‘After a decade of silence… the buzzz is back.’
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a 1986 American slasher horror feature film directed by Tobe Hooper. It is a sequel to the 1974 horror classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, also directed and co-written by Hooper. It was written by L. M. Kit Carson, produced by Carson, Yoram Globus, Menahem Golan and Hooper, and promoted as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2.
The movie stars Dennis Hopper as Lefty, Caroline Williams as Stretch, Bill Johnson as Leatherface, Bill Moseley as Chop Top and Jim Siedow, who reprises the role of The Cook.
The film’s US theatrical poster shown above is a pun on the poster for the film The Breakfast Club which depicts its cast in a similar pose.
For fourteen years, former Texas Ranger Lefty Enright (Dennis Hopper) has been obsessed with finding the psychotic mass-murderers who killed his brother’s children. And today he’s in luck.
A tough late-night disc jockey (Caroline Williams) has caught the ghouls on tape in the act of slicing and dicing a couple of fun-loving rich kids. When she volunteers to help, Lefty persuades her to play the tape on-air to lure the maniacs out of hiding…
The sequel was criticised by some for its stylistic departure from the first film, including its bigger budget and emphasis on gore and wacky black comedy, as opposed to the original which utilised minimal gore, a low-budget vérité style and atmosphere to build tension and fear. The emphasis was on black comedy, which director Tobe Hooper believed was present in the first film, but unacknowledged by viewers because of its realistic and shocking content.
Despite being successful in its initial 1986 theatrical run, the film failed to make a substantial profit for Cannon; however, it eventually garnered a cult following.
Several scenes were deleted by director Tobe Hooper due to perceived pacing issues. One lengthy scene that was cut from the film involves the Sawyer Clan heading out at night to collect prime meat for their chilli by slaughtering movie patrons and a group of rowdy, rioting fans. The deleted slaughtering scene featured several elaborate Tom Savini special effects. An alternate plot line involving Lefty Enright as Stretch’s father was also scrapped.
In a similar way to its predecessor, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has had a checkered past in regard to its relationship with censors in various countries.
When the film was first submitted in the United Kingdom for a certificate, the BBFC notified Cannon, the distributor, that at least 20 to 25 minutes of footage would have to be trimmed in order for the film to be given an 18 rating! Cannon then aborted its plans for a possible UK release in 1990. Despite this initial censorial hysteria, it is now rated 18 in the UK.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a cocaine version of the original – bug-eyed, frenetic and overly excitable. It’s certainly very 1980s, and that’s rarely a good thing. Yet, it works, against all the odds.
Like the first film, it shows no restraint, no sense of decency and gives no quarter to social niceties or censorial demands. Even the soundtrack, which replaces Wayne Bell’s ultra-unsettling musique concrete with a mix of mid-Eighties alt. rock (The Cramps, Timbruk 3) and a more ‘conventional’ – though still pretty delirious – musical score, works well.
David Flint, MOVIES & MANIA
“It’s a truly weird film but it has its charm and it has its place alongside the other sequels – just don’t go in expecting a rehash of the more famous first film, because it almost seems like Hooper knew he couldn’t out do himself and so instead he opted to go in a completely different direction.” DVD Talk
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a masterpiece, a complete reinvention of the series’ low-key art film roots, and horror-comedy-drama of the highest order – an epic Grand Guignol.” Sean Gill, Junta Jeleil’s Culture Shock
Cast and characters:
- Caroline Williams … DJ Vanita “Stretch” Brock
- Dennis Hopper … Lt. Boude “Lefty” Enright
- Jim Siedow … Drayton
- Bill Johnson … Leatherface
- Bill Moseley … Chop Top
- Lou Perryman … L.G.
- Judy Kelly … Gourmet Yuppette
- Chris Douridas … Gunner
- Kinky Friedman … Sports Anchorman
- Dan Jenkins … T.V. Commentator
- John Bloom … Gonzo Moviegoer
“This is a very uneasy, uncertain shocker, quite unable to digest the mix of horror and black comedy which became a genre-must after the first TCM” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
On 21 August 2017, the film is released on Blu-ray in the UK by Arrow Video.
- 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 six-part documentary looking at the genesis, making-of and enduring appeal of Hooper s lm, 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 behind-the-scenes images
- Original trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Erickson
On April 19, 2016, the film was released as a 2-disc Blu-ray in the US by Shout! Factory with new cover artwork and the following extras:
- 2016 2K HD Scan From The Interpositive Film Element
- Audio Commentary With Director 0f Photography Richard Kooris, Production Designer Cary White, Script Supervisor Laura Kooris And Property Master Michael Sullivan
- Audio Commentary With Director Tobe Hooper
- Audio Commentary With Actors Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams And Special Effects Makeup Creator Tom Savini
- Extended Outtakes From It Runs In The Family Featuring L.M. Kit Carson And Lou Perryman
- Behind-The-Scenes Footage Compilation From Tom Savini’s Archives
- Alternate Opening Credit Sequence
- Deleted Scenes
- Still Galleries – Posters And Lobby Cards, Behind-The-Scenes Photos, Stills And Collector’s Gallery
- Theatrical Trailers
- TV Spots
- MGM’s Original HD Master With Color Correction Supervision By Director of Photography Richard Kooris
- House Of Pain – An Interview With Makeup Effects Artists Bart Mixon, Gabe Bartalos, Gino Crognale And John Vulich
- Yuppie Meat – An Interview With Actors Chris Douridas And Barry Kinyon
- Cutting Moments – An Interview With Editor Alain Jakubowicz
- Behind The Mask – An Interview With Stunt Man And Leatherface Performer Bob Elmore
- Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – Revisiting The Locations Of The Film – Hosted By Sean Clark Plus A Special Guest
- It Runs In The Family – A Six Part Feature-Length Documentary Featuring Interviews With Screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson, Actors Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams, Bill Johnson, Lou Perryman, Special Makeup Effects Artist Tom Savini And More…