The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is sort of the sequel you get when you give the director of the grindhouse original some resources, but not really because it’s still Cannon Films. Even with Cannon, it’s clearly more resources than Tobe Hooper had on the 16mm original.
On Blu-ray the sequel looks like a polished studio film, which is automatically a very different effect than the original which seemed like a snuff film you shouldn’t be watching. The set of the Sawyer family cave is magnificent and you can see all the detail on Blu-ray. Even the original transfer on disc two looks good. The big difference is you see dirt and scratches on that transfer, so that’s like watching an old film print restored. The new transfer is cleaned up to modern standards.
The new commentary with the cinematographer, production designer, script supervisor and prop master suggests a Big Short type of movie exposing all the Cannon shenanigans. I don’t know if they saw Electric Boogaloo but that wasn’t good enough. The script supervisor Laura Kooris credits Dennis Hopper with remembering details like on which line he exhaled the cigarette on. What a pro. There is a lot of talk about the Austin film community back in the ‘80s which is nice to hear about. And it turns out Kathy Bates was a big Texas Chainsaw 2 fan!
Behind the scenes footage from Tom Savini’s archives is a VHS quality real inside look at how practical effects are made. The standout to me was that someone had a baby in Savini’s studio while they were making up gore. It didn’t phase the baby one bit.
Further behind the scenes material on disc two exposes how the crew made up Bill Mosely and they didn’t get around to shooing him that day. They laugh it off, but that’s so inefficient. Some of the featurettes include third generation VHS dubs of deleted scenes including some fun Leatherface gore. The Horrors Hallowed Grounds episode means more to me because Sean Clark is walking around modern day Austin, a place I consider my second home, so I get a tad homesick.
Tobe Hooper does not give a new interview. It’s surprising, but his crew give a complete picture of the production.