The murderous, cannibalistic Sawyer family is at it again, carving up yuppies and winning chili contests. Obsessed Texas Ranger Dennis Hopper is tracking them down, hoping for a final chainsaw duel. DJ Caroline Williams tries to help out, attracting the attention of the Sawyers, and, as it turns out, the puppy love of Leatherface.
Any follow-up to Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece is a fool’s endeavour. That said, this effort, by the man himself, is leaps and bounds beyond the other sequel… and the pretty-but-pointless remake. Rather than try to recapture the original’s intensity (an impossible task), Hooper and screenwriter L.M. Kit Carson opted for bloody comedy. There is infinitely more gore than the original, but it is also completely unrealistic and impossible to take seriously. As a blood comedy, the film was beaten soundly a few months later by Evil Dead 2, but there is much by way of cheerfully perverse absurdity here.
The technical team behind this disc didn’t pull any muscles here: the sound is merely 2.0. Still, it’s a fine enough example of that to get by. The environmental effects are solid, with plenty of mayhem roaring out of all speakers. The score, a great big slice of cheesy 80’s synth, does well on the mix. The dialogue is occasionally overmodulated, but not in any consistently irritating fashion.
As reviled a decade as the 80’s are, were colours back then all wrong too? That’s the impression one gets as the oranges, reds and greens are too strong, bathing the print with neon artificiality. The contrasts, though are good, as are the blacks. The image is a bit soft, and there is some minor grain. One could hope for a nicer looking transfer, then, but one has definitely seen worse as well.
There are two commentary tracks. The first is by Tobe Hooper, being interviewed by documentarian David Gregory, and is quite engaging. The second reunites stars Williams, Bill Mosely (Chop-Top) and make-up god Tom Savini. They’re all having a good time but there is much silliness too. There are five deleted scenes, mostly of the Sawyers’ rampage against yuppies. This is valuable footage, but it is in such rough shape as to be almost unwatchable (think about the worst bootleg VHS you ever saw, and you’ll have the right idea). The real treat is “Ir Runs in the Family,” a six-part, 75-minute documentary that looks back at the film from conception to reception, warts and all. Of note is how Leatherface actor Bill Johnson comes across as the most soft-spoken, gentle man in the world. The theatrical trailer is joined by six still galleries: “Behind-the-Scenes,” “ Home Video and Soundtrack Covers,” “Lobby Cards,” “Official Stills,” “Promo Materials,” and “Special Effects Behind-the-Scenes.”
As everyone involved admits, the film is far from perfect. But it is far from bad, too, and worth the special edition.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- “It Runs in the Family” 6-Part Documentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Still Galleries
- Theatrical Trailer