The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★½

Hard to begrudge director Tobe Hooper for radically shifting from his sea-changing classic with this sequel. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) is one of those perfect horror experiences that's impossible to follow; even if a continuation had been shot immediately, it's guaranteed to have been the lesser. So a comical sendup over a decade later competing with a feuding Freddy and Jason backed by the most opportunistic studio of the '80s?

Sure, as good of a path as any and Hooper deftly soaks the mania of Sally's climactic breakdown throughout this return of the Sawyers now feeding their locally famous pitmaster biz with human roadkill. An atmosphere might actually be a little too pervasive; akin to a flopsweat of psychosis between Bill Moseley's brillant Chop-Top, Jim Siedow's malevolent cackling, and Caroline Williams more than earning her scream queen moniker. Those three alone make this sequel run wide open, eclipsing lead Dennis Hopper and an ineffectual Leatherface.

Yet Texas Chainsaw 2 is a strong contender for boldest first sequel ever by a returning filmmaker. A time capsule for its genre, the poster's Breakfast Club nod is apt, despite far from the bottled lightning Hooper initially captured. Lou Perryman as L.G. and Williams manage to pull the most touching scene in the franchise's history from one of its goriest. Odd that Cannon didn't demand even more mayhem considering the producing duo always wanted their features to be the ultimate embodiments of their titles. Watched via MGM's Blu-ray.