HOLY SWEET FUCK, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE IS COMING BACK TO THEATERS!
Now, before you guys rail me for embracing the technological aspects of this particular news...I've never seen this classic film in a traditional movie theater before...ever. The film came out before I was brought into this world and I never really had the opportunity to watch whatever screening was going on around town. I've seen all the other sequels, remakes or what-have-you in various theaters...but, the original has always eluded me for whatever reason. So, I'm pretty psyched to finally have the opportunity to purchase a ticket to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Now, having said all of that...it is being reported that the film will be fully restored and, in some cases, perhaps digitally enhanced. I'm probably just making up the digitally enhanced stuff...but, I get so scared whenever I hear that a classic film is being "restored". Visions of the original Star Wars trilogy restoration enter my head. And, besides, the whole charm of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre resides in the grittiness of the film. It seriously looks like Tobe Hooper filmed it with a View-Master and pissed all over the negatives during editing. So, I'm a little worried about the prospect of watching a squeaky clean-looking version of the film. Then again...this bit of news is sort of comforting:
Taking five months of 40-hour work weeks 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 painstaking 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.
It appears that this has been a labor of love and not necessarily motivated by the notion of cashing in on a beloved horror franchise. I mean, I'm sure Dark Sky Films wants to make some honest cash by releasing an ultra-awesome edition of TCM...but, at least they hired the right people to oversee the restoration process. So...there's that. Hell, even Mr. Tobe Hooper himself had some awesome things to say about the new transfer:
"I haven't seen 'The Texas Chainsaw 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." -Tobe Hooper
So, say what you will about this 40th Anniversary Restoration of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre...but, in my humble opinion, this is the best Texas Chainsaw Massacre news to come along in a very long time. Can't wait to finally hear that remastered 7.1 buzz of a chainsaw in a theater! Official release dates have yet to be confirmed as of this writing...but, we'll keep you posted. Man, I'm so happy...I feel like doing Leatherface pirouettes!
I'll see you in the darkness of the theater this Summer!
Thanks for reading,