Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Collectors Edition

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Collectors Edition

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Running Time: 
83 minutes
Grade For This Movie

I have to give this movie a seperate grade as the Blu Ray features and the case rate as a solid A.

While out on a weekend trip, 5 friends Sally Hardesty (played by Marilyn Burns), Sally's paraplegic brother Franklin (played by Paul A. Partain), Jerry (played by Allen Danziger), Kirk (play by William Vail), and Pam (played by Teri McMinn) visit a grave in a small country town in Texas. Going to talk to the Hardesty family, the group of friends find themselves at a house of horrors and death. Leatherface (played by Gunnar Hansen) is a cannibal and the group are now the ones he wants for dinner. What was supposed to be fun for the friends has turned into death and terror that will be the last moments of their lives.

I don't like this movie, I've never liked this movie, and I never will. It's really tough to write a review about a movie that I already knew that I didn't like to begin with. I've watched this movie 4 times in my life, this being the fourth time, the first 2 times was on VHS at a friend’s place, and the third was a showing at a theater for Halloween one year. Each time I watched it, I liked the movie less and less. This is one of those movies that is just so disturbing because it can actually be real. Back when this came out the horror movies where ones that didn't seem real because they had the monsters like mummies and vampires. This movie is set in a small country town, or more to the point, a house, in Texas where the family are cannibals that kill visitors.
This is a slasher film and nothing else. There's a few moments at the beginning of the movie where there isn't death and blood but once the hitchhiker (played by Edwin Neal) is picked up the blood and gore begin. From that point on it's nothing but disturbing death scenes with chainsaws, hammers, and a hook. This is why I don't like the movie, it's too real for my taste, along with the gore. I've never been into the gore movies and this one has it but the idea that this can and probably actually has in one form, and that is not entertaining to me. I don't mind watching horror movies, I like them, but I watch them because I know they are fake, like zombies and vampires, but a family of cannibals that could be real and could actually happen, well no, not for me.
This movie was so violent that when it was first released it was banned from a lot of places from being shown. It's no wonder because this is one of the more violent movies that I've seen. It's a cult favorite and I'm sure with this new release of the movie on Blu Ray it will gain even more cult fans, but for me it's not entertaining. However, just because I don't like it don't mean I can't see the production quality of it. Such as that this movie was made on a low budget and because of that it does have a more realistic feel to it. The acting is actually done well because I really do see the terror and pain in the faces of the characters as they are being slaughtered. The special effects used might still have the fake look when it comes to the actual killing part, but the idea that's been used of this being something that can happen in the real world allows the viewer to believe more on the looks of the effects. They really do a good job in making this movie seem real, if this was a different movie, one with less death in it, I would be praising it, and I still give it the due it's owed in how it does have some interesting cinematography, the plot is realistic, the deaths are disturbing, and the acting is good.

Alright, this is the probably the most vital part of this review because this movie has been out for 40 years and this is the 40th anniversary set for the movie. First thing to take into account with this movie is that regardless of what they can do with improving old movies these days, which can be a good deal, there's not much that can be done to a movie like this one. I say that because of few reasons, it is 40 years old, it didn't have a big budget when it was being filmed so the equipment and quality for it even 40 years ago wasn't that great, and it was shot on 16mm film. How does that translate over from film to Blu Ray? Well not that good considering that 16mm film was the stock film that was used and still used when you don't have the money to get the better grades. Also, 16mm film wasn't really made to be used for theater films so that means when it's put on the big screen it won't look as sharp or clear as other film grades.

Knowing this, even with the cleaning process and the upgrades that can be done to old movies when converting to Blu Ray, Texas Chainsaw Massacre will never look like anything that's been shot using current digital equipment. However, even with this old movie the transfer over to 1080p quality, I was impressed with how good it looks. It's far better than the older versions, by older I mean on VHS because if you read the portion of this review where I give my thoughts on this movie you know why I haven't watched it on anything else. The picture is sharp but there are still some flaws in there that can't be worked out. Such flaws are a few dots in the picture, there's also some noise and grain in the textures but this actually kind of adds to the look. Granted I don't like this movie but it's one of those movies that if I did like, I would prefer there to be the grain, noise, spots, and flickering that the original had. This is a cult movie, part of its appeal, to me, is that it has that old film look, but this Blu Ray version is taking a lot of that out. The detail in the picture is now standing out more, you can see textures better, the emotions in the faces of the people, the blood, the gore, and well moments that I wouldn't really want to have a better detail in.
Along with having a better picture quality to this movie, the colors are standing out more. They have rich colors that stand out, like the reds and whites, while the dark colors are deep and contrast nicely. Another improvement made to this movie is the audio. Again, there are moments that I really don't want to hear more clearly, but the levels are well mixed where I can hear everything clear while also not having to fuss with the remote. But like the picture quality, there's only so much they can do with this audio to improve it but what they do is still pretty good, especially for such an old film.

Now, the biggest part of this Blu Ray, the part I think will really be the reason why people buy this, are the special features. First the box for the movie is nice. It's a slip case, which usually a problem with slip case movies is that the case that holds the discs will flatten out and get a slant to it where it will no longer fit snuggly in the case. The main case is a fold out that holds 2 disc on the two sides and has some photos on the case. It's a nice box, with a cut out window on the front that when the case is pulled out you still see a picture in the back of it.
The features are in abundance on this Blu Ray, I mean a ton of features that I can't go into detail of them all there are so many. There's 4 commentaries with the director, actors, writer, and even the cinematographer. There's so many different interviews and looks into the movie that if you want to know anything about this movie you will by watching these features. What I think will please people the most are the new deleted scenes and outtakes. There is the problem of these deleted scenes not having audio and from what I could find out it seems they either didn't have audio or something happened to the audio 40 years ago but you got to take that into account, it's deleted scenes from 40 years ago when showing deleted scenes wasn't even thought about. There's also other deleted scenes and blooper reel, which I think are the ones from past DVD's but being that I've never watched them, they were new to me. There's a still gallery that appealed to me being that I'm a still photographer but there wasn't enough in my opinion when it came to these. Overall, movie to me is one I will never like but I'm impressed with the thought and effort that was put into this Blu Ray set and how it does better than a lot of the big budget movies that actually have these made for the Blu Rays yet don't have a third of what's included on this movie that was shot 40 years ago.

Lee Roberts
Review by Lee Roberts
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook