DVD Special Features:
Original theatrical trailer
Interactive menu screens and chapter selections
Soundtrack: English Dolby Surround 2.1, Italian mono, Spanish mono
Subtitles: English for the hard of hearing, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
1.85:1 widescreen 4:3
Opinion is mixed as to whether Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
is a worthy successor to Tobe Hooper's seminal slasher flick. The story picks up 14 years after the events of the first film, which have long since passed into local legend. On a relentless search for the maniacs who murdered his wheelchair-bound nephew Franklin, Lieutenant "Lefty" Enright (Dennis Hopper) is drawn to the scene of a brutal roadside killing in Red River, Texas. He soon forms an alliance with Stretch (Caroline Williams), a feisty female radio DJ who inadvertently broadcasts the chainsaw murder of two drunken frat boys live on her late-night phone-in request show. At Lefty's request she replays the tape on air and soon after receives a terrifying visit from two deranged fans, Leatherface and Chop Top, who are intent on killing her. Stretch escapes, and together with Lefty follows the trail of the gruesome twosome into the bowels of the deserted San Jacinto historical theme park, which hides a Leatherface house of horrors.
In contrast to the chilling, snuff movie scenario of the original, Hooper whoops it up with this 1986 sequel brimming with gruesome humour, without welching on the thrills. Writer LM Kit Carson (Paris, Texas) reworks Leatherface into a tragic, almost naïve figure trapped beneath a horrific façade and fleshes out his thoroughly dysfunctional family with the introduction of baby brother ChopTop--a steel-plated Vietnam vet. Leatherface's old man (now called Drayton Sawyer) and Grandpa are carried over from the first film. Dennis Hopper is clean cut but dead-eyed in a typically manic performance as the cowboy detective driven by revenge--think of an embryonic Frank Booth from Blue Velvet with a fetish for power tools. TCM2 is a wildly imaginative experiment in terror that stays true to its trashy exploitation roots.
On the DVD: The lack of extra features on this disc (apart from the standard theatrical trailer) is a major oversight given that TCM2 has had no previous theatrical or video release in the UK. A director's commentary would have been especially welcome, as well as the addition of the deleted scenes featured on the US laserdisc and special edition VHS versions of this film. Static menus provide options to watch the film with English, Spanish or Italian dialogue and subtitles in Danish, Norweigian and Swedish. The main feature is of more than adequate picture quality and presented in 16:9 anamorphic format. --Chris Campion