Bluray Review: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 40th Anniversary 4-Disc Collector’s Edition Bluray

Dark Sky Films' 40th Anniversary 4-disc Collector's Edition

Dark Sky Films’ 40th Anniversary 4-disc Collector’s Edition

We’ve all experienced THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE in different ways. For some of us, it came later in life (my embarrassing introduction to the original film can be read here) and for some it was an odd yet interesting experience (during our interview with Bill Moseley a while back, he mentioned seeing it as a double feature with ENTER THE DRAGON). Whatever situation you went through while seeing Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece, one thing cannot be denied: it’s a film that is unparalleled by any other film. A rare perfect film, full of performances that were given under the worst conditions possible, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE has not lost a single amount of its edge over the 40 years that have passed since it’s 1974 release. During a recent celebration of the film’s milestone anniversary, Icons’ head honcho Rob G. wrote an event report that showed just how revered the film still is, and gave readers a glimpse into what was special about Dark Sky Films’ new 4K, 5.1 sound restoration. Now that Dark Sky has unleashed three different editions of the film onto Bluray, we thought we’d jump in to see how it holds up, and what differences there are from the countless other releases of the film.

THE FILM: We’ve all seen countless releases of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE throughout the years, so what could be so special with this set, so different than what we’ve already seen? Well, plenty. The 4K restoration looks wonderful, without overdoing like other Bluray releases of classic horror films. Anchor Bay’s 2007 Bluray release of HALLOWEEN made the film look like it was filmed today, looking a bit too cleaned up and glossy, which is not the case with this TCM release. The colors are just as dry yet vibrant as ever, but the restoration doesn’t take all of the grain and grimy-like tone of the film away, still feeling like the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE that we all love and cherish.

What still stands out so much about the film itself, is how it never once feels like the same ol’. It’s a horror film that just never bites softer, it still packs the same brutal, lasting punch that it always has. When Leatherface appears and hits Kirk in the head, it still punches you in the gut, and with the new 5.1 sound that gut-punch hits twice as hard. Like Rob said in his event report, the sound mix is the real standout in this edition, and it really is that: a standout. Having watched the film about a couple of hundred times, I’ve never experienced the poor fates of basically everyone in the film, with such audio intensity. It just sounds well, to put it bluntly, fucking awesome. Everything from the pig sounds to the chainsaw-fueled ending, it sounds like a brand new film (in a good way) and when the saw revs, it FUCKING REVS. Just the 5.1 sound is reason enough to pick this one up, but..that’s not the only part of the set that scores well.

TCM 40th Bluray


The release does cart over a few special features from the previous release, such as the spectacular documentary, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Shocking Truth, as well as a few others, but there is quite a few new gems for fans who are looking for some new chainsaw loving (wait, that wouldn’t come until TCM 2, right?).  Two brand new commentaries, one with Director Tobe Hooper himself, and one with Cinematographer Daniel Pearl (who also shot the remake), Editor J. Larry Carroll and Sound Recordist Ted Nicolaou. The commentaries are pretty entertaining, the Pearl/Carroll/Nicolaou one being the better of the two.

Also packed into the set, are special features like Sean Clark’s Horror’s Hollowed Grounds episode for TCM, a blooper reel, brand new deleted scenes and outtakes, and the highlight of the special features for me: the couple of interviews with “Grandpa” John Dugan, production manager Ron Bozman, and J. Larry Carroll. The Dugan interview is so much fun to watch, as he doesn’t do the typical holding back that people tend to do in interviews, he drops f-bombs left and right, gives hilarious and also endearing stories about the filming of the movie, and just really stands out.

If you’re a fan of Leatherface and his exploits, this is a set well worth the price (which isn’t too expensive actually). the 4-Disc doesn’t include the cardboard truck, the apron, or the Hooper/Friedkin conversation that the next step up “Black Maria” edition does, but with four discs (2 Blu’s, 2 DVD’s), it’s definitely a set for collector’s or even just big fans.

3 Responses to “Bluray Review: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 40th Anniversary 4-Disc Collector’s Edition Bluray”
  1. maxruehl says:

    I think Bill Moseley might be mistaken about the other film in the double-bill being Enter The Dragon. It was more likely Return Of The Dragon–the same pairing I saw in a Times Square theater in 1974. Return Of The Dragon was, like TCM, a Bryanston Pictures release, whereas Enter The Dragon was a Warner Bros picture. Just thought I’d mention that in the interest of accuracy. 🙂

    • SMITH says:

      There isn’t a chance that a double feature in Boston at an old grimy theater could have been different than one in NY?

      • maxruehl says:

        I suppose it’s possible, but it seems more likely that one Bryanston release would have been paired with another, rather than with one from Warner Bros.

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