The Texas Chainsaw Massacre needs no introduction
Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic is one of the greatest horror films of all time and one of my personal favorite films. Despite the film’s reputation, however, the source of the film’s horror isn’t its gore. It’s not a gory film, in fact the filmmakers famously only used two pints of blood. But the film feels more violent and brutal than it actually is, and a big reason is it’s mood. For years, I’ve been resistant to upgrading my copy of Texas Chainsaw Massacre because I felt the film was at it’s best screened of an old, beat-up VHS tape, or a 16mm film reel like how it was shot. The grit and grime of a tape enhances the film’s atmosphere, making the heat, Texas fields, and the Sawyer house feel rough and uncompromising. I was always concerned that upgrading the film would make it look too clean and polished. I had the opportunity to see Dark Sky Film’s 4K restoration of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and was impressed, as their upgrade maintained the film’s grit while making the film engaging for modern 4K UHD TV screens.
Right off the bat, the 4K Disc maintains the grain of the original 16mm negatives, so the film’s dilapidated atmosphere is unaffected. Most of the film’s clean up attempts include a boost in the film’s primary color saturation and hues, along with deeper blacks and browns. The film still looks nasty but focused and detailed enough to be presentable on modern TVs. The improved sound mixing was particularly impressive, as the new mix enhances the uncomfortably sharp, almost industrial soundtrack. Plus, every scratch and crack feel more real, adding to the film’s immersion. The release also contains a number of interesting extras and documentaries, including a new documentary “The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and “The Cinefamily Presents FRIEDKIN/HOOPER,” featuring a conversation between Tobe Hooper and William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, The French Connection, Sorcerer, Cruising, and Killer Joe.
For fans like myself who keep using The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as an excuse to not toss a 30 year old VHS player, the Dark Sky Films 4K release is a must get. The transfer captures the terrifyingly brutal mood of the original film while presenting the film in a more immersive way. For those who have never seen the horror classic, the Dark Sky Films’ 4K release is the best introduction to Texas Chainsaw Massacre to date.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4K release is now available.