This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
DopeAssGhost’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, PART 2 (1986)
"Leatherface and his twisted cannibalistic family return, this time terrorizing a radio station DJ and a vengeful lieutenant."
The buzz is back! 12 years after Tobe Hooper delivered us the atmospheric, chilling, and gritty nightmare that is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), he treats us once again to this fun, frightful, and worthy sequel.
Ditching the unrelenting, realistically dark approach of the original, this film carries more of a black comedy vibe to it that stands out as such a bizarre departure from what we're accustomed to, but is still a fun ride to enjoy. The style is weird but works quite well for what Tobe Hooper was aiming at here and the black comedy goes hand in hand with the more gorey death scenes (with special effects provided by the always fantastic Tom Savini!). Leatherface's design in this installment is less creepy looking than his 1974 counterpart, but actor Bill Johnson brings an intimidating and likeable performance forward (that memorable scene where he attacks the two Texan college douchebags on the road while they're driving and the scene where he jumpscares out of a dark cassette room at the radio station are some examples of how scary he can come off performance wise).
Bill Moseley really steals the show as secondary antagonist Chop-Top Sawyer, the twin brother of The Hitchhiker from the first film. He's just so insanely funny, despicable, and hideously eerie that he honestly deserved to shine in future installments (if they retconned him not dying).
I actually really dug the protagonists here too: Caroline Williams is great as Stretch, a disc jockey that gets tangled up with these psycho's, and Dennis Hopper is badass as "Lefty," a former lieutenant who wants revenge against the Sawyers for the murder of his Nephew, Franklin, and the trauma suffered by his niece, Sally (the protagonist siblings from the first movie). Lefty highly impresses in the third act as he wildly engages in a crazy chainsaw duel with Leatherface, while Stretch impresses on her own and does battle with Chop-Top.
A few other highlights I can say I loved about this flick include the lucid cinematography done by Richard Kooris; the locations and set designs utilized, mainly the lush and decrepit abandoned carnival grounds; the excellent musical score; and how it ages remarkably well, not carrying traces of feeling too dated.
I suppose the only downers worth mentioning are that compared to the original, this movie's not that scary and tends to drag at some points. I feel it best to not try and compare too much, to just enjoy the film for what it was meant to do: give us a humorous, macabre viewing experience!