The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★★

This is perhaps the only way the Texas Chain Saw legacy should have continued in the mid 80s: as a Golan-Globus co-production. Hooper manages to somehow make this as exhausting as the first film by keeping everything in proportion but upping the mania so much it just tips over into hysteria. Dennis Hopper arrives on the scene riding the crest of his bananas 1986 wave (this, Blue Velvet and  River’s Edge all came out in the same year, and you’re telling me he landed that Oscar nom just for Best Shot?), and if the film puts a foot really wrong, it’s not knowing how to balance him against the Sawyers-cum-Three Stooges and Savini’s insanely gooey prosthetics. Hopper is great, but his scenes reek of a tight schedule, and therefore the (admittedly quite long) final chainsaw duel feels like it’s over before it’s begun. Yet again, it’s difficult to really mark this down, mainly because Hooper’s commitment to blowing up and bastardising his own lore to usher it into a new decade is so risky that it commands respect even when it’s battering you over your skull when you’ve got your head in the noisiest bucket known to man. Think of cinema as the bucket and Hooper as the hammer, and I think you might be close to this film’s relentless thesis.

Simon liked these reviews