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Release Date for Newly Restored ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’!

TCM-Restored-2

MPI/Dark Sky Films announced today a June 20 theatrical release for their newly restored version The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic. The re-release comes in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary.

In 1973, Tobe Hooper, a cast of unknown actors, and a crew of Austin film students and recent graduates headed to Round Rock, Texas in the middle of July. For the next 32 days they worked around the clock in 100 degree weather to make The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The movie became a huge hit on the drive-in circuit and eventually grossed $30 million. It was invited to the 1975 Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight, and was acquired as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Since then, it has become the eighth highest-grossing horror franchise of all time. In 2012, Sight & Sound magazine named it one of the 250 most important movies ever made.

The new version of the film will be released in theaters this summer with a brand new 4K transfer, roughly four times the resolution of today’s more commonly used 2K for cinema. This is the only transfer of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to go back to the original 16mm A/B rolls, the actual film that rolled through the cameras.

The restoration of the film, overseen by Todd Wieneke of Dark Sky Films, took place at NOLO Digital Film in Chicago with the use of an ARRISCAN Film Scanner.

Taking 5 months of 40-hour workweeks to complete the color grading and the restoration, NOLO engineer Boris Seagraves stated, “This film probably needed the most restoration of any project we’ve done.

Having been shot on less expensive 16mm film stock and cheaper, tougher “reversal” stock, (which means there is no negative), the restoration started by taking the original 16mm film that rolled through the cameras and transferred all 120,960 frames to a 4K scan.

Scratches, film stains, chemical stains, dirt, torn perforations, rips in the film image and glue splices had to go through a pain-staking correction process frame by frame. “There were hundreds, if not thousands, of instances where you’d find a splice mark cooked into the middle of a frame. Some frames would have close to two hundred dirt events on them. We also spent a lot of time stabilizing the image. When doing a digital scan of a conformed 16mm print with a splice at every cut, it can be tough to achieve the high standards we all aspire to in the era of digital cinema. What might have passed as acceptable in the 70′s looks jarring now. So we worked hard to smooth out the tremors that almost inevitably occur when scanning this type of film element. There were tears in the film that we had to digitally rebuild from adjacent frames. There were tens of thousands of things we were dealing with,” said Seagraves.

Estimating that he spent about 50 hours on the color correction alone, NOLO Colorist Michael Matusek used a previous transfer of the film that had been supervised by Tobe Hooper as his guide to a rough color correction. Tobe Hooper then gave notes on this roughly timed version, and the process of adjusting the color began.

Hooper, who helped score the film and did the sound design, was also deeply involved with the audio restoration.

Todd Wieneke stated, “I’ve seen the film literally frame-by-frame and I’m still hearing and seeing things I never noticed before…it just adds a whole different level.” Matusek added, “This 4K scan delivers such an intense reality that it feels like you’re really seeing through the film to the actual world behind it.

Tobe Hooper stated, “I haven’t seen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre on the big screen for many, many years. This 40th anniversary restoration is absolutely the best the film has ever looked. The color and clarity is spectacular, displaying visual details in the film that were never before perceptible. The newly remastered 7.1 soundtrack breathes new life and energy into the film. I am very much looking forward to audiences experiencing this film as they never have before.

Now, 40 years after it’s initial release and coming back home, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s new transfer can be seen with a fresh pair of eyes having its world premiere at SXSW, Monday, March 10th at 9:30pm at the Topfer Theatre.

  • high-rise-rat

    I think the beauty of this film for me is watching it on a dodgy vhs copy from the 80′s, I like all the stains and imperfections, it felt wrong watching it(it was banned for years in the uk so it was wrong) I dont want it to look clean and new.It wont have the same impact it did back in the good old days(damn im old).

  • MindVortex

    I too was concerned that cleaning it up would spoil its distinct look, but having seen the restoration at its SXSW premiere, I can say that it isn’t “that” clean. There are still some scratches and marks here and there, possibly in places that couldn’t be fixed, and I believe Tobe Hooper stated that some were intentionally left in during scenes he wanted to feel grittier. Overall, it still “felt” like the TCM I remembered, and not like a digitally prettied-up version.

    • high-rise-rat

      Good, cheers Mindvortex.

  • HMH

    I just want to see it on the big screen. It will be glorious.

  • tbaio

    This movie will never be clean in the sense of a Blu Ray/Hi Def/1080P/4k manner…..ever. It was shot with old cameras, maybe 2 lights & a $12.00 budget! There’s only so much that can be restored. Its no different than giving CPR to a corpse.

  • ThunderDragoon

    Awesome. One of my favorite horror films of all time, so I definitely have to see this on the big screen.

  • Stitch_101

    Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope it plays somewhere in an hour radius of my small town. Unlikely, but one can dream.

  • Jonny-Horror

    A masterpiece. Clean it up if need be but it’s still a perfect horror movie as is.

  • c-s-a78

    cant wait.just bought a 55″ sony 4K tv.cant wait to compaire to my bluray version!

  • leonleon20

    I saw “Texas Chainsaw 3D on the IMAX here in Dallas, Texas and at the start of the film, they had clips of the original in 3D, I thought that was really cool.
    The meathook she was hanging on came out of the screen.

    They should do it in 3D.

  • Inez Legg

    I love this movie it’s one of the most genius ideas of the 20th century. The people that are hard core fans love to quote lines and my friends that are fans we gather and watch threw popcorn at the screen one thing I always say when Kirk says that’s the last hitch hiker I pick up I yell THATS THE LAST HITCHER YOU WILL EVER SEE!! I yelled that at the drive-in at age 6. MORBID I am maybe that’s my true name!!

  • TEE VEE

    ANY UPDATES ON THE RERELEASE???? WAITING FOR NEWS HERE!!!!!