First thing you need to know is I'm a huge fan of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The first time I saw it was on an old VHS and a 26 inch TV screen, and it scared the hell out of me. I've never seen the original Toby Hooper film on the big screen, so I'm excited to report that a restored version of the film is going to get a theatrical release in 4k! This is what Hollywood should be doing instead of developing remakes.
The re-release comes in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary, and the restored version will have its unveiling at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas next week. Below you will find the press release from STYD:
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.
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.
More details regarding the film’s theatrical re-release this summer will be announced in the coming months.