"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" (1986)
Goofy, not scary and actually boring, the sequel to the original horror classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” squanders a wonderful start and devolves into weirdness. Perhaps it’s a matter of expectations since the original was such a guttural, disturbing experience, but the follow-up seems more like a bad comedy spoof. Endless sneaking, Dennis Hopper cackling to himself, and a strange Leatherface love story litter this rudderless mess. It’s strange how something so iconic and terrifying could devolve into such a campy schlock-fest when it’s helmed by the same director. Although the performance by Bill Moseley as the terrifying character “Chop-Top” is thoroughly stomach churning, it’s not enough to compensate for the lack of horror or even entertainment value of any kind through this tedious film. What a shame.
"Hellbound: Hellraiser II" (1988)
The great thing about this first sequel to the horror classic “Hellraiser” is that it is a continuation of the story, not just a repeat of the events. They could have gone the easy route and had a new set of victims of the Cenobites and Lemarchand’s Box (like some of the later sequels). Instead, the story picks up where it left off and continues with Kirsty’s conflict against Julia. It takes the story into a new world of terror, an Escheresque maze Hellscape that invites the audience into the realm the Cenobites describe; morbid personal Hells. The film truly elevates the series to another level and expands upon the greatness of the original. It is an excellent sequel and an excellent horror film in its own right. Not to mention one of the best lines in horror history, “Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell”
"The Shining" TV Movie (1997)
It’s very difficult to analyze this film without drawing comparisons to the Stanley Kubrick version. They’re completely different animals, just wearing the same leash. Unfortunately, the creator of the story, Stephen King, is holding the leash of a miniature Schnauzer, while Kubrick is holding a lion. The made-for-TV special is entertaining enough but it fails to evoke deep-seated horror. The dialogue doesn’t translate well from novel to film. The CGI in 1997 was not good enough to create some of King’s visions. It feels shallow, direct and obvious. Perhaps this was the story King always wanted to tell, however, Kubrick managed to make every element within the story ten-fold scarier. King’s novel is an icon of horror fiction but his film is more of an eyesore.
"Friday the 13th Part 2" (1981)
Just some good ol’ slasher fun. Scantly clad camp counselors, a psychopathic killer on the loose and some creatively gruesome slayings. Very little of the film is committed to anything other than the setup and chop-down of every member of the cast. There is a clever little carryover from the first film to tie the world together but it’s pretty clear regardless. This is a world where an unstoppable killing machine stalks and kills anything near his campground. If you don’t like this film, you’re either not a fan of horror or you’re just thinking too hard. Turn off your brain and just let Jason do his thing.