The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★½

Spooky Scary Horrorthons 6 - Film #16

Buzz and Rick were no race car drivers and yet they drove so goddamn fast. It was a good thing that Leatherface was there to stop their reckless road rampage. It might have been less good that someone was overhearing his heroic intervention over the phone.

You see, at first I thought that this film was going down the road of criticizing the glorification of murderers that may occur when they reach the consciousness of the mainstream (seeing as a repeated radio broadcast of Leatherface's roadkill acted as a prelude for when the film truly shifts into horror). But then the film goes completely of the wall and commits a full frontal assault to eyes and ears (I'm sure it would also assault the skin and the nose if it utilized 4D-effects and Smell-O-Vision). It is quite the onslaught. Tobe Hooper wisely realized that a straight up horror sequel to his groundbreaking horror effort TCM could only end up as a flaccid disappointment, so instead he went for a far less horrifying and far more comedic route in this sequel. You can't really compare this film to its predecessor. That's a blessing and a curse.

The Sawyer family is as deranged and eccentric as it ever was, despite the comedy. Chop Top proved to be my favorite Sawyer Family psycho that shows up here. He is an unhinged masochist that missed out on the first film because he was away to lose his mind and scalp in Vietnam. He also lended one of his more memorable quotes to a Primus song, what a champ! Leatherface makes his triumphant return in a spectacular jump scare, although I'm not sure that I liked how he became some sort of confused manchild in this film. But I suppose that the relentless brute that he was in the first film wouldn't be much more than a punchline in a comedic setting.

An already weird film goes and gets even weirder when we, alongside the local scream queen, is sent to the Sawyer Family's impressive (but unnerving) lair. I had a sudden Eureka moment when I realized that the Sawyer hideout in this film probably served as a huge inspiration to the Nosferatu Warrens in Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines. They share the overabundance of neon lights, the narrow tunnels and the fixed-up corpses!

Things keeps getting nuttier and nuttier as the run time keeps going and suddenly we find ourselves watching a sheriff facing Leatherface in a chainsaw duel while Duel of the Fates plays in my head. Unfortunately we are also given some repeats of scenes that we already remember from the first TCM, but the less vicious tone of this film make them feel far less unnerving this time around. One thing is for sure though, this film doesn't stop for anything!

There is certainly a lot of fun to be had with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Regardless of some questionable choices regarding a certain returning chainsaw wielder and a constant barrage of insanity that after a while felt like it overstayed its welcome, can you really have a BAD time with this level of unapologetic hillbilly mayhem? Dog will hunt indeed, Mr. Chop Top.

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