BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE: 40TH ANNIVERSARY RESTORATION / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: TOBE HOOPER / SCREENPLAY: KIM HENKEL, TOBE HOOPER / STARRING: MARILYN BURNS, GUNNAR HANSEN, EDWIN NEAL, JIM SIEDOW, PAUL A. PARTAIN / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 17TH
Fair warning: this review comes from a writer who will happily and confidently describe Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as the greatest horror film of all time. So, for the film itself, that's a perfect, easy ten out of ten. Done.
With the fortieth anniversary upon us, Second Sight have brought us this attractive steelbook Blu-ray edition, featuring a full restoration of the film, overseen by Hooper himself. The 4k restoration is impressive enough, although maybe not as revelatory or immersive as one might hope. It's an improvement over previous DVD releases, but not by a massive amount. That said, the grubby, cheap visuals account for much of the film's atmosphere – seeing it too cleaned up and polished wouldn't sit right with Leatherface and his family at all.
In addition to the tremendous-looking steelbook case, the Anniversary Restoration comes loaded with a second disc of extras and bonus features, new and old. These include new audio commentaries by Tobe Hooper and the film's cinematographer, sound recordist and editor. New documentaries and featurettes accompany a set of newly uncovered deleted scenes and outtakes (sadly minus sound and commentary). There's none as darkly amusing as the outtake video of a bound and gagged Marilyn Burns falling over in her chair (sorry Marilyn) but they make for fascinating viewing all the same. Also included is the comprehensive documentary The Shocking Truth, which covers all aspects of making the film from its production through to distribution and sequels. Most of the main cast and crew (including Hooper and the late, great Marilyn Burns) pop up for a chat, while the always entertaining Bill Moseley appears to re-iterate his wonderful “lick my plate” line. This documentary has been knocking about for a while (hence Moseley's considerably younger looking features) but it still makes for fascinating viewing, especially if you've not seen it before.
That's a fairly comprehensive set of extras, but there's a feeling we've been spoiled, recently, by the likes of Arrow and the wonderful releases film fans have been treated to. With that in mind, Second Sight's Texas Chain Saw Massacre might come up a tad short for some tastes. The Shocking Truth is all fine and well, but it would have been nice to have a little something else for the film's 40th.
Nothing, after all, is too good for the greatest horror film of all time.*
*Your own tastes may vary.
Special Features: Four audio commentaries / The Shocking Truth documentary / Seven featurettes / Cast and crew interviews / Deleted scenes / Outtakes / TV and radio spots / Trailers
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