the members of Leatherface's family are pretty gross and their lair has a couple of rotting things. I suppose Leatherface getting impaled by a chainsaw counts, but it's not ridiculously gory.
As the rule of horror remakes nowadays usually goes, TCM: The Beginning does not shy away from pouring on the red stuff. We get bloody beatings, shotgun blasts, and knife slashes. And let's not forget that that behemoth of a chainsaw gets its grue due and when that chain starts humming, the crimson sure does splatter.
There is only one woman star in this movie, but at least it is the lovely Caroline Williams in her jean shorts. As the radio DJ, 'Stretch', she exudes this inherent coolness that is just so damn alluring. Hell, she even attracts the eye of Mr. Leatherface and his chainsaw. The madman actually gets his jollies from sliding his long, sharp weapon between her sexy legs. At least it wasn't running.
Um, when you've got a double dose of hotness containing the likes of Jordana Brewster and Diora Baird, you are pretty much guaranteed a W in any battle of beauties. I mean, Diora's first scene has her in a bra and panties. And Jordana is quietly crawling across the floor in Leatherface's house, sticking her ass out into our faces, revealing a hint of the top of her butt crack. I'm just gonna stop right there.
Okay, here is a clear category where Texas 2 really shines. This thing is loaded with all forms of laughs from intentional to unintentional. Bill Moseley is an absolute hoot as the deranged 'Chop-Top' and the whole making a business out of chili made with people is completely over-the-top hilarious. And let's not forget about good ol' Dennis Hopper going buckwild with his trio of chainsaws as he exacts vengeance on Leatherface and his clan as the "Lord of the Harvest".
Like the first remake, a great deal of the sick humor in The Beginning is supplied by the great R. Lee Ermey. As the crazy, cussing head of the Hewitt clan, he always brings about such a sick glee to all the evil acts he commits. Best example would be his diagnosis for old Monty after Leatherface botches the crude chainsaw amputation of his leg. He makes him chainsaw off the other one to, you know, "balance things out." Bloody hilarity!
Sure, Texas 2 culminates with a great deal of tongue-in-cheek idiocy, but it totally complements the wacky vibe of the rest of the flick. You get wild Dennis Hopper coming to kick ass and exact his revenge upon Leatherface and his clan. We're talking a lightsaber duel only with chainsaws! Then you've got Stretch battling for her life in this crazy carved out rock tower that just happens to be on the family's property and contains a shrine to Leatherface's mother. Weird shit! Though, I do appreciate Stretch's screaming chainsaw dance homage to the original's final shot.
After narrowly escaping Leatherface's blade, Jordana Brewster (our only surviving heroine), hops in a car and speeds off. She's free! Her friends are all dead, but at least she's free! And look, there's the police deputy a little ways up the road who has just pulled over some guy! Jordana is about to reach police protection as well! She's finally safe, but WHOA! Leatherface just popped up in the back seat of her car! Oh, no! He's jamming his chainsaw through the back of the driver's seat and into Jordana! Oh, shit! She plows over the deputy and the guy! So much for her happy ending. Sadly, to me, this ending felt cheap and tacked on. Having Leatherface simply hiding in the back seat is so unoriginal and completely false to his character. Whoever came up with this ending ought to be bitch-slapped by R. Lee Ermey!
TCM: The Beginning
Well, it appears that The Beginning finally got some respect. Even though it probably owed a lot to the first remake, it was enough to outlast the overly campy original sequel. Do you agree? Or is it time for all the part 2 champions to come to their misunderstood flick's aid? Spit your bullets below regardless! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org