I remember having to sneak my way in to see Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 back in August 1986. Still relatively new to horror films, I watched the story unfold with trepidation and dread. The film's mix of satire and terror was lost among both audiences and fans, but over the past 30 years the movie has found its place in the heart of many fans. I had not thought too much of doing the locations for the film until Horror's Hallowed Grounds maestro, Sean Clark, contacted me as he was preparing to shoot a new episode for the blu-ray release.
The opening scene where the preppy boys play chicken with the Sawyer family ended up not being too difficult to find, thanks to a quick glimpse of sign for Texas Highway 969. This road stretches for several miles to the east of Austin, Texas, so the key was to find the right stretch of road that has the unique bend to the highway as seen in the movie. I was able to find it on Highway 1209 (or sometimes referred to as Farm to Market Road 1209), extending south from Highway 969 near Bastrop, Texas. The "top of the hill" shot is further south on this highway between Wagon Way and Sonny Road. (I wasn't able to visit this location in person, so street views are taken from Google.)
The more difficult location to find was the K-OKLA radio station. Some fans/sites thought it was in west Austin, although director Tobe Hooper said in one commentary it was a facade. I had just a few frames of clues to figure it out, and thankfully was able to identify the Hyatt Regency in Austin just over Caroline William's shoulder in the shot. The facade was built just south of where they shot the interior sets, but as the downtown area is completely built up, the only way to get the matching shot with they Hyatt lining up in the background is near the corner of Guadalupe Street and West Cesar Chavez Street in Austin, Texas.
One of the best locations to visit is the site of "Cut Rite Chain Saws" which is now the Mean Eyed Cat at 1621 West Fifth Street in Austin, Texas. The area is built up quite a bit around the spot, but the main structure is still there and recognizable.
Be sure to go inside to see the original "Cut Rite Chain Saws" sign in the restaurant!
Lefty tries out a chainsaw right out front of the location.
After Stretch's encounter with Chop Top and Leatherface, she follows them in her jeep. This road is just west of the location of the radio station facade. In her point of view, she is driving east on West Cesar Chavez Street ust east of North Lamar Boulevard.
For shots of Stretch in the jeep, she is also driving on West Cesar Chavez Street, but this time driving west. I was able to find this stretch of road by the North Lamar Street bridge she drives under.
I haven't visited the other locations in the film, but for fans that want to visit, they are:
- The bridge sequence is the Colorado River Bridge on Texas Loop 150 in Bastrop, Texas. (This is just a few blocks west of where Jared Padalecki is pulled over in the the Friday the 13th remake at the corner of Fayette Street and Chestnut Street.)
- The car crash site is several miles away from the bridge near the Montropolis Drive exist off of Airport Boulevard in Austin.
- Texas Battle Land was at the former site of the Prairie Dell Lake Amusement Park, long since demolished.
Be sure to check out the great Horror's Hallowed Grounds video and Sean Clark's article in HorrorHound issue #58.