Dark Sky Films has released multiple editions of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Tobe Hooper’s cult classic 1974 horror film that ushered in a new era of thriller entertainment in America. For this review I had the opportunity to dissect the 4-Disc Combo DigiPack, featuring 2 Blu-rays and 2 DVDs – 1 each with a remastered version of the film and heaping amounts of bonus material, in standard and hi-definition, to enjoy.
Having been shot 40 years ago on 16mm film stock, I was immediately impressed with this brand new, director-approved 4K restoration and 7.1 audio transfer. The care taken in completing the work shows, resulting in a sharp and rich presentation. The film doesn’t – and shouldn’t – look like a brand new movie, but it feels worth the money spent on the new edition, which far exceeds any previous home video release.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition contains multiple soundtrack options, including a fresh DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless version. The work here is also evident, creating an intense and high-octane atmosphere. The movie’s props and elements jump off the screen, mashing up incredible sound design into this new release.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre contains a wide array of bonus content spread across two discs. The set comes housed in a tri-fold DVD case-sized “Digipak” presentation with the Blu-ray discs in the middle section in a stacked-staggered formation and the DVDs on the other in the same configuration. Glossy artwork is included, as is a slipcover.
Bonus Material – Disc One
The real power of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition – and the reason to purchase either the Combo Set or Limited Edition – is in the release’s bonus material. Beginning with Disc One and it’s “Audio Commentaries.” Almost six hours worth of audio commentaries from director Tobe Hooper and the rest of the cast and crew reveal everything about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, how the film was made, along with previously unknown trivia from the set & post-production. Included in the four tracks, two of which are brand new, are: Track One: Filmmaker Tobe Hooper, Cinematrographer Daniel Pearl and Actor Gunnar Hansen. Track Two: Production Designer Robert Burns and Actors Allen Danziger, Marilyn Burns and Paul Partain. Track Three: Filmmaker Tobe Hooper. Track Four: Cinematographer Daniel Pearl, Sound Recordist Ted Nicolaou and Editor J. Larry Carroll.
Bonus Material – Disc Two
The Combo set includes a separate Disc for the remaining bonus features.
- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth is a retrospective documentary examining the story behind the movie and the people involved in creating it. Included are interviews with cast and crew that cover the new landscape of the Horror genre the film helped usher in, the difficult working conditions for the low-budget film, anecdotes from shooting the movie, makeup and effects creation, scoring and editing the picture, difficulties with censorship, and much more.
- Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of the Saw is lightly told documentary featuring Cinematographer Daniel Pearl discussing his career and his work on the film, Texas Chain Saw Massacre Fan Club President Tim Harden touring the movie’s iconic location, Actor Edwin Neal discussing his role in the movie, a memorial for the film’s deceased cast and crew, Gunnar Hansen discussing his life before and after making Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Dr. W.E. Barnes discussing his makeup, and a look at the film’s place at the Cinema Wasteland Convention.
- A Tour of the TCSM House with Gunnar Hansen features the star guiding viewers through the iconic house.
- Off the Hook with Teri McMinn showcases the actress reminiscing about her personal experiences making the movie.
- The Business of Chain Saw: An Interview with Production Manager Ron Bozman features Bozman discussing his work on the film, working with the chain saw as a prop, such as the demands of the job, legal disputes following the film’s release, life on the set, his career after shooting the movie, centering on his work on The Silence of the Lambs, and more.
- New Deleted Scenes & Outtakes presents a number of scenes presented silently because of missing audio.
- Grandpa’s Tales: An Interview with John Dugan features an interview with Dugan describing his shooting schedule and work on the set, Tobe Hooper the craftsman, working with other cast members, and his personal view of the film’s legacy.
- Cutting Chain Saw: An Interview with Editor J. Larry Carroll features a sit-down with Carroll, who shares stories from the set, including working with Hooper, and challenges the Texas heat and small budget created.
- Deleted Scenes & Outtakes bundles the original MPI release’s deleted scenes.
- Blooper Reel also bundles the original MPI release’s bloopers and outtakes.
- Outtakes from “The Shocking Truth” is another outtake reel.
- Horror’s Hallowed Grounds is a 2006 tour by Sean Clark of sets and areas from the film.
- Dr. W.E. Barnes Presents “Making Grandpa” presents a series of still photos showing the makeup progression involved in creating actor John Dugan’s look for the movie.
- Still Gallery features some beautiful photography from the set.
- Trailers include the 40th Anniversary trailer, along with two other original trailers from the film.
- TV & Radio Spots inlcudes 3 television spots and 2 radio spots.
Overall, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition DVD/BD combo pack is a strong release that I strongly recommend for hard core fans and general horror movie buffs.
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit)
English: LPCM 2.0 (48kHz, 16-bit)
English: LPCM Mono
Note: All 48kHz, 16-bit…
English SDH, Spanish
Four-disc set with 2 Blu-rays & 2 DVDs)
Check out The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary trailer, below.