The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. 1986. USA. Directed by Tobe Hooper. Written by L.M. Kit Carson. With Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Bill Moseley, Jim Siedow, Bill Johnson.
. 35mm. 101 min.
Tobe Hooper followed up his landmark The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 12 years later with this wholly unique sequel, which picks up with the Sawyer family 14 years after our first unpleasant encounter. They’re up to the same old cannibalistic tricks, only this time they’re terrorizing a young DJ named Stretch and dealing with a vengeful cop (played by Dennis Hopper). While TCM2 gives subtle nods to issues of industrialization, distrust of government, and the sanctity of family, the most interesting aspect of the film lies within its commentary about itself. This time Hooper pours on all the gore and guts we can handle, in contrast with the often overlooked fact that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre showed very little on-screen violence. The film has a relentless energy: there’s hardly a moment without screaming, yelling, running, or buzzing; the performances are wildy over-the-top; Leatherface has a sexual awakeniing; and the colors are vibrantly ’80s. A polarizing film, TCM2 speaks to the self-referential nature of horror films, and their ability to transmit terror in new, often unhinged ways.