Two Cents is an original column akin to a book club for films. The Cinapse team will program films and contribute our best, most insightful, or most creative thoughts on each film using a maximum of 200 words each. Guest writers and fan comments are encouraged, as are suggestions for future entries to the column. Join us as we share our two cents on films we love, films we are curious about, and films we believe merit some discussion.


It’s Halloween, y’all! Well, October anyway. It’s our favorite time of the year here at Two Cents, because this is when we get to curate a list of seasonal delights to assault your eyeballs. Last year’s Trick Or Treat event resulted in some of the most fun discussions we’ve ever had on the column and we hope this year will yield more of the same! Here’s this year’s Trick Or Treat lineup! (Click the image to expand)


Last year, we covered Tobe Hooper’s harrowing horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for our inaugural Trick Or Treat event. It turned out to be one of our most fun and best-participated Two Cents picks ever. So this year, we’re continuing the tradition by sitting down with Hooper’s own hard left-turn sequel which couldn’t be more different from the film that preceded it, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Did you get a chance to watch along with us this week? Want to recommend a great (or not so great) film for the whole gang to cover? Comment below or post on our Facebook or hit us up on Twitter!

Next Week’s Pick:

After the giddy and downright manic ridiculousness of Texas Chainsaw 2, we’re cleansing our palate with something a bit more sophisticated. Gregory Peck and Lee Remick star as parents forced to entertain the possibility that their son may be the Antichrist in Richard Donner’s 1976 Satanic thriller The Omen. The film spawned an unlikely franchise as well as something of a late 70s resurgence for Peck, who followed with MacArthur and The Boys From Brazil. Watch it with us and let us know what you think!

Would you like to be a guest in next week’s Two Cents column? Simply watch and send your under-200-word review to twocents(at)!


Matt Miller:

Oft misunderstood Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is, I believe, the only true entry to the painstakingly long series that actually holds a candle to the original. Is it as “good” of a film as the original? No. Is it as gutturally impactful? Not quite. Does it still capture the nihilistic absurdity of our American culture? In spades.

The hippies have been replaced by yuppies, the barren Texas farm is now an underground, neon carnival of sex, murder and MEAT. Instead of being relegated to a small gas station, the Sawyers are now winning all sorts of prizes for their barbecue — feeding society’s outcasts to the elite. The psychopaths now operate within the prominent public sphere. They’re now who we look up to.

Just as Sally escaped the farm in the original, body beaten and mind shattered, our boisterous radio DJ, Stretch, claws her way from the depths of hell to the peak of, almost literally, a mountain of madness. Sally is broken, Stretch is broken; and, whether we are one of the exalted American psychopaths or the ones eating their poison, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 shows us that we’re all broken too. Verdict: Treat (@mmscripts)

Jaime Burchardt:

The first Texas Chainsaw Massacre will always be a behemoth of a classic. …Having said that, there’s something really special about the absolute insanity that Tobe Hooper injects into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Yes, the plot is simple (it’s weirdly simpler than the first one), and there’s not much to understand or even predict. And yet, we’re given Hooper in full “dark comedy” mode and it’s striking. Dare I say, it even houses some of the best work Hooper has done behind a camera. The pacing is strong, the make-up effects are confidently done, but most of all it’s just absolutely freaking nuts. It’s so out-there, to admit your adoration for it, is to do so with caution. Oh well, to hell with caution. I heart you, TCM 2. Verdict: Treat (@jaimeburchardt)

Steven Hugh Nelson:

The bridge in the opening scene is longer than the airplane runway in Fast & Furious 6. Verdict: Trick (@SteveHughNelson)



Full disclosure… I have not yet seen Hooper’s original Texas Chainsaw Massacre in its entirety. Back in high school, when I tried to watch it, I couldn’t get through it. It was too sleazy and utterly horrifying. While not “gory” in a technical sense, the pictures it invokes in my mind are worse than most of what I’ve ever witnessed on screen before or after that moment. I plan to revisit it soon, perhaps even this month, as my tastes have evolved and my tolerance for sheer terror has increased.

As for TCM2, it’s a mixed bag. I found myself way less scared than with the first (though comparing me watching in horror in 1996 vs. 2015 is unfair, as noted above). I also felt like a few parts dragged and I found myself losing interest a bit.

On the other hand, this movie is the one where Bill Moseley created the archetype for the role he’d play in a dozen more movies, a role I find delightfully void of a single redeeming quality. It was great to see the origins of this recurring role. Moreover, “Chop Top” alone made me chuckle enough to consider this one a winner. Verdict: Treat (@thepaintedman)


Ed regrets being unable to participate in this week’s Two Cents, but previously covered The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 for his CANNON FODDER column over at Ain’t It Cool News. Check it out!

Verdict: Treat (@Ed_Travis)


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has long proven (like Psycho and Halloween) to be the kind of horror masterpiece that simply cannot be replicated, even in the hands of the original creators. When John Carpenter returned to Michael Myers a couple years after his initial success, he ended up neutering his own creation and issuing forth a wearying paint-by-numbers follow-up.

Full marks then to Tobe Hooper for taking an, ahem, different approach to his sequel. Hooper goes what the kids today might call “bugfuck nuts”, creating one of the most gorgeous gore-soaked fantasias ever put on screen. Every inch of the frame is art-designed and color-timed to within an inch of its life, a far-cry from the almost feral rawness of the first film.

It’s an approach that really works, allowing Hooper to gleefully skewer one piece of American iconography after another. While the film gets bogged down in a recreation of the dinner scene in the last chunk, it is otherwise a merrily chugging machine of black-souled humor and delirious gore. I can fully understand why audiences were baffled and/or appalled by this film when it first touched down, but I was cackling end to end with this film. Verdict: Treat (@TheTrueBrendanF)


If today’s era of horror films is all about the remakes, then the 80s were all about the sequels, as evidenced by this prime example. However, while most were nothing but obvious attempts to rob teenagers of their allowances, TCM2 actually managed to be a worthwhile enough sequel to proudly stands next to the original, even all these years later.

It’s hard to top the original film in all its documentary-like glory, but half of what makes TCM2 such a fun sequel is that it never tries to imitate or top its predecessor. As a result, it ends up being a genuinely fun adventure ride that never dares to take itself seriously. The other half of the film’s staying power is the fact that Tobe Hooper, the original’s director, returned to lovingly guide the character he knows so well through another frenzied tale of gruesomeness. Meanwhile, the plot, courtesy of Paris, Texasscribe L.M. Kit Carson (how random is that?), is just ripe for the kind of thriller/horror experience audiences love, and the intense violence is as amped up as can be. In a world full of horror sequels and retreads, a genre nut could certainly do a lot worse than TCM2. Verdict: Treat (@frankfilmgeek)


In terms of tone, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is about as far from the original as possible. Gone is the patient sense of dread, replaced instead with a demented insanity that makes this sequel pretty damn fun to watch.

This film is packed with Texan iconography, with scenes set at the state fair during Texas-OU weekend and even a moment where Leatherface chainsaws his way through a crate of Shiner beer. Even better, it’s overflowing with gore, and its most satisfying effect has to be the half-removed head from the hilariously ridiculous opening sequence.

One thing that makes this film a bit frustrating is how relentlessly stupid the characters are, with Caroline Williams’ hapless DJ escaping Leatherface’s chainsaw only to immediately follow him into his lair. Even worse is the insanely over-the-top Dennis Hopper, who plays perhaps the most inept and bull-headed detective to ever grace the silver screen.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a delirious film without a single moment of recognizable human behavior. Despite that, entertaining bits like Bill Moseley’s colorful, Beetlejuice-esque performance as Chop-Top or the immortal image of Dennis Hopper dual-wielding chainsaws make this one a Treat. Verdict: Treat (@AlexWilliamsdt)


Well that was a bit different from the classic original. Tobe Hooper’s belated follow-up to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre eschews that film’s strange, disturbing ambiance and gritty, lo-fi aesthetics for a cheap, gonzo-gore-farce starring a clearly unhinged Dennis Hopper as a Sheriff out for revenge against the cannibalistic clan who murdered his brother in the first film.

Admittedly, it’s still a sick and twisted ride at times, and there are a couple of effective jump scares as chainsaw-wielding juggernaut Leatherface bursts through walls intent on mincing/romancing hot-pants wearing DJ Caroline Williams — who disappointingly transforms from gutsy and forthright to annoying scream-queen at the drop of a chainsaw.

As Leatherface and family continue munching on the local Texan populace, any genuine tension or horror gives way to a weird, pantomimic mix of gore, slapstick and screaming… lots of screaming. To the point that it all becomes a tad tiresome.

But then what would you expect from Cannon Films, the purveyors of the tackiest cinema this side of Chuck Norris. Yet any filmmaker that hands narcotics-obsessed nut job Dennis Hopper three chainsaws, no safety goggles and orders him to go off and start chopping stuff is either insane or inspired. Probably both. Verdict: Trick (@jconthagrid)


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is so wildly different from the original that it’s almost surprising to see that Tobe Hooper was involved. And yet, this is indeed the product of the same direction: a vividly colorful, comically cheesy, gore-packed but relatively tension-free follow-up that loses the harsh and terrifying realism of the original and just does its own thing. Perhaps Hooper and company realized that trying to top the original, possibly still the best film of its kind, was a losing game.

While it’s certainly arguable that TCM2 is a bad sequel, and perhaps even a bad film, it’s simply a ton of goofy fun. It’s so deranged and unhinged with an abandoned theme park setting, goopy effects, and downright nutty characters on both sides of the conflict played with maniacal relish by a dual-chainsaw-wielding Dennis Hopper and steel-plate-headed Bill Moseley. Verdict: Treat (@VforVashaw)


Trick: 2 | Treat: 8
Verdict: Treat

Well, there you have it. We thought this wacky pick would be more controversial but it turns out most of us appreciated its brand of insanity. For this week, at least, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 stands victorious as king of the hill!

Did you all get a chance to watch along with us? Share your thoughts with us here in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!

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