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[tab title="Movie Review"]

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary Edition


5 stars

In cine-massacre history, there are few films that compare to the in-the-gut feeling Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre leaves you with.  Every imperfection in this low-budget Slasher works in the movie’s favor and adds to the overall grisly experience.  The movie is not as violent or as frightening as its legacy of sequels, remakes, one prequel, comic books and video games suggests.  It remains – as evidenced by this 40th Anniversary blu-ray release – one hell of a good time.

Shot for under $125,000 on and around a farmhouse in Texas (Round Rock to be specific) in 100 degree heat and marketed as a true story, Hooper’s film was originally released the year of Chinatown, The Godfather, Part II, and Young Frankenstein and had quite an impact.  In fact, it transformed the box office.  Audiences flocked to it.  The Ramones wrote a song about it. 

But not everyone loved it.  Los Angeles film critic Linda Gross famously condemned it.  Other critics – like the late Roger Ebert – split it down the middle, deriding it for its violence but praising it for its tension.  For a moment at least, it seemed the horror community finally had their Citizen Kane.  Writer-producer-director Hooper issued no apologies. Rumored to be inspired by the murders of Ed Gein, Hooper writes about a different slice of this American life by showcasing the heinous actions of the Sawyer clan, disposed of their livelihood by the slaughterhouse shutdowns occurring throughout the nation. 

Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) and her brother Franklin (Paul Partain) travel with three of their friends to check out their grandfather’s grave to see firsthand if it has been desecrated as the news from the area is not good concerning cemetery disturbances.  On the way to their grandfather’s old house, they pick up a hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) who cuts himself for no good reason and leaves everyone in the van on edge.    

And then Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) shows up and all hell breaks loose for these five teenagers.  Hooper’s independent classic is one of those rare breed of genre films.  Much like Night of the Living Dead, it is much better than it needs to be.  Standing as a metaphor for everything from animal cruelty to our involvement in Vietnam, the dark entrails on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre have been dragged through many a film student’s thesis.  The fact that the material – involving a family of serial killers – is so malleable is proof of its continued importance.

As tired as the tropes are to us now, we should not forget that this is the film that established the Final Girl and gave us the masked killer in the shadows.  Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a post-modern classic.  Its 40th Anniversary blu-ray release explains why.  Check it out today.


[tab title="Film Details"]

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary Edition

MPAA Rating: R.
90 mins
: Tobe Hooper
Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper
Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
: Horror
Before Halloween.... Before Friday The 13th.... Before Scream.... There Was The Saw
Memorable Movie Quote: "I just can't take no pleasure in killing. There's just some things you gotta do. Don't mean you have to like it.
Bryanston Distributing (1974)
Official Site: http://www.chainsawdvd.com/
Release Date:
October 1, 1974
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 16, 2014
Synopsis: Five friends visiting their grandfather's house in the country are hunted and terrorized by a chain-saw wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals.


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary Edition


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 16, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English; Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: Locked to region A/1

Dark Sky Films’ new 4K, 5.1 sound restoration has been authorized by director Tobe Hooper and looks fantastic.  I have truly never seen this film look so engaging and crisp, yet somehow still looking fresh out of 1974.  The 4K restoration looks wonderful and does not overdue the processing like other Bluray releases of classic horror films.  The colors are just as dry yet vibrant as ever, but the restoration doesn’t take all of the grain and grimy-like tone of the film away.  The sound – including the pig squeals and the chainsaw – is dynamic in 5.1.



  • For this release, two brand new commentaries, one with Director Tobe Hooper himself, and one with Cinematographer Daniel Pearl (who also shot the remake), Editor J. Larry Carroll and Sound Recordist Ted Nicolaou.  The commentaries are pretty entertaining.  Hooper is quite magnetic throughout his.  He dispels rumors and tells secrets about the making of the film.  His writing partner, Kim Henkel, is also on the track.

Special Features:

Also packed into the set, are special features like Sean Clark’s Horror’s Hollowed Grounds episode for TCM, a blooper reel, brand new deleted scenes and outtakes, and the highlight of the special features for me: the couple of interviews with “Grandpa” John Dugan, production manager Ron Bozman, and J. Larry Carroll.  The Dugan interview is so much fun to watch, as he doesn’t do the typical holding back that people tend to do in interviews, he drops f-bombs left and right, gives hilarious and also endearing stories about the filming of the movie, and just really stands out.  If you’re a fan of Leatherface and his exploits, this is a set well worth the price.

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth (73 min)
  • Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of the Saw (72 min)
  • A Tour of the TCSM House with Gunnar Hansen (8 min)
  • Off the Hook with Teri McMinn (17 min)
  • The Business of Chain Saw: An Interview with Production Manager Ron Bozman (17 min)
  • New Deleted Scenes & Outtakes (15 min)
  • Grandpa's Tales: An Interview with John Dugan (16 min)
  • Cutting Chain Saw: An Interview with Editor J. Larry Carroll (11 min)
  • Deleted Scenes & Outtakes (26 min)
  • Blooper Reel (2 min)
  • Outtakes from "The Shocking Truth" (8 min)
  • Horror's Hallowed Grounds: TCSM (20 min)
  • Dr. W.E. Barnes Presents "Making Grandpa" (3 min)
  • Still Gallery (2 min)
  • Trailers: 40th Anniversary Trailer (6 min)
  • TV & Radio Spots (1 min)


[tab title="Trailer"]