“Without a doubt the best edition of this classic film yet to be released!”
After reports break on the news about grave robbing and vandalism at a Texan cemetery, Sally (Marilyn Burns) and her disabled brother Franklin (Paul Partain) travel with three friends to check on their grandfather’s grave and pay a visit to their old homestead. After picking up and quickly ditching a somewhat deranged hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) who tells tales of his family of ex-slaughterhouse workers, the group travel on, but soon find themselves inadvertently on the grounds of this terrifying family’s home and under attack from the hulking, chain-saw wielding Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen).
There can be few films out there, horror or otherwise, that can claim to be as infamous as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Made by director Tobe Hooper for a paltry budget of three hundred thousand dollars and starring a cast of relatively unknown Texans, it garnered what can be best called a mixed critical reception upon its release, but has since gone on to be rightly lauded as one of the most important, influential and genuinely terrifying movies of the horror genre. Widely banned around the world on its release in 1974 before going on to be swept up in the UK ‘video nasty’ furore of 1984, even the title itself (an undoubted piece of genius in its own right) screams of something horrific, the promise of a bloodbath perhaps, and something that is certainly not going to be for the faint of heart.
While it’s true that the film contains no such bloodbath (in fact there is pretty much no blood to be seen at all, a fact that still seems to surprise first time viewers to this day), it is absolutely not for the faint of heart. Hugely effective in the use of its physical horror of the bludgeoning hammers, power tools and meat hooks, it is the psychological terror, however, that truly sticks in the mind, and at no point is this more apparent than in the masterfully realised ‘dining room scene’ where Sally finds herself trapped in the house from hell and at the mercy of the gleefully psychotic family. In an incredible performance from Marilyn Burns, Sally’s sanity is pushed to beyond breaking point, the superbly played fear and blood-curdling screams ramping with the fantastically effective score to a point that can almost prove too much to watch at times. It is truly horrifying and has to be one of the most chilling scenes in film history.
It is perhaps testament to the cultural impact and on-going strength of this film that now, forty years on from its original release, this special anniversary Blu-ray release is set to become available.
Created under the supervision of Tobe Hooper, this new 4K scan restoration edition, two disc Blu-ray is unquestionably the best that The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has ever looked and sounded. Presented in high definition 1080p, images are clear, crisp and vibrant as can ever be expected of something that was originally shot on 16mm film, while the new 7.1 audio mix too has been cleaned and mixed fantastically well. Along with the movie come a whole slew of extras both new and previously available. Brand new features include, but are not limited to, a new audio commentary from Tobe Hooper, new deleted scenes/outtakes, a short documentary with editor J. Larry Carroll as well as a conversation with John Dugan, the actor who played Grandpa, while there are also multiple audio commentaries, documentaries, deleted scenes and interviews that have been available on other sources.
All in all this adds up to be what is without a doubt the best edition of this classic film yet to be released and as such it should be owned by any fan of the film, horror, or indeed cinema itself.
Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Marilyn Burns, Paul Partain, Gunnar Hansen, Edwin Neal
Running Time: 83 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: 17 November 2014
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