Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 18th, 2014
BluRay released: September 16th, 2014
Approximate running time: 84 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 7.1 English, DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Stereo English, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
BluRay Release: Dark Sky Films
Region Coding: Region A / Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $49.98
Synopsis: A group of teenagers en route to visit one of their friends grandfathers grave. They soon run out of gas and are unable to get any tell the station opens in the morning. One of boys decides to go looking for some gas and what he finds is the home of leather face. One by one they start to disappear as they try to find out where their missing friends went.
Tobe Hopper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most frightening movies ever made. Its power to send chills down your spine is even more impressive when one considers that most of the violence is implied or off screen. Hopper with Texas Chainsaw Massacre uses the more is less technique that had been so masterfully executed in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho. The plot for Texas Chainsaw Massacre is overlooked by many as being simple when upon closer inspection one can clearly see the deeper subtext that Hooper cleverly injects in a subtle way.
Tobe Hooper’s direction is nothing short of masterful as he sets up many classic horror set pieces that over the years have since been borrowed by countless filmmakers. The acting while not the films strongest asset it is more then adequate with a tour de force performance from Gunnar Hanson as Leather Face. Hanson perfectly captures the primal and child-like facets of the cold blooded killer known as Leather Face. When talking the lasting impact of Texas Chainsaw Massacre one must never overlook in invaluable contribution of Cinematographer Daniel Pearl whose combination of shadow and light vividly set the nihilistic mood of the film.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. A brand new 4k master was created for this release and for a film shot on a limited budget and on 16mm stock forty years ago, the end result is astonishing. Details look sharp, black and contrast levels look strong throughout and colors look nicely saturated. When it comes to grain structure things always look natural. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression. Overall as good as Dark Sky’s previous Blu-Ray looked, this one exceeds that one on every way and then some.
This release comes with four audio mixes, DTS-HD 7.1 mix in English, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix English, a DTS-HD stereo mix English and DTS-HD mono mix English. All four audio mixes sound great as dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Of course for many the film’s mono track will be the way to go since it best replicates the way the film sounded when it was first released. Then there is the DTS-HD 7.1 mix created for this release and though I am not that fond of mono remixes. The newly created mix sounds amazing. Also included with this release are two subtitle options, English and Spanish.
Extras on disc one include four audio commentaries, the first audio commentary is with Actor Gunnar Hansen, Cinematographer Daniel Pearl and Director Tobe Hooper. This audio commentary is one of best I have ever heard as all three men fill every moment with insightful comments that add deeper meaning to the film. This audio commentary track was ported over from Elite’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre DVD. The second audio commentary is with Actress Marilyn Burns, Actors Paul A. Partain and Allen Danziger and Production Designer Robert A. Burns. This audio commentary while not as interesting the first audio commentary included with this release does provide many great stories about the making of this film.
The third audio commentary which is brand new recorded for this release is will Tobe Hooper and Moderator David Gregory. The Fourth audio commentary which is also making its debut for this release is with Daniel Pearl, Editor J. Larry Carroll, Sound Recordist Ted Nicolaou and Moderator David Gregory. Though these two audio commentaries cover topics that are covered in the first two audio commentaries. They are a more then welcome addition as they provide new stories and insight into the various areas of this production.
Extras on disc two include T.V. and radio spots, an image gallery, Dr. W.E. Barnes presents ‘Making Grandpa’ this extra is a still galley that shows the progression of the makeup as it is put on, a blooper reel (2 minutes 22 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio / standard definition), three trailers, the 40th anniversary trailer (1 minute 38 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen) and the running times for the two other trailers (1 minute 43 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio / standard definition) and (1 minute 31 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio / standard definition), new deleted scenes and outtakes (15 minutes 7 seconds – 1080 progressive 1.33:1 aspect ratio, footage silent) and a tour of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre house with Gunner Hansen (8 minutes 3 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio / standard definition).
Other extras include a featurette titled ‘The Business of Chain Saw: An Interview with Production Manager Ron Bozman’ (16 minutes 27 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio / standard definition) who discusses his role in making this film, a featurette about the locations featured in this film titled ‘Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: TCSM’ (20 minutes 19 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio / standard definition), a featurette titled ‘Cutting Chain Saw: An Interview with Editor J. Larry Carroll’ (10 minutes 47 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen) and a featurette titled ‘Off the Hook with Teri McMinn’ (17 minutes 2 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen), two documentaries, the first one titled ‘Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of the Saw’ (71 minutes 42 seconds – anamorphic widescreen / standard definition) and the second one titled ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth’ (72 minutes 49 seconds – letterboxed widescreen / standard definition) and outtakes from the ‘The Shocking Truth’ (7 minutes 40 seconds – 1.33:1 aspect ratio / standard definition).
Also included as part of this combo release are two DVD’s which include that same contents that are present on the two Blu-Ray’s. Overall The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has never looked or sounded better than it does for this exceptional release that also comes with a wealth of extra content, highly recommended.