The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: The Gruesome Edition Tobe Hooper

It seems convenient for the studio to capitalise on the recent theatrical prequel or the ultimate issuing of the original film on DVD. Makes sense, but re-examining this tardy sequel in its "Gruesome Edition” proves just how underappreciated this film is in the horror genre. Released 12 years after the original re-established the horror film, this anarchic, nutty continuation finds the dysfunctional, murderous family relocated to a new terrifying home. Hot on their trail is chainsaw-wielding Texas Ranger Lefty Enright (a perfectly madcap Dennis Hopper) and local DJ Stretch (the screamy Caroline Williams), who believe they can take down the cannibalistic Sawyers. Unlike the original’s very subtle sense of humour, TCM2 is black comedy at its most sadistic: the crotchety cook (Jim Siedow, the only actor from the original) wins a chilli cook-off using human meat, yuppies get diced in their Mercedes coupe, there’s a chainsaw duel between Leatherface and Lefty, and then there’s Chop Top (The Devil’s Rejects’ Bill Moseley), a Vietnam-fried lunatic who derives sexual pleasure from scratching his metal plate with a heated coat hanger. This is sick but wildly entertaining stuff that is sharp in its attempts to link itself to the original’s standout traits. Hooper joins TCM documentarian David Gregory for a sedate but informative commentary. The director explains how the film’s delay worked because it found its own place, time and political fibre (symbolising the times by trading in hippies for yuppies), the original working title was Saw II and that the only legal place to buy human skeletons in the world is India! Additionally, they justify Tom Savini’s explicit gore — a big departure from the original’s lack of — as a sign of the ’80s when the horror film began its streak of nihilism. Featurette "It Runs in the Family” provides some insight into the film’s purpose and oddities in extreme detail with mixed results (Savini’s bit on the gore is a highlight). Plus: some poorly transferred deleted scenes, commentary, still gallery. (MGM / Fox)