The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 ★★★

Film #29 of 31 in my Hoop-Tober 2016 challenge

I wasn't too keen on the original "Massacre" (1974), but since this was the highest rated film I hadn't seen by director Tobe Hooper. plus it stars an actor I usually like, Dennis Hopper, I figured it would be the proper choice for this year's challenge. After all, what could be more appropriate for Hoop-tober than a horror by Hooper with Hopper?

The story takes place 14 years after chainsaw-toting Leatherface and his kin killed four visitors near San Antonio and disappeared without a trace. Among the victims was the nephew of a former Texas Ranger, Lieutenant 'Lefty' Enright (Hopper), who has been on their trail through Texas ever since. He comes to investigate a fatal highway crash outside Dallas that left two young rednecks dead -- one of them decapitated.

Although local law enforcement doesn't want Lefty's help or believe his theories of a murdering family, he's convinced he's on to something. What's more, K-OKLA radio deejay Vanita 'Stretch' Brock (Caroline Williams) thinks he is, too, because she has an audio tape of the boys being attacked and killed as they called her late night request line. Lefty convinces Stretch to break FCC rules and play the tape over the airwaves to draw the killers out.

Unfortunately, the plan works well. 'Chop-Top' Sawyer (Bill Moseley) comes to the radio station after hours to recover the tape, accompanied by his brother Leatherface 'Bubba' Sawyer (Bill Johnson) and his chainsaw. Although Stretch manages to escape intact, her coworker L.G. McPeters (Lou Perryman) ends up battered and dragged off to the family's hiding place. Not willing to let them get away, Stretch follows and gets trapped in their "home" -- an abandoned carnival ground decorated with human bones -- where Drayton "The Cook" Sawyer (Jim Siedow) stews up his award-winning chili with "fresh meat."

Lefty, of course, tries to save Stretch, armed with three chainsaws of his own. You can expect some serious mayhem from there on -- in fact, maybe too much mayhem. Many critics have lamented the loss of the nightmarish quality of the original film, which seems to have been swapped for gore and black comedy. Frankly, I thought that was an improvement, but it may not be to the tastes of fans who point to the 1974 version as a masterpiece.

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