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22. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Director: Tobe Hooper
Stars: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Bill Moseley, Bill Johnson, Ken Evert

With his 1974 cult classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, director Tobe Hooper apparently lost something in the translation. In author Jason Zinoman’s excellent book Shock Value, Hooper chats about his initial comedic intentions for the film, thinking that its scenes of deranged cannibals taunting a blonde victim at their dinner table would muster up heavy laughs from audiences; when people only shit their pants, Hooper was confused.

Twelve years later, after directing the massive hit Poltergeist, an empowered Hooper took a shot at finally delivering the horror-comedy he’d originally strived for in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. The blood and guts, barely seen in the first Chainsaw Massacre, pours in rivers thanks to Tom Savini’s makeup effects, which, in a way, works as a self-deprecating comment against Hooper’s original’s unearned reputation as the ultimate gore film.

And the comedy, at times slapstick but always disturbed, leaves The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 much less frightening than its predecessor. But that’s what Hooper desired, and, for that, he’s successful.

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