There ain’t a hell of a lot left to be said about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that hasn’t already been discussed, debated, critiqued, analyzed, referenced, parodied and ripped-off. Regardless of one’s feelings about the movie itself (this writer thinks it’s just a tad overpraised), its enduring mark on modern horror is undeniable. Only Psycho, The Exorcist and (maybe) Night of the Living Dead share such rarified air.
But unlike those iconic films, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre captured lightning in a bottle. It was the career high point for almost everyone involved. With the exception of writer-director Tobe Hooper (and narrator John Larroquette), nobody on either side of the camera went on to do anything particularly noteworthy. Even for Hooper, TCSM was an inescapable shadow over his entire career (a shame, really, because he occasionally did some pretty neat stuff over the years).
Whether born out of creativity or necessity, TCSM’s lo-fi aesthetic still has a visceral power few subsequent filmmakers have come close to emulating. The dead, documentary-style stare Hooper employs while tormenting & slaughtering his characters remains the film’s most potent element. And I gotta say that the scene where Leatherface hammers a guy in the head and the camera lingers over the twitching body remains one of horror’s most brutal, blood-free nut-punches.
|Sometimes you gotta dance like no one's watching.|
For fans of all-things-TCSM, the real treat might be the abundant extras. In addition to the SteelBook packaging - no new artwork, but still pretty cool - there’s a slew of substantial bonus material. Most of them are carried over from previous releases, but there’s also a brand new feature-length retrospective documentary that, if nothing else, further cements the film’s legacy.
With a two-sided poster rounding out the bonus goodies, this 4K SteelBook edition of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is certainly worth upgrading from any previous home video version. It's a must-own release of one of horror's most iconic films.
THE LEGACY OF THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE - This is an all-new feature length retrospective documentary featuring insights and appreciation by various contemporary directors, including some who worked on subsequent TCM sequels & reboots.
THE CINEFAMILY PRESENTS FRIEDKIN/HOOPER - An hour-long Q&A with Tobe Hooper and William Friedkin.
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE: THE SHOCKING TRUTH - Archival full-length documentary.
OUTTAKES FROM ‘THE SHOCKING TRUTH’
FLESH WOUNDS: SEVEN STORIES OF THE SAW - Another feature-length doc!
4 AUDIO COMMENTARIES - 1) By director Tobe Hooper, actor Gunnar Hansen, cinematographer Daniel Pearl; 2) By actors Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Pertain and production designer Robert Burns; 3) By Tobe Hooper; 4) By Daniel Pearl, editor Larry Carroll and sound recordist Ted Nicolaou.
A TOUR OF THE TCSM HOUSE WITH GUNNAR HANSEN
INTERVIEWS - “The Business of Chain Saw” (with production manager Ron Bozman); “Off the Hook” (with actor Teri McMinn); “Grandpa’s Tales” (with actor John Dugan); “Cutting Chain Saw” (with editor J. Larry Caroll).
HORROR’S HALLOWED GROUNDS: TCSM
ORIGINAL & 40TH ANNIVERSARY TRAILERS; TV & RADIO SPOTS
TWO-SIDED MINI POSTER