Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Limited Edition Blu-ray Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Written By L.M. Kit Carson and Tobe Hooper
Directed By Tobe Hooper

A Cannon Films Production

Genre
Horror, Comedy

Cast

Dennis Hooper as Lieutenant  'Lefty' Enright
Caroline Williams as Vanita 'Stretch' Brock
Jim Siedow as Cook
Bill Moseley as Chop-Top
Bill Johnson as Leatherface
Ken Evert as Grandpa

Certificate 18

Synopsis

In 1974, Tobe Hooper quite literally changed the face of horror with his landmark film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Although the hulking Leatherface and his trusty power tool left an indelible mark upon the cinematic landscape, it wouldn’t be until 1986 that the buzz came back… in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2!

Relocating the cannibalistic Sawyer clan to a cavernous, labyrinthine dwelling beneath an amusement park, Hooper’s deliciously demented sequel sees Leatherface and Co. continue their murderous exploits afresh. This time around, local DJ Stretch runs afoul of the Sawyers when she gets mixed up in the brutal slaying of two youngsters. Meanwhile Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright is hell-bent on avenging the murder of his nephew Franklin who perished in the original massacre.

A cult classic in its own right, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 serves up a heady blend of gratuitous gore, socio-political critique and jet-black humour – whilst Dennis Hopper’s unhinged turn as Lefty needs to be seen to be believed! Whichever way you skin it, Leatherface’s second cinematic outing is an uncompromisingly delirious vision from one of the masters of horror.

Special Features
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation from a digital transfer supervised by Director of Photography Richard Kooris 
  • Original uncompressed Stereo 2.0 audio • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing 
  • Audio commentary with director and co-writer Tobe Hooper, moderated by David Gregory • Audio commentary with stars Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams and special-effects legend Tom Savini, moderated by Michael Felsher 
  • “It Runs in the Family” - A 6-part documentary looking at the genesis, making-of and enduring appeal of Hooper’s film, with interviews including star Bill Johnson, co-writer L. M. Kit Carson, Richard Kooris, Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams, Tom Savini, production designer Cary White and more!  
  • Alternate Opening sequence with different musical score 
  • Deleted scenes  
  •  “Still Feelin’ the Buzz” - Interview with horror expert Stephen Thrower, author of Nightmare USA 
  • Cutting Moments with Bob Elmore – Interview with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s stuntman  
  • Gallery featuring never-before-published behind-the-scenes images 
  • Original Trailer 
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition (DVD) presentation of two of Tobe Hooper’s early works restored by Watchmaker Films with Tobe Hooper, available on home video for the first time in the world 
  • The Heisters (1965) - Tobe Hooper’s early short film restored in HD from original elements [10 mins] 
  • Eggshells (1970) - Tobe Hooper’s debut feature restored in HD from original elements [90 mins] 
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing 
  • Audio Commentary on Eggshells by Tobe Hooper 
  • In Conversation with Tobe Hooper - the legendary horror director speaks about his career from Eggshells to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2  
  • Trailer Reel of all the major works by Tobe Hooper 
  • 100 page book - Limited Edition Exclusive - Exclusive perfect-bound book covering everything you wanted to know about Tobe Hooper, chainsaws and more! Featuring new writing on the director’s early works by Brad Stevens, an investigation of Tobe Hooper’s three-picture Cannon deal by Calum Waddell, new writing on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 by John Kenneth Muir, a look at the film’s long battle with the BBFC and an exclusive interview with Hooper by Stefan Jaworzyn, author of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Companion, rounded off with an appraisal of the highs and lows of the Texas Chainsaw franchise by Joel Harley, all illustrated with archive stills.

Review

When the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' was released it went down in legend as one of the most nerve wracking and scary horror movies ever made.  However it wasn't until 1986 that a sequel would turn up but would it match that level of the original.

Well, back when it was released, critics took one gigantic dump on the movie.  In their eyes, it completely destroyed the aura of the original.  With 27 years now passed since then, Arrow Films have put together one hell of a set to bring the movie back to the forefront of horror movie fans collections.

The story itself is nothing like the original.  In fact, I would even go so far as to say as it comes across as a gory and incredibly over the top yet darkly comic  look at the state of horror movies back in the 80's.  There were so many little nods and digs at other movies and some of the performances really do have to be seen to be believed.

In places, the movie takes a very strange detour in to pure and utter insanity, which is one of the things that I really liked the most about the movie.  It may be weird, it may be completely over the top but it is sure as Hell never boring.

Performance wise, it's what you would expect from an 80's horror movie but with one massive exception.  Dennis Hopper.  He gives one of the most manic and completely unhinged performances that I have ever seen in a movie, not just a horror movie.  You honestly believe that he is totally bat crap crazy.  The idea of someone wanting revenge for losing someone close to them isn't a new one in the slightest but Hopper plays it so well that you can't take your eyes away from them because it honestly feels like the grief and the need for revenge has full on eaten the characters sanity.

The transfer for the movie itself is absolutely brilliant.  It's almost as if it's a movie released today not one that was first released in 1986 so kudos to whoever did the transferring job.

However that's not where the set raises from being good to being essential.  There are a positive treasure trove of goodies for the horror fan and specifically for the fans of the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' movies themselves.  In fact, if you are a fan, then you are in for a great time going through all the things that are included in this 3 disc set.  Arrow Films have done a mind blowing job on making this release of a criminally under rated horror classic stand out from the crowd and have full on jammed as much on to the discs as they possibly can.

The real highlight for me as a fan of Tobe Hooper, is the inclusion of two of Hooper's early movies.  One a short and one his first directorial debut.  Both have been cleaned up and transferred on to home video for the first ever time.

In all honesty, this is an absolutely essential purchase for horror fans.  There is so much here that you could spend a very long time going through all the goodies without getting bored.  Like I said earlier, it's a positive treasure trove of special features and surprises so what are you waiting for?

Movie 8/10
Picture 9/10
Sound 9/10
Special Features 10/10
Overall 36/40

'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2' Limited Edition Blu-ray is available from November 11th.

  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) on IMDb

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious - this is the third review I've read that mentions the early Tobe Hooper works but which doesn't actually review them. Were you sent that disc with your review copy?

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