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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 4K UHD Steelbook Review

“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is a horror film classic. 

The year: 1974. The movie: “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” Although loosely based on the life of serial killer Ed Gein, writers Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel created an original horror story that would go on to spawn a franchise that continues to this day. The story is simple- Five 20 somethings (Sally, her brother Franklin, Jerry, Pam and Kirk) are on a road trip through Texas. On their adventure, they pick up a deranged hitchhiker who essentially dooms them. They eventually stop off at an old house that belonged to relatives of Sally and Franklin, but this excursion is soon interrupted by the nearby cannibalistic Sawyer family that includes the infamous chainsaw wielding and skin mask wearing Leatherface, the barely alive Grandpa, the aforementioned Hitchhiker and the old man/cook.

Even rewatching the film now in 2023, director Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” remains a landmark horror film. In addition to the often artistic style (from the editing to the shot selection), ‘Texas’ has a raw, ominous tone that isn’t really comparable to anything else. It’s a rare “horror in the daylight” movie (although there are night scenes), it’s gritty, it’s chilling, and it’s the type of indie movie that benefits from being an indie movie. A bigger budget glossier production wouldn’t have yielded the same results here (as subsequent sequels have shown). 

The production design also goes a long way here with the house of horrors littered with human and animal skulls and bones and chicken feathers saying so much on their own. Speaking of which, ‘Texas’ is the type of movie that sounds more violent than it is, but really, this is a less is more type of horror film. Tobe Hooper and company scare the viewer more with quick flashes of violence, building a sense of dread and showing the Sawyer family’s deeply unnerving home. The imagination goes wild watching this movie which is what made it so effective. 

Cast wise, there are several memorable performances from Marilyn Burns (whose screams and descent into hysterics are positively haunting), Gunnar Hansen (the OG and best Leatherface), and the ultra weird Edwin Neal as the hitchhiker who really sets the tone for the movie.


Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p With Dolby Vision HDR. How does it look? There’s not a dramatic difference between the 4K and the Blu-ray, but with that said, this is a stellar transfer that maintains the grit and grain of the original print while offering up a nice upgrade.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos and 7.1, 2.0 and 1.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Viewers have no shortage of audio options here (all of which deliver). 

* A double-sided poster
* 4 commentary tracks on the 4K. One by Tobe Hooper, one by Tobe Hooper and documentary director, David Gregory, Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface) and cinematographer Daniel Pearl, one by Daniel Pearl, editor J. Larry Carroll, moderator David Gregory, and sound recorder Ted Nicolaou and the last one featuring cast members Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Pertain, moderator David Gregory, and production designer Robert Burns. The track featuring Gunnar Hansen is the most engaging of the lot.
* 40th anniversary, 2 trailers, television and radio spots.
* Still gallery
* 4 separate interviews with production manager Ron Bozman, editor J. Larry Carroll and actors John Dugan and Teri McMinn.
* Blooper reel.
* “A Tour Of The TCSM House With Gunnar Hansen”
* “The Cinefamily Presents Friedkin/Hooper: A Conversation About The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Between William Friedkin And Tobe Hooper”- A lively 54 minute 40th anniversary Q&A session from 2014.
* “The Legacy Of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”- A brand new 82 minute documentary featuring a ton of filmmaker and film critic interviews and discussions about the film’s legacy and story.
* “Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth”- A 72 minute documentary about the making of the film. Expect lots of production stories. Outtakes from this doc are also included
* “Flesh Wounds: 7 Stories Of The Saw”- A 71 minute documentary about 7 different subjects including Gunnar Hansen and the Grandpa makeup.
* 25 ½ minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes.
* “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: TCSM”- A new installment of the series in which Sean Clark tours filming locations.
* “Dr. W.E. Barnes Presents Making Grandpa” is all about the Grandpa makeup.


February 14, 2023 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , ,

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