When Scream Factory announced their collector’s edition release for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, there were horror fans that wondered if it was necessary. After all, the film had gotten a good special edition DVD set in 2006, complete with cinematographer-supervised transfer and feature-length documentary, that was later upgraded to an equally nice 2012 blu-ray reissue. However, Scream Factory have put some excellent work into their new set, collecting the past extras and the older transfer and adding a new transfer plus even more extras to create a 2 blu-ray package that gives fans more of a good thing. A lot more.
For starters, this set includes the 2006 transfer approved by cinematographer Richard Kooris as well as a new 2K transfer taken from the interpositive film element. The new transfer was used for this review and it looks gorgeous, bringing depth to the frequent night photography and dark interiors while also bringing out the color and detail: check out Mondo Digital’s comprehensive review of multiple TCM2 editions for more on its HD history. Both 5.1 and 2.0 lossless stereo mixes are provided for each transfer. The 5.1 mix was used for this review and it offers a well-blended mix with good surround use of music (and chainsaw buzz).
Fans will be happy to know the 2006 editions are carried over and fleshed out with a fistful of new bonus goodies, all spread out over the set’s two fully-loaded blu-rays. Without further adieu, here’s a tour of this set’s bounty of supplemental material…
Commentary 1: This pairs director Tobe Hooper with moderator David Gregory. Hooper is his usual low-key self here as he touches on the whirlwind nature of the production, his satirical inspirations and a number of scene-specific memories. He’s particularly good when talking about the cast and Gregory does solid work keeping him primed with interesting questions.
Commentary 2: Actors Caroline Williams and Bill Moseley join FX designer Tom Savini and moderator Michael Felsher on this boisterous track. Not much moderation is needed here as the three main participants spin off an array of scene-specific factoids about locations, onscreen people and the challenges of different scenes as they talk and joke their way through the film. Good listening for fans who want to get a “you are there” perspective on the film’s shoot.
Commentary 3: This track provides the crews’-eye perspective via the recollections of D.P. Richard Kooris, production designer Cary White, prop master Michael Sullivan and script supervisor Laura Kooris. There are lots of tales of photographic and design challenges the film presented plus reflections on working with Hooper, whom they all loved, and the cast. They also speak frankly about the pressure-cooker atmosphere created by Cannon’s painfully short schedule and editing demands.
It Runs In The Family Extended Outtakes (29:37): Both L.M. Kit Carson and actor Lou Perryman have passed on since the 2006 special edition was done so their memory is honored here by the inclusion of extensive outtakes from their 2006 interview sessions. Carson has all sorts of interesting details to share from all phases of the sequel’s production while Perryman has some fun tales of dealing with makeup effects and even a few stories from the production of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Behind The Scenes Footage (43:35): a generous selection of material from Tom Savini’s on-set camcorder, showing the work involved in the character makeups and how a few key gore effects were staged. You also get to see Hooper in action on the set, having fun directing despite the pressure of the shoot.
Deleted Scenes (10:57): a few notable trims included in video workprint form. The highlights are a massacre of yuppie football fans, including a great head-splitting effect, and Joe Bob Brigg’s unused cameo.
Additional Disc 1 Extras: six image galleries, a pair of trailers, seven t.v. spots and an alternate opening credits sequence with a different soundtrack cue.
House Of Pain (42:32): a new featurette about the makeup FX taken from interviews with FX assistants John Vulich, Gino Crognale, Bart Mixon and Gabe Bartalos. They reveal how they got their jobs with Savini and reveal him to be a boss who was not only kind but trusted them all with artistic responsibility. From there, they get to discuss the different effects and character makeups in great detail. It’s an excellent supplement to the FX-oriented material in It Runs In The Family and horror fans will love it.
Yuppie Meat (18:59): a dual interview piece highlighting Chris Douridas and Barry Kinyon, the two actors who played the yuppies dispatched in the film’s opening scene. Kinyon was actor who stumbled into acting on this film while Douridas was a radio pro who dabbled in acting. Both have plenty of neat scene-specific stories, particularly those about the special effects, and some nice memories of Savini and Hooper.
Cutting Moments (17:19): an interview with editor Alain Jakubowicz, who reveals how he became a key editor for Cannon Films and how his eleventh-hour work on Invaders From Mars earned him the editing gig on Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. He talks about how he and Hooper bonded over the comedy in the film and used that to drive their approach to cutting the film.
Behind The Mask (13:48): a quick chat with stuntman Bob Elmore, who was the double for Leatherface in the film. He reveals how he moved from stunts to doubling in a variety of other scenes in the film involving the chainsaw. He also says some interesting things about Hooper’s intensity on the set.
Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (24:33): This episode of Sean Clark’s ongoing location-visit series offers a neat insight into how some settings were stitched together from multiple locations and, sadly, just how many locations are gone today. There’s also a quick cameo from Williams.
It Runs In The Family (1:21:41): the classic feature-length documentary on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 that Michael Felsher helmed back in 2006. Many key cast and crew members are involved as it explores the film’s history via specific sections devoted to the writing, the cast, the effects, etc. The vignette style allows it to go deep, particularly on the actors’ different styles and how the production transformed film production in Austin. In short, a must-see for any fan and a perfect way to close this set.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, click here.