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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (4K Blu-ray Review)

4 min read

Second Sight

The 4K Blu-ray – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, where an idyllic summer afternoon drive, becomes a nightmare.

Few films are as iconic, with such a reputation as this one. With sequels, remakes and homages up the wazoo, it's a cultural behemoth that is rarely matched.

Many of us got our first viewing on a grainy VHS or cheaply produced DVD. Before the days of boutique labels lovingly remastering these types of films it was easy to dismiss them as classless, artless video nasties. Designed for those depraved movie fans, and kids who wanted to watch them to defy their parents.

But Texas Chain Saw is different. The first horror film with a true final girl, the first to feature teenagers, and far more artfully directed than you'd expect. You can see why Ti West used it as the inspiration for last year's X. Especially when viewed in 4K.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4K UHD

There are flaws of course, this is a film that is nearly 50 years old. It was shot on a low budget by sophomore filmmaker . As such there is some ableism – the character in a wheelchair, Franklin (Paul A. Partain) is terrible. And some transphobia, as Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) wears a woman's face in the same vein as Norman Bates and Buffalo Bill – thanks to Ed Gein for that legacy.

But if you can look beyond that there is a mastery in it's direction. The lack of budget forced Hooper to use all the tricks in the book to create the illusion of gore in what is surprisingly a fairly bloodless movie. We all think we have seen Pam (Teri McMinn) slowly lowered onto a meat hook, but watch it again. Same with the other deaths, they are all suggested and implied, with the true fear coming from the relentless sound of the chainsaw. Some of the images used are so chilling that they are unforgettable, the red room cut off by a sliding metal door, the dining table surrounded by the scariest family we've ever seen, and the great hulking form of Leatherface himself.

Our final girl, Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) is underdeveloped and spends a hell of a lot of time screaming. But she is relentless in her determination to survive, with the last few minutes having her pursuers so close that it genuinely feels she will be caught at any second.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4K UHD
Second Sight

This features an enormous collection of bonus features. There has been so much discourse on this film that there is of course plenty to choose from and it feels as though Second Sight has found pretty much all of it. The highlight for long term fans is possible the new documentary The Legacy of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, feature length with interviews from modern directors, including those who have made many of the sequels and remakes, film critics and horror experts. It examines the longevity of the film and what has made it remain relevant, various theories around what it “means”, and the many urban legends around the making of it.

There are numerous commentaries, older documentaries, archived interviews and a video essay from Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on the use of masks in horror cinema. It's all of a high quality and essential for any fan of not just the film but the genre.

Once again though, Second Sight have not added subtitles to their bonus features. In terms of accessibility, not just for those who are hard of hearing but have auditory processing issues, they would be incredibly helpful and welcomed in future releases. Especially as their self produced documentary has music over the background of much of the speech, which can make it particularly difficult to follow.

Overall this set is likely to be what fans of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre have been waiting for.

Special Features 

  • Three-disc edition – One UHD and two Blu-rays with bonus features on both formats
  • A new presentation featuring additional restoration work
  • UHD presented in Dolby Vision HDR produced by Second Sight Films
  • Audio tracks include new Dolby Atmos, stereo and restored original mono mix produced by Second Sight Films
  • New Audio commentary by Amanda Reyes and Bill Ackerman
  • Audio commentary with Writer-Producer-Director Tobe Hooper
  • Audio commentary with Cinematographer Daniel Pearl, Editor J. Larry Carroll, Sound Recordist Ted Nicolaou
  • Audio commentary with Writer-Producer-Director Tobe Hooper, Cinematographer Daniel Pearl, Actor Gunnar Hansen
  • Audio commentary with Actors Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger and Paul A. Partain, and Art Director Robert A. Burns
  • The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – a new feature length documentary produced by Second Sight Films
  • Behind The Mask: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  • The Shocking Truth documentary, plus outtakes
  • Cutting Chain Saw with Editor J. Larry Carroll
  • Granpaw's Tales with Actor John Dugan
  • Horror's Hallowed Grounds
  • Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of The Saw
  • Off The Hook with Actor Teri McMinn
  • The Business of Chain Saw with Production Manager Ron Bozman
  • House Tour with Actor Gunnar Hansen
  • Tobe Hooper interview
  • Kim Henkel interview
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Trailers
  • TV and Radio Spots
  • Stills Gallery

Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with original classic artwork
  • 190-page hardback book with new essays by ​​Heather Buckley, Tim Coleman, Martyn Conterio, Miranda Corcoran, Heather Drain, Lee Gambin, Caden Mark Gardner, Lindsay Hallam, Cerise Howard, Kimberly Lindbergs, Annie Rose Malamet, Maitland McDonagh, Neil Mitchell, Jerome Reuter and Robert Skvarla, illustrated by Adam Stothard
  • 6 collectors' art cards illustrated by Adam Stothard
  • Exclusive 3 additional art cards when ordering direct from Second Sight, while stocks last

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is released on 4K and Blu-ray from Second Sight on the 10th of April