The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★★

Tobe Hooper decided to do a sequel to one of the most grisly, realistic and genuinely terrifying horror movies of all time but play it for laughs the second time around. The result is an absolute madhouse of nauseating carnage, a carnival of shrieking, capering grotesques that obliterates all meaning, reason and decency.

Chills/Thrills: Starts out funny, gets disgusting, then it gets stupid, then it gets more gruesome and depraved than you can possibly imagine, then stupid again, then ultimately, extremely funny. Despite all the laughs, the Sawyer family is so essentially repellent that it does count as being scary.

Gore/Ownage: TOTAL MASSACRE. Where the first movie was actually pretty sparing with the gore and instead rang unbearable tension and dread from its atmosphere of cursed madness and rural degradation, this one is an unending sluice of runoff from an industrial slaughterhouse.

Horniness: "Sex or the saw." Here the chainsaw is the penis. In probably the stupidest part of the movie, Leatherface keeps letting sexy radio DJ "Stretch" live because he's horned up for her.

The best parts of this movie are Sawyer family members "Chop Top", played by Bill Moseley, and especially "Cook", played by Jim Siedow. "Cook" was one of the scariest parts of the original, and here he has fully adopted small business genius mindset as he jabbers about taxes and regulations strangling "an honest trade." Since the original, he has taken his family BBQ shop on the road serving his prize-winning cannibal slop to chili-slurping rubes all over the great state of Texas.

It is here that we discover the true horror of this movie: Texas itself. This film features the full spectrum of Texas stereotypes from mutant cannibals to slack-jawed ten gallon hat and belt buckle types to Mercedes driving rich kid yuppies. The Sawyers set up shop in a disgusting abandoned amusement park called "Texas Battle Land" that celebrates that state's singularly stupid and blood-soaked history. In one scene, Dennis Hopper's "Lefty" kicks through a mural of Davey Crockett at The Alamo and several gallons of intestines spill out from behind the wall. Hooper is showing us that the state that considers itself its own country, but also more American than anywhere else in the country is a giant asylum consisting of either blood-mad dogs that need to be put down or human cattle, stuffing themselves with other people as they watch the big Texas/OSU bowl game*, drunk and sedate as they enter the chute and await the hammer. As Papa Sawyer says of Dallas: "I love this town! You love your prime meats!"


*I've been informed is OU, not OSU