The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★

When I did my semi-regular rewatch of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre last year, I concluded my review with this edict: "I haven't bothered watching any of the sequels or remakes or prequels or whatever because, you know, the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre is so perfect that there's no reason to."

I wish I had kept to my guns as Tobe Hooper's official sequel adds nothing to the original's legacy, while piling on a whole heap of fucking stupid.

A couple of rich asshole privileged pricks are out in their fancy-pants car drinking, drinking, and generally causing some mayhem. After running a pickup truck off the road, they call into the request line of their favorite radio station, just to flirt, harass, and generally be prickish to the radio dj, Stretch (Caroline Williams). But while they're on the line, it's suddenly pickup truck revenge time and all Stretch can hear is screams and the chu-chu-chu of a chainsaw. After their accident, a cowboy lieutenant (Dennis Hopper)--related to some of the victims from the first Texas Chain Saw Massacre--sees this as his opportunity to exact revenge, something, something, newspaper article, something, he and Stretch get together and stuff happens. I dunno.

There's a couple of delightfully squeamish, ominous moments within TCM2's 101min runtime. As the Sawyer family realizes that Stretch has a tape recording of the rich prick murders, they send Leatherface and "Chop-Top" to deal with her at the station. "Chop-Top"--who I'm assuming is a direct reprisal of the "Hitchhiker" character from the first film, despite a different name and actor--has a couple of minutes all on his own to interact with Stretch that are about as unnerving as anything I've seen. He's all hunched towards the screen, a hanger hook in one hand, a lighter in the other. He'll flick the lighter, torch the hook, then use the hook to scratch his head. Whatever the hanger picks up, he rolls off and pops into his mouth like you might a Skittle. It's utterly horrifying.

Unfortunately the horror is irregular and even as a few character-driven moments allow for some high peaks, most of the movie chugs along at a valley. Even the latter 3rd of the movie where we have most of the chainsaw chasing feels like it's just riffing on the original's best moments without creating any new ones itself.

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