Review Date: July 30, 2000
Released by: MGM
Release date: 2000
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: No | P&S - Side B
Sally Hardesty-Enright was the only survivor from the group of five young people that ran out of gas in the wrong town. The girl told her tale to the authorities, about how her friends were attacked and eaten by a farmhouse full of cannibals, and how she barely managed to escape. Texas lawmen launched a month-long manhunt. The infamous farmhouse of cannibals was never found. No killers or victims were ever found. Officially, on the records, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre never happened. Over the past 13 years reports of bizarre, grisly chainsaw mass-murders have persister all across the states of Texas. So begins Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
The film opens with two young men driving to a party. They're drinking and driving, shooting signs with a gun, having a grand old time in the state of Texas. They're listening to a radio show hosted by a woman named "Stretch" (Caroline Williams). They call Stretch and start giving her a hard time on the air, refusing to hangup the phone so they can tie up the request line. When the two men spot a truck coming in the opposite direction they decide to play chicken with the truck, causing it to go off the road. Later, when they're driving back from their party, they call Stretch back and continue to give her a hard time, tying up her request line. They begin to drive across the bridge when they encounter the same truck from earlier. The driver of the truck cutoff their car as they drive over the bridge. When the truck finally let the car pass the truck begins to reverse direction, keeping up with the fleeing car. In the back of a truck a dead body of sorts appears with a chainsaw. The dead body turns out to be the infamous Leatherface (Bill Johnson) with Chop Top (Bill Moseley)by his side. They attack the two men in their car and during this whole ordeal Stretch is listening on the phone, hearing the sounds of chainsaws and the screams of the men.
The next morning police arrive at the "accident scene", finding the torn apart car and two dead bodies, one having it's head cut in half. At the scene is Lieutenant "Lefty" Enright (Dennis Hopper), who has been on the hunt for the infamous family of cannibals for 13 years. Lefty's brother's kids were killed by the family of cannibals and he's devoted his life to avenging them. Lefty meets up with Stretch, who brings him a tape of the phone call where she heard the two men being murdered. She wants to work with him to find the family of cannibals, hoping to score her way into a real news job by scooping a big story.
Lefty finally agrees to let Stretch help. He tells her to play the death tape on the air. What he doesn't tell her is that he's using her as bait to lure Leatherface and Chop Top . It works; Leatherface and Chop Top show up at Stretch's radio station, almost killing her. Leatherface takes a liking to her and decides to let her live, making Chop Top think she's dead. They leave the station and Stretch follows them back to an abandoned amusement park where she finally meets up with Lefty. But before the two reunite Stretch falls into a compartment beneath her feet, landing deep inside of the cannibal's hideout. Surrounded by body parts, Stretch must try and maintain her sanity while trying to escape. Meanwhile, Lefty works his way down into the depths of the hideout to save Stretch and have a final showdown with the chainsaw wielding cannibals.
I loved the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, but the sequel was not enjoyable for me. It almost seems to me that Tobe Hooper couldn't decide whether to make a parody of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre or to make a legit sequel. It seems to be a mix, but I think the result is a bad movie with little direction. I almost want to say they shouldn't dare make a comedic sequel when the first film was so straight up horror, but then I'm reminded of The Evil Dead and it's comedic sequel. The difference is that Evil Dead 2 succeeds in being extremely funny, whereas Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is not. The only comedy relief in TCM2 is Chop Top, and he isn't an Ash if you know what I mean...Chop Top is only good for a few laughs and his character gets old and boring pretty quick.
My personal opinion is that it would've been better to try and make a legit sequel instead of this mix of horror and comedy (if you want to call it that). Most sequels fail, however, so perhaps Tobe Hooper was trying to give us a sequel with a twist. I think he failed, with the only accomplishment being that he put the first bad mark of many on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre name.
MGM presents Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 in a non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. Included on side B of the DVD is a Pan & Scan presentation of the film. It's unfortunate MGM didn't choose to remaster the title, not only to give it an anamorphic transfer but also to cleanup the print. Overall the quality is barely acceptable. White specks and print damage are minor but they do show up several times during the presentation. The main problem was grain. Light grain was evident in many scenes in the film, with a few scenes having heavy grain. I imagine would've been reduced dramatically with a new print. Even though the grain was light it's still very noticeable because it happens so frequently, with only a few scenes being grain free. Sadly, I've heard that the Elite laserdisc and Anchor Bay VHS actually have a cleaner transfer than this DVD. From the reviews I've read neither has been reported to have heavy grain.
The image quality on the DVD was sharp throughout the majority of the film. Colors were strong and flesh tones appeared accurate. If MGM had only given this title a bit of TLC (tender loving care) that companies like Anchor Bay, Synapse or Elite would've done, this could've been a good transfer. Instead we're stuck with a crappy transfer that appears to be worse than an OLDER VHS release of the same film.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is presented in Dolby Digital surround sound. Sound was crisp and clear with no distortion. Rears had moderate activity throughout the film, but nothing spectacular that jumps out at you. I actually expected a bit more activity from the rears given the high number of chainsaw scenes, but sadly the usage was minimal.
MGM went with a bare bones release, providing a theatrical trailer as the only extra. This is unfortunate because on the Elite laserdisc and the Anchor Bay VHS release of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 there are a number of deleted scenes from the film that are included as supplements. The deleted scenes consit of the "homecoming massacre", some extra footage in the "family" van and the Joe Bob Briggs cameo. Why MGM chose not to put the supplements on is beyond me. I would imagine that since they own the rights to the film now they would also have rights to the deleted scenes. We're not talking about a missing commentary track or anything, which definitely would've belonged to Elite. But even if Elite does own the deleted scenes, we all know they'd license them out. This is a case of MGM either being too cheap or, if they actually do own those deleted scenes, it's MGM being typical MGM and not providing the fans what they want.
Normally I'd give a DVD that has a theatrical trailer for an extra a grade rating of C, meaning it's satisfactory. But this time around I'm going to go with a D rating, mainly because MGM could've gotten those deleted scenes one way or the other. But the sad fact is they chose not to, disappointing many fans.
Movie itself was disappointing, especially as a sequel to one of the greatest horror films of all time. Video quality was poor - there definitely should've been a new, anamorphic transfer for this DVD. Sound quality was acceptable, but nothing spectacular. Most disappointing is MGM's decision to not include the deleted scenes that are found on the Elite Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 laserdisc. Fans of the film should keep their eyes on Ebay, where they can get a higher quality presentation WITH extras by buying the past Elite laserdisc or Anchor Bay VHS of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Not only will you get a better value for your money, you'll get better cover art too (tell me this cover art isn't horrible compared to the theatrical picture). Definitely a poor job done by MGM on this one.
Movie - C
Image Quality - C
Sound - B
Supplements - D
- Running time - 1 hour 40 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- English Dolby Digital Stereo surround sound
- French and Spanish subtitles