The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★★

You have one choice, boy: sex or the saw. Sex is, well, nobody knows. But the saw, the saw is family.

This is a film that succeeds despite having everything working against it. The fact that Tobe Hooper wanted to make a full on dark comedy for the sequel is not one of them though. That decision was quite inspired. Tobe's only real mistake was getting involved with Cannon Films, but at the same time the film wouldn't have had it's "larger" budget otherwise.

The budget though was the first problem to arise for the film. It was given something around $5 million, and then roughly a week before filming began the budget was cut by $1 million. This forced Kit Carson to rewrite the entire script while the movie was being filmed. The last draft of the script is dated June 28th and the last day of shooting was July 4th. To his credit, Carson did an amazing job under extreme circumstances.

Now Hooper and Carson both confirm that the original script of the film and the final draft are still exactly the same in tone. The decision to make a dark comedy/horror was made before any writing was ever done. Now the executives at Cannon Films either have no sense of humor, or didn't bother reading the scripts because they weren't impressed with the final product. They (Cannon) then tried to edit the film into a serious horror movie before releasing it. That's all well and good, but the film was still shot as a comedy.

Thankfully the humor still comes through with some of the funniest and campiest quotable lines ever to grace a horror movie. I did watch the so-called "director's cut" that runs 100 minutes, but apparently this isn't actually Hooper's cut of the film. It's just really an extended version of the film. Hooper has stated that he doesn't think his original version of the film will ever be seen because as far as he knows the original footage wasn't preserved.

The film still works on an insane level of excess. Although obviously compromised, Hooper's original intentions still comes through and in some instances with brilliant results. On the flip side though, there's several moments in the movie that have obvious scenes missing. This is especially evident in the first two acts of the film as there seems to be lapses in time and obvious plot/character moments missing. Watching any of the documentaries only makes it worst as you find out some of the details of what was in the original version, including a sub-plot that is completely missing from even the "director's cut".

Curiously Sam Raimi would take the same approach with the sequel to his horror classic The Evil Dead a year later. While Evil Dead II was clearly a better film, although Raimi was forced to make it with a smaller budget, he was able to make it with no studio interference. Even though TCM2 is one hell of a ride, I can't help but wonder what we would have gotten if Hooper would have gone the same road as Raimi or even what the original cut of TCM2 was like.

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