The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★★½

Film 42/45 for Hooptober 4.0

1/1 of 1 Tobe Hooper film

So...what exactly do you do when you’ve made one of the most terrifying horror movies in history and now you are tasked with making a sequel? Answer: the (almost) complete opposite of what you did the first time, of course! Tobe Hooper proved he was pretty darn genius when he made this sequel. Almost anyone would agree that the intensity and tone of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre could never be outdone...except almost anyone would attempt it nonetheless. Not Tobe. Nope! He knew that he needed to make a completely different film that really couldn’t be held up to the first film for comparison and, dammit, I think it worked beautifully.

The story follows the same chainsaw-wielding maniac and his fam from the first movie. This time, they kill some kids who were in the middle of calling into a radio show. The DJ records the call and plays it for a vigilante law enforcer whose family just happens to have included one of the victims from the first movie. It doesn’t take long before crazy fam comes after both of them. WHEW! This movie may not have the same horrific nightmare feeling of the first one but it is intense AF. Seriously, I was sweatin’!

The most notable difference between the first movie and this sequel is the comedy aspect. I wouldn’t really call this a straight “horror comedy” but it does have some very funny parts in it. The first one was dead serious (oh yes, that’s a pun intended) with a relentless onslaught of terror and nary a giggle to be found. This one intersperses the terror with truly brilliant dark humor and some wonderfully goofball performances. Still, when I think of “horrorcoms”, I usually don’t think of this one. Maybe it’s because the horror parts are still truly horrific. The opening scene, the radio station scene, and the whole last 30 minutes are all just non-stop tension, gore, and adrenaline. Of course, there are some great comedy bits in each of those scenes...so maybe this is actually the truest form of “horror comedy” out there? I’m not sure but it’s an interesting question...that I asked myself...and am not going to bother answering...because I can do that. Also, during one of those aforementioned scenes (I won’t spoil it by saying which one) is possibly the SINGLE GREATEST JUMP SCARE IN HORROR MOVIE HISTORY. For real. I wrote in an older review that jump scares don’t have the slightest affect on me anymore because none of them make me so much as bat an eyelash. Well, apparently I met my match because this one made me kinda slightly twitch! Partially because I had completely forgotten about it and partially because CHRISTMAS ON A F*CKING CRACKER THAT SH*T CAME OUT OF NOWHERE! I am now going to be on a mission to subject as many unsuspecting victims as possible to this scene...just for funsies...and to remind myself that my slight twitch was nothing compared to what it could have been. 😈

The performances here were all excellent. Everyone always raves about Bill Moseley and he’s quite good but I absolutely loved Jim Siedow and his curmudgeonly lunatic screaming and shouting about all over the place. He was hands-down my favorite part and I really think I would be ok with a feature film of him running around and berating a bunch of random people. I’m not a huge Dennis Hopper fan (my sincere apologies to the many who love him) so maybe I’m a bit biased but I just didn’t care much for his character. He was really weird (because he’s Dennis Hopper, probably) and seemed to randomly pop up at various points and I just feel like it maybe didn’t quite fit with the rest of the movie? Caroline Williams is one of the best screamers around and her wide eyes are perfect for expressing horror.

Because this sequel had a bigger budget, it is more polished and lacks that gritty look and feel that helped make the first one so terrifying. Still, Hooper proves that it was more than the atmosphere that made the first one so good. The guy was a genius of putting you through the GD wringer with each suspenseful segment. Just like the chase scenes in the first one, the ones here will absolutely have you reaching for tranquilizers or alcohol...or both. They are just crazy...and so so very good.

While this maybe isn’t the masterpiece that is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, it’s an incredibly great film that just didn’t catch on like it should have. I think maybe people just expected more of the same thing the first one delivered and weren’t sure what to make of this different direction. I remember the first time I watched it, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about it, either. However, after several rewatches (and countless other horror films for comparison), I think I now fully appreciate the beauty to be found here...and it’s something truly great...proven by the fact that I was SWEATIN’, Y’ALL!

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