RIP Tobe Hooper: The Ingeniousness of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2


As we mourn the passing of Tobe Hooper, 1428 Elm is looking at one of the best films in his celebrated filmography, ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’.

RIP Tobe Hooper, this one’s for you. Thanks for sharing your genius with the world.


In 1974, a Texas filmmaker takes art to new, wholly terrifying, places. Using his stomping grounds as for cinematic carnage, Tobe Hooper creates The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Telling a dark tale of horrific cannibalism in hell-like weather, the experience is one of the scariest in horror history.

After the birth of Leatherface, Hooper shapes what will be the bulk of his career. Churning out terror titles like Eaten AliveThe Funhouse and Poltergeist, the storyteller is in his heyday. And in 1986, 12 years after Lone Star State became horror’s new home, Hooper becomes homecoming king once again.


— Courtesy of Cannon Films

Starring Dennis HopperCaroline Williams and Jim Siedow, not to mention a star making turn by future horror icon Bill Moseley, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is one hell of a ride. Trading its dark tone for bloody irreverence, the film finds horror less concerning than laughs — and more brilliant for it. Sure, the first one’s scary. But the sequel? It’s bloody hilarious.

“Did you get that bitch Leatherface!?” — Chop Top

Throw that hilarity on an old Texas grill with a dash of bizarre, and you’re chewing on TCM 2. Featuring Hopper eating scenery as “Lefty” Enright, TCM 2 is so over-the-top and cheesy. But that cheese tastes great melting atop that good ‘ole Texas meat.

Holstering a mini-chainsaw on is hip, and fighting Leatherface in a saw sword fight, Lefty is just one example of the Hooper’s genius — often disguised as ridiculousness. Other examples include, Leatherface using his chainsaw as an extension of his penis, using the penis saw to hump the air, sexually playing with a would-be victim the the saw penis, a character spiting while being butchered and so many more….I haven’t even mentioned Chop Top.

— Courtesy of Cannon Films


Moreover, the film’s intrinsically thematic, something the original isn’t. Hooper’s ’74 masterpiece is a straight forward horror film. It’s scary as hell, but there aren’t messages bleeding through the celluloid there. People are crazy and may eat you. Watch your back. Got it.

However, the sequel is a response to ’80s consumerism and the rise of yuppie culture. A perfect companion to John Carpenter’s They Live, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a film steep in ideas of the almighty dollar becoming king — proving Hooper is one of the best filmmakers in the genre.

More from Texas Chainsaw Massacre

From the opening, where the Sawyers literally kill two spoiled yuppies, the film is full of examples of pushing back against a culture emerging from Reaganomics. The Sawyers are feeding victims to people, so it’s almost literal. Drayton even hilariously says “What, is that? One of them health food bunches” after Left proclaims himself the “Lord of the Harvest”….I love that scene.

Years of ahead of its time, the ’80s sequel is unlike any horror film in the existence. Needing decades to be fully appropriated and understood, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is pure brilliance. I’ll admit, when I first SAW (see what I did there) Hooper’s second trip to Texas, I didn’t like it. But I didn’t understand the film. I certainly didn’t get its genius. Didn’t understand the artistry.


Today, Tobe Hopper died aged 74. And while he we may not be with us anymore, a part of him will always be. Getting a glimpse of the filmmaker’s greatness is still easy, all you have to do is head down a dark Texas road with a television and one of his film. Because you can take the artist away from their audience, but the artist can always be found in their art. Thanks for making the saw family Tobe. Rest In Peace.

Next: Thoughts from the Ledge: The legacy of Tobe Hooper

Missing Tobe Hooper? Find ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’ overrated or underrated? Let the rest of the family know what you think in the comment section below.