This year marks the 40th anniversary of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and what better way to celebrate than to premiere a restored version of the film in the city where it all began, Austin, TX? The audiences at SXSW were the first to see the restoration, which is appropriate considering that director Tobe Hooper graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.
According to First Showing, NOLO Digital Film in Chicago spent five long months digitally scanning and correcting Hooper’s original 16mm A/B rolls, which, according to NOLO engineer, Boris Seagraves, had a number of problems including errant splice marks, “dirt events,” and tears. The hard work paid off, as indicated by Hooper’s statement that the restoration is “absolutely the best the film has ever looked.” The new print features a 4K scan and a newly re-mastered 7.1 soundtrack, along with other improvements that should draw curious horror fans to the theaters upon its re-release.
While the restoration process was tough, it’s nothing compared to the original shoot, as you’ll see in the revealing documentary Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Shocking Truth. Produced in 2000, the 75-minute video contains interviews from cast and crew members who candidly describe the tiring, nauseating hell they went through in order to make the seminal horror work, and the bittersweet success that, due to bad business deals, left many of them uncompensated for their efforts. The often amusing commentary describes a production defined by long days, scorching heat (the film was shot over the summer in rural Texas), and the stench of rotting flesh (art director Robert Burns liked to use real animals parts in his designs).
On the upside, all the unpleasantness left a mark on the final product, which, as one subject puts it, is an “unrelenting nightmare.” The documentary provides plenty of fantastic insight, but stick around for the moment when someone brings up Matthew McConaughey’s appearance in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, and then follows it up by casually mispronouncing the Oscar-winner’s name (this was made in 2000, after all).
Watch the documentary below:
The restored version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre should, hopefully, terrorize theaters this summer.
Are you a fan of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre? Would you see the restoration in theaters?