54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2010
For a film that has been the subject of more DVD editions than most, a Blu-Ray release was inevitable, but do we really need yet another edition, (a seriously ultimate edition no-less)?
Well, despite my initial scepticism, I'd argue that this latest release is actually quite justified.
Personally, I'm not always convinced that older, lower-budget films really benefit much from the hi-def treatment, and with its grainy 16mm picture, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre hardly seems like an ideal candidate for such a presentation.
So, the transfer on this latest Blu-Ray edition comes as something of a revelation. Yes, the picture is heavy with film grain and obviously it doesn't have the striking sharpness of a modern blockbuster and yet, the remastering has been so remarkably well done, with such richness of colour and surprising clarity of detail, that even within the circumscribed limitations of the source material, the hi-def format is a very fitting showcase for such a great presentation. Audio too is well-served with a choice of 5.1 DTS, stereo, or the original mono soundtrack.
As for the film itself, it hardly needs stating that it is one of the pioneering classics of modern horror cinema. Like Night of the Living Dead, another low-budget independent production, it has clear commercial considerations, but is elevated somewhat by how well constructed it is. The cinematography and art direction in particular are quite startling. Like many American films, it exploits the country's fear of it's own rural lower-class and explores the idea of dark secrets and depravity lurking beneath a veneer of homely familiarity - themes that were quite prescient at the time even if they've since become a little clichéd. Overall though, it has aged well and is still a powerful viewing experience.
Extras are ported over from the previous DVD version and consist of a generous offering of documentaries, interviews and 2 commentary tracks.
Unlike another reviewer here, my disc contained the deleted scenes, (although they are fairly inconsequential and brief) but is missing the stills and posters gallery. This is the only flaw though on an otherwise fine edition.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2014
Scrap the previous dvd releases of TCM
and scrap the previous Ultimate edition blu-ray release by Second sight films
Get this new 40th Anniversary edition by Second sight films
this film has been given a new 4K blu-ray transfer supervised by Tobe Hooper himself
the transfer is the exact same blu-ray transfer from the U.S. edition
the picture quality looks very clear not much Grain
for a film that is 40 years old now the picture is the best it is ever going to get
plus Tobe hooper also supervised the sound quality
and added a new 7.1 Master audio mix which really does boost the sound quality up
much better boost than the 5.1 master audio which is the old mix been around for maybe 5 years now
the new 6.1 or 7.1 mixes are better
but the old 5.1 master audio option & stereo option is on this blu-ray anyway
they're old Audio mixes now it's time boost it up to 7.1
Disc 2 has the special features which are exactly the same as the U.S. edition
you get all the Documentaries & featurettes from the previous dvd & blu-ray releases
on 1 blu-ray Disc
THE SHOCKING TRUTH DOCUMENTARY, plus the outtakes from the Doco
FLESH WOUNDS-SEVEN STORIES OF THE SAW
OFF THE HOOK with Actor Terri McMinn
BUSINESS WITH CHAINSAW INTERVIEW with Ron Bozmon
HOUSE TOUR with Actor Gunnar Hansen
a TOBE HOOPER INTERVIEW which is actually an extended interview from the
SHOCKING TRUTH DOCUMENTARY
KIM HENKEL INTERVIEW another extended interview from the Shocking truth Documentary
Deleted scenes, Outtakes, trailers & TV/radio spots from the previous blu-ray release
but you also get some new stuff released for this 40th anniversary release
still on the 1 blu-ray Disc
CUTTING CHAINSAW interview with editor J Larry carroll
GRANPAW'S TALES with Actor John Dugan
HORROR'S HALLOWED GROUNDS-TCM featurette
and some new Deleted scenes & outtakes that were recently found by Tobe Hooper
these new Deleted scenes have no Audio thou
but they're worth checking out for curiosity reasons
and that is not all either, i forgot to mention 2 new Audio commentary tracks just for this blu-ray release
a new commentary by Tobe Hooper & a new commentary by Cinematographer Daniel Pearl, J Larry carroll & Ted Nicolaou
plus you get the 2 Audio commentaries from the previous blu-ray release aswell
Audio commentary by Marilyn burns who has tragically passed away now
passed away few months ago she was only 65 could've lived a bit more longer til 70 maybe
the old commentary tracks are on this blu-ray Paul partain, Allen Danziger, Gunnar Hansen, Robert burns
this 40TH Anniversary edition by second sight films is the best version to get
you get all the old special features plus some new special features on 1 Disc
plus 2 new commentary & old commentary tracks on Disc 1
this blu-ray is packaged in both a steelbook & standard case,
the standard blu-ray case has 2 sided artwork cover so you can choose the old poster artwork or new artwork
i gave this blu-ray 5 stars Definitely worth the cash time to upgrade
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2013
If you want to know how effective TCM is as a horror movie, consider this: director Tobe Hooper was aiming for his film to be given a PG rating, the finished product having little bad language or gore. Instead it was subject to censorship around the world, with the BBFC's director James Ferman declaring that he had a "problem" with the film and refusing to pass it for an 18 certificate. Having your horror movie banned largely on the strength of the atmosphere it creates is high praise indeed. It's interesting to consider why the original "chainsaw" is so more effective than the recent sequels, all of which had the advantage of a higher budget, glossier production and so on. For me, it's very much a case of "less is more". The sparse direction, mundane but creepy dialogue and characters and the low-tech discordant soundtrack all build up a feeling of dread long before Leatherface makes his first appearance, and the basic camerawork and grainy 16mm look add to the realistic documentary feel. The "fish out of water" scenario worked just as well for Alien as it did for this film - in rural Texas, no one can hear you scream. When the horror finally kicks in, it's unrelenting - the suffering of Sally Hardesty is the classic "female in peril" plot device turned up to eleven, and it's this that so upset James Ferman. Technically speaking, this blu-ray release is a significant improvement on the DVD. The HD transfer certainly betrays the film's low-budget origins - the transfer is grainy and uneven with the occasional scratch, but it's sharp and colourful and looks much better than the standard-definition picture. This is probably the best the film will ever look, short of a full-blown theatrical restoration. For sound you have the choice of the original mono track (presented as centre-channel Dolby Digital), stereo PCM, or remixed DTS 5.1. Purists will want to stick with the mono track, but the surround effects on the DTS track are nicely done. It would have been good to have the latter in HD lossless format, but given the limitations of the source material you're not really losing anything. It's worth mentioning that the audio tracks do not appear to suffer from the missing audio cues that affected the Dark Sky DVD release. A comprehensive selection of extras rounds off the package. Overall this is a great release of an essential piece of 70's horror, and a worthy upgrade to previous DVD versions.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2002
What I really liked about this film personally was that it painted a real picture of life in Texas. Rather then trying to make it unreal for Hollywood by adding little touches like thunderstorms and owls hooting in the dark, it kept its unique realistic charm by setting the scene in a humid farming community which I think(Along with its advertising slogan "It happened!'')adds to the fear of the film.
You may think that judging by what I have said that the killing scenes are realistic to.
In a way they are in that there is no corny chase music like in most slasher films. The closest you will get to music would be the occasional clash of the symbles to catch you off guard.
The actors do a pretty good job to, you can feel the closeness between them.
But more importantly the portrail of fear and abandonment by friends before they are killed off in a desserted farmhouse in the late afternoon is on top form as well.
With that said I recommend this film to those with real respect for horror classics as it is the closest idea of how dysfunctional familys in America can get.
It is sadly not done justice by the sequels which were basically made just to flaunt messy kills by a now legendary killer, which I hope was not Tobe Hoopers original intention.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2011
My oh my, where to begin? For so many reasons the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my absolute favourite movie of all time. What's its appeal to me after all these years? Well, maybe it's the fact that it was shot extremely low-budget and is a perfect example of making the most out of what you have to work with. Maybe it's that I saw it first when I was a 14 year old horror-nut looking for as thrill and stumbling across a then banned version of this made me change the way I though about the horror genre. Maybe it's the hot, sticky atmosphere that really glues itself to the inside of your throat. Maybe it's the way all the splatter happens offscreen but still manages to shock and terrify. Or maybe it's just because of Edwin Neal's awesome performance as the hitchhiker. I could list things forever, but I'll stop here.
Okay, so you know the story. Everyone does. What I'll say basically is this: this film is the best example of a horror movie I can think of. It has a very realistic feel to it and the performances are all worthy of your attention. It is not an exploitation movie, as the title may suggest, but it does succeed in being as brutal and visceral as one without going all guts-on-the-floor. The direction is amazing, the camera-work a real pleasure to watch, engulfing the viewer in the aforementioned sticky atmosphere - it really throws you deep into Texas and takes away your mobile phone.
And as for characters, is there a more pure horror villain than Leatherface? He's not a zombie or a dream demon or possesses any kind of superhuman powers at all. He's just human. And so are the rest of the nut-jobs in this film, and this, for me, puts it on a different level to all the other horror films of its time.
An absolutely breathtaking horror movie that left my jaw on the floor back when I first saw it in the early 90's.
Now. I've met many people who either tell me they have seen this film (mainly back in the day when it was banned) and say that it is FULL OF BLOOD AND GORE, even going to the lengths of explaining dismemberment and all sorts of horrific scenes in great detail. To this date I have no idea which movie these people are really referring to. Please note you are likely to see more bloodshed and limbs being hacked off on TV before the watershed.
And for todays audience? Hmm, that's a different story. Most of them simply say it is boring and tame. It seems to be a generation thing. (My two teenage stepsons feel asleep in it for heavens sake!) What really annoys me (like some of the reviewers on here have) is when people mistake blood for horror. `Saw' is not a horror film, neither is `Hostel' - they are gore-fests, that is all. I'm sorry to break it to all the teens/young twenty-somethings reading this but if your idea of a decent horror film is watching entrails fly out of the cinema screen in 3D then you are sorely mistaken. "But Texas Chainsaw isn't scary..." well, maybe you find it scary, maybe you don't. But if you can't appreciate the horrific artistry of masterpieces such as this then maybe you are better off watching `Scream.' (For the record - I have nothing personal against gore-fests... I just refuse to put them in the same category.) Phew! Glad I got that off my chest!
Just a quick word about different versions... there are multiple discs you can now buy of this (I own them all) and they all offer something different each time. Okay, so some special features get recycled, but there's always something new worth your attention on there too. I have just got the Blu-Ray, and while the picture sharpness is hardly on par with any of the big budget blockbusters you'd see in 2011, it is the best transfer of a 16mm original I have seen and the colours are pretty awesome. (Leatherface 'doing the dance' at then end against that sky is a personal highlight.) Oh, a new special feature on Blu I really enjoyed was a guided tour (by Leatherface himself) of the `Chainsaw' family house as it is today... worth the price alone.
If you appreciate good, artistic, brutal horror then you simply have to watch/buy this film (on Blu, preferably) - it`s full of visual treats, kooky noises and wonderful atmosphere. If you're after blood and guts, check out the remake - it's got a bit where some guy gets his leg chainsawed off, like.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2011
I ordered this 3 disc dvd box set off amazon almost a month ago now,
And i must state that in my opinion i got my money's worth, And i dont regret ordering it atall and plus the fact that i am a massive fan of the film, Im realy happy about all the special features aswell i mean there's just loads of stuff to discover behind scenes of this truely one off classic horror movie,Including 2 documentarys,Deleted scenes, 4 interviews with one cast member Teri McMinn who played pam in the film she was leather face's second victim as all the big fans of THE T C S M out there will know, All so interview's with the director Tobe Hooper,The production manager ron bozman and last but not least all so an interview with the writer kim henkel plus even more special feature's.
Id like to think its safe for me to say that THE T C S M is proberly my favorite film of all time, Because its just brillantly put together from start to finish and no matter how many times i watch it, i never get over what a classic
film it is considering the fact that the film was made in 32 days and is now 37 years old and its low budget film, its amazing, All thats left for me to say is THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE lives on , Thankyou for reading my review.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2004
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is undoubtedly one of the scariest films ever made and its raw power remains undiminished to this very day. Made in the hot wastelands of Texas in 1974 with an incredibly low budget, director Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist) has somehow created a genuine fright machine which changed the face of the horror genre completely. The story revolves around a group of teenagers being chased, terrified and murdered when they stumble upon a canabilistic family in the countryside. The main character, Leatherface, has become one of the most notable villians in cinema history; his remorseless killings were loosely based on real life 1950's Texan murderer Ed Gein. You will know already whether this sort of film is for you - if you enjoy slasher thrillers and behind-the-seat suspense, this is the ticket. I stress however that this does not come beautifully presented or has special effects - it is filmed much similar to that of a documentary and is often described as 'gritty'. But don't let this put you off - this actually adds to the realism of the situation and makes it a much scarier experience. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic of its generation and deserves to be part of any respectable film collection. Just don't watch it alone.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2015
On a list of my greatest horror films ever TCM falls behind the likes of The Shining,28 Days Later,The Exorcist,The Omen and The Blair Witch Project as i just think they are near perfect made with superb plots,casts,thrills and frights.
But thats not to say this isn't a classic movie of the genre as it certainly is and though not that scary it did disturb me more than any movie i have seen and like someone else said it feels like you are watching someones nightmare play out and has a beginning,middle and end.
The plot is well known to most as a group of youngsters whilst looking for two of the groups grandfathers grave stop to give a hitchhiker a lift but he turns out to be crazy cutting his own arm before doing the same to the main character Sally's wheelchair bound brother Franklin after which the group throw him out the van.
After this disturbance they find their old house and stop to look around but a couple split up and see another house in the distance but live to regret it as they attacked and killed by Leatherface a hulking great bloke with a nasty chainsaw and after taking out two of the other youngsters Sally is left in the house with Leatherface and his family who have a nasty secret they are cannibals and kill anyone unfortunate enough to come near their home,can Sally get away from this crazy family or will she become a victim like her friends.
This is such a well known movie not just in the horror genre but any genre and it deserves its classic status as like i said before its hugely disturbing and gets under your skin right from the start with its depiction of dead bodies and barren landscapes.It isn't for me that scary and have seen films that scared me more but as for disturbing,creepy and downright nasty this is king and even though its not that gory either and can't see why it was banned it truly chills you to think that cases like this could of happened years ago and its based on the psycho killer Ed Gein's work and it feels like one of those nightmares you have now and then.
The acting can be hit and miss with some of it a bit wooden especially the wheelchair bound Franklin(Paul A Partain) and the hitchhiker who i thought was terrible to be honest and just hoped he would disappear and was glad he wasn't in it much but did get better later on.The actresses are the best with both Sally(Marilyn Burns)and Pam(Teri McMinn)really good and scream the house down when needed and though heroines were not a big thing back in the 70's the Sally character is a great lead role and you feel her every emotion towards the end when she is either in the horror house or being chased by nut job Leatherface and she acts most of the other cast off the screen.The others were a bit wasted but were decent apart from Franklin who just annoyed me from the off and i heard they didn't really like Partain off screen either and you can understand as he seems to whinge all the time and his acting was pretty weak.The cannibal family apart from the hitchhiker were all very good with the standout being the proprietor who brings Sally back to the house after she escapes the first time,he though not the best actor around gives the film some humor and this makes him scarier because he thinks killing people is a game and his interaction with the family especially Leatherface makes for some dark humor,the actor who plays Leatherface though he doesn't actually speak words you can understand does his work through the weapons particularly the deadly chainsaw which is a horrific weapon if he is coming after you with it and his sheer size and look is chilling with him wearing masks made of other humans faces.
The set pieces and scares are terrific if not jumpy just disturbing and the house is truly horrific and nasty with furniture made of human bones and dead things all around the place and dead people upstairs.We also have the grandpa too who looks like he is dead but will chill you trust me.
Top moments include one of the characters bashed over the head with a mallet,another killed(off screen)by Leatherface and his chainsaw and the most disturbing a character impaled on a meat hook whilst having to watch another butchered with the chainsaw.Also we have another finding one of their friends in a freezer before they too are killed by old Leatherface.The finale is excellent with Sally having to endure the family taunting her at the dinner table(believe me this will get under your skin so much)before she escapes and is chased by Leatherface and the hitchhiker,its one of the great final 15 minutes in film history.
I don't really have nothing bad to say apart from woeful acting from a few of the cast and some of the screaming can hurt your ears a few times plus its not really scary for a film that was banned even if it makes you imagine whats happening off screen which is quite good and its not the best made and polished of horror films with others made better.
But this is a hugely disturbing classic of the genre with some truly horrible images and chase sequences,a top heroine,a spectacular lead bad guy and the true meaning of house of horrors.
If you ever go to Texas don't go to lone houses in the middle of nowhere that on the outside look abandoned because they may NOT BE.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2010
What makes Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre so special? Well, it's one of the most original 'classic' horror films out there. Considering the time it was made and its budget, it's a masterpiece. Nothing had been done before that had been quite as effective.
The first time I watched this I was truly frightened, I like many others placed myself in Sally Hardesty's shoes as she was being chased by the chainsaw wielding maniac, the feeling of sheer panic is uncompromised. Lets face it, it's what nightmares are made out of. Not to mention the brilliant score that was used; throughout, the music transformed this already frightening film into something mercilessly terrifying!
I've no doubt that many are already familiar with this film with it being so well known, so I'll give a rundown on the Blu ray aspects...
Bearing in mind the film was made in 1974 using a 16mm camera, the Blu ray transformation is fantastic. There's a notable increase in quality from that of the DVD version, if the people responsible used the well known techniques such as digital noise reduction they've done a great job restoring it unlike the film Highlander which is an example of an wrongly restored film, where the image was sharpened to such an extent it was rendered unwatchable.
Lets not forgett the 5.1 DTS and 2.0 stero sound soundtracks (sounded incredible with my 5.1 surround setup.) which really aids the film towards the fullest of restoration.
I'd say that fans of TCSM in possession of a Blu ray player should definitely buy this 'seriously ultimate edition', just on the quality factor alone, but if that's not enough incentive to spend your hard earned, check out what the special features have to offer:
Commentary with director Tobe Hooper, cinematographer Daniel Pearl and actor Gunnar Hansen
Commentary with actors Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Allen Danziger and art director Robert A. Burns
'The Shocking Truth' documentary
'Flesh Wounds' documentary
Gunnar Hansen's Chainsaw House Tour
An interview with Tobe Hooper and writer Kim Henkel
'Off the Hook' with actor Teri McMinn
'The Business of Chainsaw' with production manager Ron Bozman
Deleted Scenes, Alternative footage and Outtakes
Sitlls, posters and Lobby Cards Gallery
They've really gone to town on the extra material you get .
All in all, the best edition of the film thus far. A must have. [5/5]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2007
"My family's always been in meat." Says the hitchhiker to the five young teens who have given him a ride.
These young Texans, as the narrator at the beginning of the film informs us, are out on a summer's afternoon drive that will turn into a nightmare.
In pursuit of gasoline they will eventually stumble upon the hitchhiker's family, a ghoulish band of cannibals living deep in the heart in the Texan country, who were once employed at the local abbatoir but now put out of work by advancing technology. And one by one the youths will be picked off by the deranged Leatherface, in a film that delivers some of the most unforgettable horror images in all cinema.
In a style of cinema that appears to be influenced by cinema verite, the young Austin University graduate Tobe Hooper and fellow Texan Kim Henkel set out to make an exploitationer intended for the local Drive-in market, but which eventually went on to make over $100,000,000 at the worldwide box-office.
Texas Chainsaw set the template for the modern slasher vehicle, and though simple in form and narrative it carries an impressive ideological weight, evoking the despair and disillusionmnent of an America scarred by the real life horrors of Vietnam. Its cinematic cousin is no doubt Easy Rider, which also features an ending in which young members of the counter-culture youth are slaughtered by vicious rednecks.
It's difficult not to read either film as a comment on the unfulfilled aspirations of the free-spirited left, hindered as they were by a corrupt Nixon government and the desperate war in Asia, as well as aggressive authoritarianism at home.
But the film's semantic richness would all be for nothing were it not for some excellent directorial work from Hooper, outstanding photography from Daniel Bell, and Robert Burns' masterly art direction.
A few years ago now, critic Robin Wood invoked Freud's phrase "the return of the repressed" whilst discussing modern horror. If Wood was alluding to individual psychology, he may equally have been referring to society's consciousness as a whole. If, for example, the kids here represent the relative affluence of civilisation, their killers reside in a part of the country that bourgeios capitalism has forgotten. They are isolated from the community, uneducated, and vicious, a reminder to the most civilised nation on earth of the violence that exists behind the thin veneer of society. Only here a chainsaw in place of the gun.
A seminal horror film...