Sunday, February 5, 2017

Short Attention Span Review: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Short Attention Span Review: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a minor classic that benefits largely from the raw look and feel of the piece, giving it an authenticity that makes it seem like the closest thing to a snuff film you're apt to find on Netflix.  As such, it isn't a picture I like to revisit, and most of the entries in this ongoing series are equally grim affairs that fall well short of the high water mark Tobe Hooper set with the original in 1974.  Hooper himself only revisited the material as a director with this 1986 sequel.  While many were completely turned off by its goofy tone and flamboyant characters at the time it was released, it has earned quite a reputation as a cult classic and remains a personal favorite of mine.  Unlike most sequels, the body count doesn't grow exponentially, and in fact The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 probably sports one of the lowest body counts that you're apt to find in a gory slasher flick.  Even if there aren't bodies piling up on the screen, there is an abundance of blood and guts on display, and Tom Savini's practical effects are amazing.  The surreal set design is just as impressive, and the characters are mostly caricatures.  The acting fits the bizarro tone nicely, with Bill Moseley and Dennis Hopper competing to see who can give the most ridiculous performance in the picture.  Moseley is equal parts hilarious and disgusting as the villainous Chop-Top, while Hopper plays Lieutenant Lefty Enright, a Texas Ranger who is both a righteous avenger and a bloodthirsty lunatic who may just be crazier than Leatherface.  In many ways, these sensational elements join together to make The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 a cartoonish chiller, and while it's easy enough to see how that could rub many people the wrong way, I love it.  In closing, I should also note that the score is fabulous, the ending is killer, and all the dark humor in play makes this a bizarre treat that is worth revisiting often.     

Final Grade: A

The MVP of this gonzo sequel has to be Bill Moseley, whose Chop-Top is a grotesque nutjob who is just  as amusing as he is disgusting.

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