This Region 1 "Gruesome Edition" of TCM 2 is a good upgrade over the letterboxed vanilla disc from 1999, but is not as special edition as you might hope - though the term "Gruesome Edition" is arguably a fair representation, considering the extra gore included in the deleted scenes.
The film itself is the same one we've known and loved for years, but given a much improved anamorphic transfer and a Dolby Surround track (over the previous editions STEREO). Those hoping for a 5.1 remix like Dark Sky's release of the first film can be disappointed now - all three of the original Hills Have Eyes films have come out on Anchor Bay discs with the original soundtrack (or a marginal stereo upgrade) and 5.1 and DTS, but TCM 2 is stuck with surround. I suppose that's as well since I'm not sure how my head would cope with the score coming at me in six channels. Actually, the high quality representation of the film only highlighted how bizarre and jarring parts of the film are. It's not just surreal, funny or larger than the original film would have led you to believe, it's also inexplicable in ways that clearly were not 100% intentional - this actually benefits the film though. It's off-the-wall, sequel-but-spoof approach owes a little something to The Return of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Howling II (itself Hemdale videos spoofy-last minute re-editing of a failed serious film, so as to emulate their success with Return of the Living Dead), and possibly Fright Night and Re-Animator, and influenced other films like Evil Dead II, Return of the Living Dead II and Phantasm II to take a similar approach. Crank up the mythological aspects and tone down the gritty realism, add violent slapstick and you're away. It should be noted that some have pointed out, with much merit, that the film MOTEL HELL, which Tobe Hooper at one time was slated to direct, is a sort of precursor to this film in a lot of ways (and is a bit more consistant, and boring, to boot).
There's a pretty good making of/retrospective, featuring good interviews with several people from the cast, including Caroline Williams (Stretch), Bill Mosely (ChopTop), Bill Johnson (Leatherface), Lou Perry (LG) and the director of photography. A definte highlight is an interview with LM Kit Carson (Paris, Texas), who worked hard on the film and clearly loves it despite it's flaws. The interviewing is not as exhaustive as you would hope though - I don't think Tobe Hooper showed up once in a new interview, though he did record a commentary with David Gregory which is quite awkward and disappointing. Tobe Hooper is very quiet and when Gregory asks him what he thinks of it at the end of the film and Hooper replies he thinks it's one of his best, I couldn't help but think it was in contrast to the lack of any passion in the proceeding 80mins. There is unfortunately little insight into the film. A second commentary with the cast and crew is more lively and contains some tidbits but quite a bit of backslapping as well.
The deleted scenes contain some fun stuff like Joe Bob Brigg's cameo (which had a very surreal moment with a severed hand, soon to be repeated in Evil Dead 2 and Return of the Living Dead II, which does not belong in this film at all) and revelations about Stretch and Lefty's relationship which probably doesn't belong either but is still fun to see. I believe most of these scenes have been released before (on an older Anchor Bay VHS) and there is still no real representation of an older workprint, with the gore sequences left partially in the film but edited in a comprehensible manner (one of the failings of the film's released state, much to Tom Savini's chagrin).
Overall, it's a good upgrade but it's not as good as an independant release would have been.