The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) on Blu-ray

by Martyn Conterio on 08/11/2013


Leatherface, chainsaw enthusiast and brick shithouse who sports a homemade variety of dead skin masks to suit any given occasion has become one of horror cinema’s enduring icons and one of its most abused. His debut was hugely memorable, a star being well and truly born, but then it went downhill fast with the sequels and their treatment of the Texan monster.

On paper, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 must have looked edgy, promising and a creative curveball that defied audience expectation. Tom Savini would provide special effects makeup and the screenplay written by Paris, Texas scribe Kit Carson. Hooper himself returned to the director’s chair. Instead of a continuation and lesson in screen terror, they decided to produce a 1980s satire on the American family. It’s a concept that you’ll enjoy or baulk at with the most severe reservations. Forget about well-timed scares and the lingering fear factor. Forget grotty realism. Forget everything you loved about the original movie, in fact. The sequel is interested in cartoonish freakery with a tone more ‘Tex Avery’ than ‘Ed Gein’. The makers throws everything at the screen and then some. The humour and pop culture referencing, too, is so cerebral at times that many will simply not find it unfunny.

The film isn’t all all bad (just mostly). Cary White’s production design work and Bill Moseley’s Chop Top, a bizarro figure who seems like a living cousin to Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice, are impressive. Ultimately, this is what you call a ‘Marmite movie’. If you admire the daring in Hooper and Carson’s symbolic gesture of taking sticks of dynamite to the 1974 film, its hallowed reputation and gleefully blowing it to smithereens, then The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is for you.


Arrow Video have pulled out all the stops! Firstly, the HD upgrade is top-notch. There’s a feature-length documentary to chow down on, though it is noticeable by the absence of Tobe Hooper. Also included: a 2006 Director’s Commentary; an engaging if slightly chaotic Actor’s Commentary (talking over each other is so annoying); a splendid interview/analysis by Stephen Thrower; a booklet (which we didn’t have to review, but is *probably* ace), and the obligatory trailer and Image Gallery.

Hooper’s debut, Eggshells (1969), a film long thought lost, and his short movie The Heisters, have also been included on a separate disc. ‘Eggshells’ is a curiosity item for fans, with its druggie ambience and very weird story about what could be a creature from outer space (masquerading as a bubble) residing in a suburban basement. The sex scene is truly excellent and comes across like the 2001: A Space Odyssey ‘starfield’ sequence, but entirely focused on a copulating couple. It’s imaginative, trippy and kind of fantastic. The film also comes with a commentary track.

Martyn has awarded The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 three Torches of Truth

3 torches cropped

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