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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    94
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • New 4K release of Texas Chain Saw Massacre impresses with enhanced visuals, audio, and bonus features. Highly recommended.

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    90
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre's 4K HDR upgrade offers authentic, if not perfect, visual quality, preserving its gritty aesthetic while enhancing clarity, color, and contrast for a better viewing experience despite inherent film limitations.

  • Audio
    94
  • The audio options, including DTS-HD and Dolby Atmos mixes, offer a rich, authentic experience for purists and modern listeners alike, despite a few absences.

  • Extra
    97
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s 4K release dazzles with a nicely designed package, featuring enriching new and archival bonuses, including detailed commentaries and documentaries, though lacking a Blu-ray or digital copy.

  • Movie
    93
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a horror masterpiece with enduring influence, receives a superior 4K upgrade, reflecting its grungy, visceral horror and cultural impact.

    Video: 90

    Analyzing the video presentation of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" on 4K UHD Blu-Ray offers a complex perspective, primarily due to the film's original shooting conditions and intended aesthetic. Shot on 16mm film using Bolex HR 16 and Eclair ACL16 cameras and later enlarged to a 35mm format for theatrical distribution, the inherent graininess and imperfections of the source material have always been a crucial part of its gritty charm. The 4K restoration, sourced from the original 16mm camera negative and presented in a proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio, maintains this authenticity while significantly enhancing picture quality. The introduction of HDR10 and Dolby Vision grading enriches the visual experience by deepening black levels and enhancing color richness, especially in red hues. Despite these improvements, there's a deliberate preservation of the film's foundational rawness, ensuring that the upgrade enhances rather than detracts from the original vision.

    This new video presentation shines in its ability to juggle the intricate balance between upgrading video quality and retaining the film's intentionally rough aesthetic. Notably, the Dolby Vision HDR implementation dazzles with its contrast adjustments, refining the interplay between light and dark scenes without losing detail in the shadows or overexposing highlights. The color gamut's expansion brings new life to the film's visuals, presenting more vibrant greens, vivid reds, and realistic flesh tones that draw viewers deeper into the horror unfolding on screen. The grain structure, while dense, appears natural and filmic, avoiding unnecessary digital noise that could have compromised the organic feel of the footage.

    However, it's not without its imperfections. Some scenes exhibit minor issues with noise artifacting and occasional overpowering white levels, particularly in brighter outdoor sequences, hinting at the limitations of even the most sophisticated restoration efforts dealing with challenging source material. Despite these nuances, the overall clarity and detail seen in elements like the iconic Leatherface mask and the eerie interiors of the Sawyer house signify a remarkable improvement over previous home video releases. This updated presentation underscores a careful consideration of the film’s historical and stylistic context, making it arguably the best version of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" available on home media, for purists and new viewers alike.

    Audio: 94

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" 4K UHD Blu-Ray offers a selection of audio mixes that cater to a diverse audience, ensuring both purists and those seeking a modern listening experience are well-satisfied. The release features an English Dolby Atmos track, alongside DTS-HD Master Audio tracks in 7.1, 2.0 stereo, and 1.0 mono configurations, providing a comprehensive auditory experience. While the omission of the DTS-HD 5.1 mix previously available on the MPI's 40th Anniversary Edition is noted, the inclusion of both original and contemporary mixes—especially the Dolby Atmos option—offers a well-rounded audio package. The Atmos track, in particular, enriches the soundstage with additional height and weight, offering an immersive experience though it sometimes might overpower the film's original documentary-style feel.

    The technical execution of these audio options showcases an impressive range. The 7.1 and Atmos mixes broaden the spread of sound effects and the score, enhancing scenes with dynamic panning, such as vehicles moving across the screen, without compromising on the clarity of stereo and mono presentations for those favoring authenticity. Dialogue is handled with care, maintaining clarity through the center channel, albeit with a roughness that nods to the film's age and stylistic intentions. The sound design leverages the Atmos configuration to elevate certain effects, like footsteps on wood, adding a layer of realism that enhances the terror and atmosphere.

    Despite the aggressive nature of the newer sound mixes, which might occasionally feel overemphasized for some tastes, the array of options ensures listeners can experience the film's audio in a manner that best suits their preferences. Whether opting for the meticulously restored mono track for a classic viewing or immersing oneself in the gripping realism provided by Dolby Atmos, the audio presentation of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" 4K UHD Blu-Ray remains faithful to its roots while embracing modern audio advancements, striking a commendable balance between authenticity and innovation in its audio representation.

    Extra: 97

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" offers an impressive array of extra features that cater both to fans who have meticulously followed the film's previous editions and newcomers exploring its legendary status for the first time. Spread across two discs, the set not only retains the insightful and entertaining audio commentaries featuring key cast and crew but also introduces significant new content. Noteworthy among these additions are "The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," a feature-length documentary that brings in voices from within and outside the film's original circle to shed light on its enduring impact, and "Friedkin/Hooper: A Conversation about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," providing an intimate dialogue between two giants of horror filmmaking. While the omission of certain previously released scenes and outtakes might disappoint some, the overall package remains a definitive exploration of one of horror cinema's most influential titles, all presented in a visually appealing steelbook case that misses out on including a Blu-ray or digital copy of the film.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary #1: Featuring production designer Robert Burns, actors Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, and Paul A. Partain.
    • Audio Commentary #2: Roundtable chat with writer-producer-director Tobe Hooper, actor Gunnar Hansen, and cinematographer Daniel Pearl.
    • Audio Commentary #3: Solo track with Tobe Hooper.
    • Audio Commentary #4: Includes cinematographer Daniel Pearl, editor J. Larry Carroll, and sound recordist Ted Nicolaou.
    • The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: A feature-length documentary offering a retrospective of the film from multiple vantage points.
    • Friedkin/Hooper: A Conversation about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: A unique Q&A session between filmmaker William Friedkin and director Tobe Hooper.
    • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth: A comprehensive documentary on the film’s production.
    • Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of the Saw: An in-depth look at the making of the film through various perspectives.
    • A Tour of the TCSM House with Gunnar Hansen: Gunnar Hansen provides a guided tour of the iconic house.
    • Off the Hook with Teri McMinn: An interview with actress Teri McMinn.
    • The Business of Chain Saw: An interview with production manager Ron Bozman.
    • Deleted Scenes & Outtakes: A collection of previously seen clips from various releases.
    • Grandpa's Tales: An interview with actor John Dugan.
    • Cutting Chain Saw: An interview with editor J. Larry Carroll.
    • Blooper Reel: Light-hearted outtakes from the filming.
    • Outtakes from The Shocking Truth: Additional footage not used in the main documentary.
    • Horror's Hallowed Grounds: TCSM: A tour of the film’s shooting locations.
    • Dr. W.E. Barnes Presents Making Grandpa: A look into the makeup design for Grandpa.
    • Still Gallery: A collection of stills from the film and behind the scenes.
    • Theatrical and 40th Anniversary Trailers
    • TV and Radio Spots

    Movie: 93

    Tobe Hooper's "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," a seminal work in the horror genre, has been introduced to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format by MPI/Dark Sky Films, embodying an improvement over previous home video releases, notably transcending the issues encountered in the 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray. The film's notoriety for its stark, grungy portrayal of horror, coupled with a meticulous restoration and encoding process, ensures that this transfer supersedes its predecessors in both fidelity and authenticity. Despite competition from other remastered editions, this 4K release stands out for its dedication to preserving the film’s raw, unmitigated terror and the deranged imagery that has cemented its legacy as a cornerstone of horror cinema.

    The narrative, rooted in the gruesome ordeal of five friends in rural Texas, unfolds with an unsettling realism accentuated by the 4K makeover. The visual enhancements bring a new level of immersion to the foreboding atmosphere and Leatherface’s bone-chilling presence. Particularly, Kirk's demise emerges as a pivotal moment, emblematic of the film’s approach to horror—unflinching and unapologetically brutal. Beyond the shock value, this release accentuates the film's commentary on isolation and societal decay, underscoring the enduring relevance of its themes.

    Moreover, this version of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" excels in delivering a visceral viewing experience that mirrors the film’s intent to unsettle and provoke. The attention to detail in the 4K transfer respects the original’s gritty aesthetic while offering clarity that heightens the impact of its iconic scenes. The extras included add value for aficionados seeking a comprehensive understanding of its production and cultural significance. However, it’s the film itself, in its most visually arresting form yet, that remains the centerpiece—preserving its status as a masterpiece of horror that continues to horrify and fascinate audiences nearly fifty years after its release.

    Total: 94

    MPI/Dark Sky Films' release of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" on 4K UHD Blu-ray presents an interesting addition to the collection of home video releases for Tobe Hooper’s horror masterpiece. This edition corrects previous issues with video compression and audio tracks found in the 40th Anniversary Edition, notably improving upon the film's presentation with the inclusion of HDR10/Dolby Vision. Additionally, it introduces a few new bonus features to an already extensive collection, making it a compelling purchase for fans. Comparatively, while Turbine Medien and Second Sight may present more comprehensive packages with additional extras, Dark Sky's version stands out as a solid option for those seeking high quality without the higher price point, especially for domestic buyers.

    The release not only enhances the visual and audio experience of this classic horror film but also enriches the viewer's engagement through its vast array of both new and archival bonus materials. These extras delve deeply into the making of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," offering hours of content that explore the film's enduring impact and production secrets, which might have remained obscured without such a collection. This makes the package not just an improvement in technical presentation but a treasure trove for fans interested in the film's lore. Despite suggestions that this may not be the definitive version, especially with Second Sight's anticipated release on the horizon, Dark Sky's edition is an excellent option for those wanting to experience the film in a newfound clarity and depth.

    In conclusion, Dark Sky Films' 4K UHD Blu-ray of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" represents a significant upgrade over previous editions, providing an optimal balance between cost and quality. It corrects past technical oversights and enriches the viewing experience with a plethora of bonus content that fans old and new will appreciate. While it may not be the last word on the film's home video legacy, it's a highly recommended option that honors the legacy of Tobe Hooper's groundbreaking work, ensuring that the horror classic remains as brutal, convincing, and essential viewing as it was over 40 years ago.