The original was a masterpiece, and a bloody tough act to follow, but this really sickeningly terrifying horror sequel is almost as good.
When a man is murdered whilst taking part in a radio phone-in, Police officer Dennis Hopper convinces DJ and journalist Caroline Williams to use it as bait to catch the perpetrators. But they get to Caroline before he can catch them, and our lovely radio presenter is put through perhaps one of the most gruelling onscreen ordeals ever filmed.
The first film was truly shocking, though had surprisingly little detail in terms of blood and gore. This has more gore and special effects, but it doesn’t fail on the shock factor. Many of the stronger moments are not just nasty, but deeply upsetting. These scenes feature characters committing sadistic and virulent acts of torture, terrorisation and violence, but our sympathies stay with our brave and feisty heroine. We want her to survive, and are actively repulsed at what Leatherface and his family do to her.
The gory action leads to a devastating homage to the famous dinner table scene from director Tobe Hooper’s first Chainsaw film, but on a grander, more colourful scale. Everything is bigger and nastier. And it works terrifyingly well.
A note on the disc: The UK Region 2 DVD release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a bit of a disappointment. In terms of aspect ratio, the disc is a disaster. For some reason, it preserves the film in a (correct) widescreen ratio but forces it into a non-negotiable 4:3 frame. The image quality isn’t wonderful either, although some of the brighter lit scenes show off the colours of the film rather nicely. If you really want to see the film in all its brilliant glory, I’d recommend you watch it on Sky Movies HD. It is currently available in high definition widescreen via its Anytime+ service. It looks magnificent.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), directed by Tobe Hooper, is distributed on DVD in the UK by MGM and Twentieth Century Fox, Certificate 18. Viewers may wish to read more about the content of the film at www.bbfc.co.uk.