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This review appears direct to the web courtesy of THE CINEMA LASER.


While THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE ($90) has never been amongst my favorite horror films, Elite Entertainment’s new Deluxe Edition has certainly changed my opinions about the film. First of all, let me say that THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE always seemed like a piece of crud, because it always looked like a piece of crud. Not anymore. Elite Entertainment Inc. has taken two years to produce this definitive edition of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and for fans, it was time well spent. Elite has produced the first SuperScan transfer of a 16mm film (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm for release), and the results are phenomenal. Images that appeared consistently grainy and murky in the past are now razor sharp and well defined. Even the darkest sequences in the film exhibit a level of detail that has never been seen before. This transfer has even squeezed every last bit of color out of the original 16mm film elements. Many of the outdoor sequences shot in bright daylight look so good and so colorful, one would never guess that they originated on 16mm. Oh, did I forget to mention that THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is presented in its proper theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The Letterboxing gives the film an overall well balanced look, which only serves to enhance the already fantastic transfer. Another highlight of this Elite Entertainment release is the newly re-mixed surround sound soundtrack which is featured on the digital tracks. The folks at Chase Productions did a great job of turning this monaural track into surround The surround sound has depth, atmosphere and a number of fun directional effects. The monaural soundtrack track, which appears on one of the analog tracks, sounds anemic by comparison. The Pioneer pressing was pretty clean, but a couple of speckles crept up here and there. The movie is presented on two sides in CLV, while the supplements are presented on two sides in CAV.

Elite Entertainment has supplemented this release with an audio commentary featuring director Tobe Hooper, cinematographer Daniel Pearl and Gunnar Hansen who portrayed Leatherface in the film. The commentary is interesting as well as entertaining. It goes into detail about the technical aspects behind the film's production, plus it takes the time to discuss how the personalities involved with making the film got along (and sometimes clashed). Other supplements include theatrical trailers for THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and its sequels, as well as television spots for the original film. There are also approximately 30 minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes, a blooper reel, an extensive still file containing production photos and posters, plus other collectible items. None of the supplemental deleted footage looks as good as the film proper, but the image quality is always acceptable.

For those unfamiliar with the plot of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, the story concerns a group of young adults who encounter cannibalistic hillbillies in rural Texas. Certainly not the kind of story that’s good for tourism. Then again, director Tobe Hooper’s "documentary style" approach makes this film even more brutal and unsettling. The cast of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE features Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen. By the way, the opening narration to the film is performed by John Larroquette.

Fans of the horror genre, and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE in particular, will absolutely want to add this Laserdisc to their collections.


Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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