TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (DVD)

3.5 Stars
Year Released: 1974
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 83 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:

In the years since its initial 1974 release, Tobe Hooper’s has developed a reputation for being horrifically violent–a reputation that a fresh viewing reveals to be wholly undeserved. Certainly, a fair amount of blood is shed in the simple story of five youths who have the bad luck of encountering a murderous cannibal family–most prominently, the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen)–one hot summer afternoon. But Hooper is no bloodthirsty hack (or at least he wasn’t at this stage of his career); Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s intense final half achieves its unshakable effect through a combination of things (creepy characters; unsettling imagery and editing; a spare, ominous score; star Marilyn Burns’ inescapable screams) aside from graphic gore. The film’s low-budget 16mm look just adds to the grimy atmosphere, creating the illusion of an underground snuff film.
Pioneer’s special edition DVD showcases a “digital superscan” transfer supervised by Hooper that, thankfully, isn’t too pristine; some grit remains, and it wouldn’t be quite the same if there weren’t any (though the new, clean stereo soundtrack is a welcome enhancement). Hooper, cinematographer Daniel Pearl, and Hansen provide an entertaining running commentary that points up the many pitfalls (and benefits) of ultra-low budget filmmaking. Trailers and assorted promos are included for all films in the series (including a long promotional reel for the 1994 Renée Zellweger-Matthew McConaughey revival Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre ), but the real treats here are the more obscure finds: a few deleted scenes (which are presented alongside their respective excerpts in the script) and alternate takes; a blooper reel; and galleries of production stills, behind-the-scenes photos, lobby cards, and original posters. The wealth of useful additional features make the somewhat cheesy, crudely animated menus (featuring a primitive CGI chainsaw) somewhat forgivable.
Specifications: 1.85:1 letterbox; English Dolby Surround; English mono.



Posted on July 9, 1990 in Reviews by
Buffer


If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
Popular Stories from Around the Web

Tell us what you're thinking...





Comments are governed by the Terms of Use of this Site. Click on the "Report Comment" link if you feel a comment is in violation of the Terms of Use, and the comment will be reviewed appropriately.