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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Frankenhooker and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 are reviewed on A Night of Horror with The Vern.


This week I took a look at a few movies that are considered in some circles to be cult classics.   "Frankenhooker" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2"



The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Cast: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Bill Mosely
Writers: L.M. Kit Carson, Tobe Hooper
Director: Tobe Hooper

A Local DJ named Stretch(Caroline Williams) at a radio station hears two kids get killed and joins up with a retired Marshall(Dennis Hopper) to help stop the Massacre from happening again.  When she gets attacked by members of the family at her station. She finds out a fate worse then death.  Leatherface(Bill Johnson) has falling in love with her.

As you can tell from the above photo.  This movie is not going to be as serious as the first one. The way it's poster matches with the teen classic "The Breakfast Club" is really quite brilliant and it does help set the tone to be more of an action movie rather then just a horror one.  The horror comes from people having their limbs cut off, but there really isn't any tension or moments that made me jump.  We see the cannibal family interact a little bit more between killing victims and it becomes more of a somewhat deranged sitcom instead.  You know, The typical story of a single father trying his best to raise three sons and an aging grandfather.  While also keeping his business of turning people into award winning chili a success. In one scene,both Leatherface and ChopTop(Bill Moseley)are terrorizing the radio station.  You could have easily add in a laugh track to some of their antics and it would not feel out of place.  I found the moments when Leatherface is trying his best to communicate and help Stretch to be kind of awkwardly sweet.  He is by all counts a child who acts out his anger and frustration with a chainsaw.  The same way other children act out their emotions with their toys.  He has no value for human life because he was never taught any.  All he wants is for someone to love him and not treat him like the monster that so many have before.  Even though the movie tells us that the Marshall and the DJ are the heroes.  It's Leatherface wanting to help someone for a change that I found to be the most heroic.

The first 1974 original was pretty damn scary when I first watched it back in 1998.  Despite what some people may tell you, it still holds up today.The grittiness of the film and the sound design help set it apart from other horror films.  At times it felt almost like a snuff film.  "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" however is a little more polished(for 80's standards) and it's tone does remove any of the horror the first one had. This was still entertaining and should be counted as the official sequel.    Not the recent "Texas Chainsaw 3D"


(Original Theatrical Trailer)





FrankenHooker

Cast:  James Lorinz, Patty Mullen,Joseph Gonzalez
Writers: Frank Henelotter, Robert Martin
Director: Frank Henelotter


The basic Frankenstein story line gets remade as a sex comedy in this cult classic from the early nineties.  Failed med school student Jeffery Franken(Get it, Franken - Frankenstein)is always busy inventing new devices and organisms in his free time.  The dude even has a freaking brain with an eye inside a glass jar.  No clue of how he put that together and the movie wisely avoids telling us a reason either.  After his girlfriend Elizabeth is mauled to pieces by a remote control lawnmower.  Our love struck hero vows to get her back.  He just needs the right parts for the job, but where oh where can he find bodies that easy.  By drilling a hole into his brain(yes you read that right) he comes up with the idea that streetwalkers AKA prostitutes AKA escorts AKA hookers would be the right choice.  However, after he has completed his task the results are less then favorable.  Because Elizabeth has taken on the persona of the dead ladies he has killed.


 Let me state for the record that Patty Mullen is fantastic as the title character.  When she becomes reanimated it is comedy gold.  She has this way of walking and this little twitch she does with her face that I found to be very funny.  She is very much a physical comedian which is not easy to do.  The words she speaks are also great and help add to the film's humor and charm.   The ending was also a very nice surprise and I enjoyed that it tried something different.


The only thing I take issue with is it's length.  I had to wait over an hour before FrankenHooker is on screen and she is not in it for that long.  Instead we get long scenes of Jeffery(James Lorinz) talking to peices of his dead girlfriend.  Then it has to show him visiting the whores and taking the time to set up their deaths.  Although the way they do die is pretty comical so I will give it points for that.  I just wanted Frankenhooker to be on screen longer because she was certainly the highlight of this picture.   I would recommend this movie to watch just for the scenes of Patty Mullen as FrankenHooker.  Just be aware that you will have to wait a while before you get it.


(A short scene from the film)

3 comments:

  1. I always feel like your Night Of Horror With The Vern posts are comment bait specifically for me. lol I'm always glad to see others recognize TCM2 for what it is rather than taking it to task for what it isn't. It seems to get a lot of hate from genre fans. Please forgive a self-promoting link, but that was the crux of my own write up about it at the Dog Farm:

    http://www.moviesatdogfarm.com/2013/02/the-texas-chainsaw-massacre-part-2-1986.html

    Weirdly, that post continues to garner enough hits to frequently land it in my Most Popular Posts nearly a year after its first appearance (where it resides now, actually), and I think it's largely because the title of the post pretty clearly intimates that I hold TCM2 in higher regard than a lot of fans. Incidentally, you are totally right about TCM2 being the true direct continuation of the original rather than the embarrassing Texas Chainsaw 3D that had the audacity to try to claim the honor. It still bothers me that participants who should have known better allowed - and even contributed to - that unnecessary attempt to re-write canon.

    I like Henenlotter, too, so I'm glad to see Frankenhooker - and Patty Mullen's comedic performance in particular - get some much deserved love. I think a lot of viewers don't understand how truly difficult physical comedy is. That's one big reason that I'm a fan of Anna Faris, who I believe is a truly gifted physical comedienne that doesn't get her due. Too bad about being in multiple entries of the Scary Movie franchise, though. lol

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  2. It was your review that made me want to watch TCM2( I automatically think of Turner Classic Movies when I see those letters) so thank you for that. Good call on Anna Faris. She was great in Smiley Face and I would also recommend her in May. It's a small role but oh so good.

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    1. Both Smiley Face and May are great. I have to admit I watch her new CBS sitcom Mom, too.

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