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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Gets A Buzzworthy Blu-ray

A dozen year’s after The Texas Chain Saw Massacre introduced us to the buzzing sounds of Leatherface’s weapon of choice, writer-director Tobe Hooper reacquainted audiences with the human skin-masked killer and his clan of cannibals—albeit with a vastly different tone. Abandoning the original’s zero-budget, documentary-esque visuals in favour of a more ostentatious setting that wouldn’t look out of place in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Hooper went even further by making his long-awaited sequel a gruesome satire, even featuring a poster of the flesh-eating family parodying The Breakfast Club. For the most part, audiences and critics did not get the joke, which is their loss.

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After their bumbling efforts at the end of the first film, things appear to be looking up for the Sawyers—made up of Leatherface (Bill Johnson), Chop-Top (Bill Moseley, who manages to be even more unhinged here than he was in the previous film), The Cook (Jim Siedow), and Grandpa (Lou Perryman)—who are now living underneath a desolate amusement park. Unfortunately, their lucky streak comes to a end when the father (Dennis Hopper, no shit) of one of their victims comes knocking sawing at their door with a pair of mini chainsaws and very large grudge. Also stacked against them is a young radio DJ named Stretch (Caroline Williams), who becomes the apple of Leatherface’s eye.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is clearly not your typical slasher film. While part one was a straight-faced freak show that went on to inspire countless imitators, part two has a blast taking a piss at all the ’80s schlock that arrived in its wake. Fortunately, Scream Factory knows a cult classic when they see it, and this two-disc Blu-ray gives the film the deluxe treatment it deserves. For starters, it looks and sounds better than ever, but it’s the, ahem, meaty special features that make this a must-own for any self-respecting horror fan.

Audio commentary aficionados will be happy to learn this release comes with three tracks (two of which are ported over from MGM’s previous BD). The new one is a nice blend of humour and in-depth production details, featuring DP Richard Kooris, production designer Cary White, script supervisor Laura Kooris, and property master Michael Sullivan. The second commentary has Hooper chatting with documentary filmmaker David Gregory, and the third (my personal favourite)  has special makeup effects creator/legend Tom Savini saying non-stop interesting stuff with actors Caroline Williams (Stretch) and Bill Moseley (Chop-Top).

The main course in terms of extras is hands down the feature-length, six-part documentary It Runs in the Family, which covers everything from the inception of the screenplay to the film’s release, reception, and long-lasting impact.  It’s got a nice assortment of talent on hand, including screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson (who also wrote the screenplay adaptation for Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas), Bill Moseley, Caroline Williams, Bill Johnson, Lou Perryman, Tom Savini, and more. 

Next up is another welcome instalment of Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, an amusing recurring featurette in which all-around-cool-horror-dude Sean Clark gives us a tour of various locations from the shoot.

More new material include lengthy interviews with makeup effect artists Bart Mixon, Gabe Bartalos Gino Crognale, and John Vulich; the two guys who played the ill-fated yuppies at the beginning of the film; the stunt man behind Leatherface (Bob Elmore); and the film’s editor, Alain Jakubowicz.

If you prefer the look of the MGM Blu-ray to the new 2K HD scan, that transfer (approved by DOP Richard Kooris) is included on the second disc. In fairness, they do look slightly different, but most people would never know the different. Also included on this killer release is a 45-minute behind-the-scenes compilation, 30 minutes of extended outtakes, a completely different alternate opening credit sequence, more deleted material, a still gallery, and trailers just like the one you can watch below.

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