The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★

I consider The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) the best horror movie ever made. To me its raw documentary style presentation of nauseating grisliness make it film with a clear anti-violence message. When I watch it I feel like I'm going to throw up and that don't want to see what happens next.

For the most part a piece of light entertainment that generally has little to do with reality, Texas 2 is the opposite of the first in many ways. In it anything goes -- Hooper approaches the story as though Texas 1 didn't even exist, the geographic setting and the psychotic family are the only things that connect the two. This time the message is that extreme human misery isn't sacred after all; why shouldn't we let ourselves enjoy a bit of cartoonish chainsaw action and smirk at incomprehensible pain and death.

The first third of the film plays like an Dario Argento comedy, then as the plot relocates to some sort of adventure land, it starts to resemble both in look and feel a Goonies for grown up kids. The Spielberg directed 80s adventures also come to mind. The slick and colorful production design give the film an appealing look that takes the edge off the horrors. There are very brief moments of Poltergeist-like horror (not really scary, yet at the same time not entirely without bite) where the mood changes into something more serious. These however last only for a couple of minutes tops, then it goes back to being a deliberately self-parodying over the top caricature again.

After having heard very bad things about it, I went into Texas 2 with extremely low expectations. And in this case that was a good thing. Because while so different it's practically incomparable to the original, on its own, seen as an action-comedy told in an odd and rather special tone, it's actually not a bad film at all. The acting is surprisingly stable and Hooper is an obviously gifted director who knows how to compose narratives and make his scenes interesting. He's got all the qualities of a top mainstream guy.