The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★½

4 of 33 for HoopTober 4.0

Conceivably feeling slighted that most of the charred-black humor and social commentary of the first Texas Chain Saw Massacre went mostly unnoticed at the time the master Tobe Hooper returned to the heartland of America 12 years later to turn everything up to 11. Drayton Sawyer wins a goddamn chili cook-off and identifies as a small business owner, bemoaning the tax avoiding wealthy. After broadcasting a cassette tape of a brutal murder Stretch, our disc jockey protagonist, casually throws on The Star-Spangled Banner. Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A. album cover can be seen adorning the wall when Leatherface and Chop Top (whom frequently suffers 'Nam flashbacks) invade the K-OKLA radio station. Dennis Hopper "brings it all down" with some delicious scenery chewing and duel-wields chainsaws. A labyrinthine tunnel system under an abandoned amusement park illuminated by the neon of Christmas lights replaces the dilapidated farm house. To help amend the modest amount of gore in the first, Hooper recruits Tom Savini to go hog-wild; bathing entire rooms with blood and guts.

But perhaps the most baffling thing is Leatherface. In the first film he is perceived as being sexless and the closest thing to womanly this deranged family has, at one point dawning makeup and a wig, but here it's as if puberty has hit. He's taken with Stretch, attracted to her, leading to a deeply uncomfortable scene where a chainsaw becomes phallic.

It's occasionally flawed with its sometimes on the nose approach and feels slightly bloated but it is anything but dull. As cliche as it is, it's difficult to describe this as anything but batshit.
R.I.P. Tobe Hooper

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