The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★★

I think I lived in Texas long enough to finally get the L.M. Kit Carson regional humor in this movie. From the "hook 'em horns" doofuses to chili cook off beef fixations to "dog will hunt"-isms to, Dennis Hopper's maverick Stetson cop, to a good ol' boy hardware store owner this Texas Chainsaw 2 is cartoon Lone Star writ large. I first watched this movie six years ago right before I moved to Austin from New Jersey, and kind of disliked it. This sequel wasn't SCARY. What's all this nonsense about Leatherface in love? Nothing happens until the last half hour!

Boy, am I glad I revisited TCM 2 in a theater. The gorgeous photography and bone-strewn subterannean hideout and expansive hill country really pop! For better or worse, the set design and costuming and gore effects feel much more lavish than the original. And some scenes felt waaaay more gruesome than I remembered, like some drawn out forced face wearing and radio station stalking. The film plays bigger and louder in the traditional '80s sequel manner, but I like how Hooper experiments a bit with tone -- going broad and Grand-Guignol goofy where the original played down and dirty and hyperreal.

Shout out to Bill Moseley as the scene stealing Chop-Top! His performance really sets the tone of the movie for me -- shifting between genuinely creepy and unhinged to over-the-top absurd within the same scene. Is it weird that this movie kind of made me hungry?

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