February 26, 2023 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (4k UHD Steelbook Review)
Released in 1974, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is dubbed one of modern Horror cinema’s most notorious films. Marketed at the time as based on true events, the character of Leatherface is loosely influenced by the real-life murder/grave robber Ed Gein. And the term ‘loosely’ should be highlighted, because there are only minor details in the story of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that resemble the real Gein; those looking for a more accurate depiction should view the highly disturbing 1974 flick Deranged. Regardless of these details, the marketing of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was intended to draw in an audience, but also make a social statement about the government’s lies about war, as well as other crises.
Everything in mind, Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel co-wrote a legendary script on various levels when they crafted The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. For one, it could be looked at as one of the key films that ushered in a more brutal, violent era of Horror; preceding the psychopathy killer genre of Horror that became popular in the decade to follow. Second, the grit and rawness in the filming style really add to its overall effectiveness. Mainly shot using an Eclair NPR 16mm camera, the real-life feeling is probably also more plausible because it was filmed rapidly during seven hot, humid, long days under the Texas sun. So, one can say that the dirty, uncomfortable dose of reality The Texas Chainsaw Massacre smacks you in the face with is perhaps the film’s most endearing aspect. Which leads us to something that could possibly polarize fans… a 4K transfer of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
A release that could leave some unease, because 4K imagery is so brilliantly crisp, the 4K Ultra HD edition of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre makes its way to the market February 28, 2023 thanks to Dark Sky Films. Reportedly approved for 4K transfer by the late, great Tobe Hooper prior to his death in 2017, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s 4K edition comes as a 2-disc set in either a solid steelbook that dons the original theatrical film poster, or in a quality plastic case format with slipcover featuring a terrifyingly delightful piece of art where we see Marilyn Burns’ tearing eye with Leatherface’s reflection within the iris. By the way, both formats are contextually identical, they just have different casing/packaging.
Now, the big question is, does the transfer to 4K diminish the original grittiness of the film? Well, that depends on who you ask, but in all honesty the transfer is not as drastic as you might think. Yes, the picture is cleaner, the colors are more vivid, and the image is overall brighter, but still remaining is the rawness originally captured by Hooper and Cinematographer Daniel Pearl. In enough words, it is not completely scrubbed of its atmosphere. If anything, the clarification in 4K offers something new to the viewing experience.
This being the biggest concern for anyone looking to invest in a 4K version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the bonus material also has plenty to offer. This includes commentary from the likes of Hooper, as well as key cast members such as the late Burns and Gunner Hansen. Additionally, there are a slew of other interviews and documentaries. Speaking of which, you get a brand-new feature length documentary on disc 2 of the set (which is a Blu-ray) called The Legacy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Another documentary amidst the plethora of those made through the decades about this film, this one is very cool if you are keen on hearing viewpoints from various critics, as well as filmmakers, on the film’s impact.
Overall, the 4K release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a well put together package that respects the films original intentions. What are those intentions? Many, but just to name a few, they were to shock the senses with a dose of reality, but also raise awareness about the hypocrisies surrounding us. Still very relevant and very powerful, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has earned its place in Horror film history. So, if you are curious about what it would be like to experience The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 4K, then it is well worth exploring either the steelbook or slipcase release. Giving you a different perspective on a Horror milestone, Cryptic Rock gives the 4K releases of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4.5 out of 5 stars.