Hold onto your chainsaws slasher fans, and prepare to get very excited, because this week sees the UK home video re-release of not only one of the most iconic horror movies of the 1970s, but also one of the best 4K/Blu-ray box sets in recent years. The movie and the box set I’m referring to is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 4K UHD/Blu-ray Limited Edition Collector’s Set, which has just been released by Second Sight Films.
The set hit retail shelves on Monday and is doing phenomenally well. In fact, at present you may find it difficult to locate a copy in your local entertainment store (or even direct from Second Sight Films), as these sets are being snapped up pretty quickly.
Why? Because a.) this is a high-profile horror movie; b.) this is a gorgeous looking box set; and c.) the set includes an exhaustive (and I mean EXHAUSTIVE) amount of special features and supplementary material.
I’ll delve into the material momentarily, and I’ll heap a bunch of well-deserved praise on Second Sight Films too, but before I get to all that, I’d best provide you with a rundown of the film itself. Heck, if you’re interested in buying this box set, then you probably want to know a touch about the movie.
Directed by Tobe Hooper, and released in 1974, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a brutal horror movie which stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, and Gunnar Hansen. The film follows a group of young friends who cross paths with a family of cannibals, with devastating results.
In the film, five friends are travelling through Texas on a road trip, when they make a stop. The group splits up, with one of the friends, Kirk, heading toward a seemingly abandoned house in the hopes of getting some gas for the van.
However, within moments of entering the property, Kirk is attacked by a large, hulking man in a bloody apron. The man is also wearing a strange, monstrous mask, which completely covers his face. When Kirk fails to return from the house, his girlfriend Pam investigates. What she discovers is something truly horrifying, and a taste of what is in store for the remaining friends.
If you’ve never watched The Texas Chain Saw Massacre then you should know this is a grubby and grotesque horror movie. The picture is disturbing, at times depraved and unsettling, but also bloody good!
The title alone should tell you the sort of movie you’re in for. This isn’t one to sit and watch with grandma on a sunny Sunday afternoon (unless she adores this kind of thing); it’s a low budget horror movie for those who love classic cinema of yesteryear – even films that are a bit rough around the edges.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was shot on a wing and a prayer, and this is pretty evident throughout. It centres around a very limited story, as well as a small cast of characters, and by today’s standards it is a touch shaky in places.
Yet look beyond its surface limitations and this is a very accomplished horror film. It boasts some superb shots which elevate the material, and really help it to get under the skin.
Although the blood and gore is kept to a minimum, the film’s visceral approach to cannibalism is unnerving, and it offers up some interesting ideas about what happens to those that society has left behind. This is also a very influential movie, which paved the way for many imitators, as well as a number of sequels (none of which lived up to this original).
Sure, it can be seen as an acquired taste to some, but The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a great slice of horror. There’s something immensely creepy about this picture and it should be viewed (at least once) by any self-respecting horror fan.
OK, so that’s a little bit about the film, now let’s focus on this particular physical media release, which is just excellent. This is a three-disc set (1 UHD disc and two Blu-rays), which includes five commentary tracks, multiple documentaries and features, and some carefully put-together bonus contents which are exclusive to this limited-edition release!
In fact, there’s so much on offer here that I’m not going to skim over things, instead I’m presenting you with a list of exactly what you get, starting with all the features that are spread out across the discs. Theses special features include:
- A UHD copy of the film presented in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos produced by Second Sight Films
- A Blu-ray copy of the film
- New audio commentary by Amanda Reyes and Bill Ackerman
- Audio commentary with writer-producer-director Tobe Hooper
- Audio commentary with cinematographer Daniel Pearl, editor J. Larry Carroll and sound recordist Ted Nicolaou
- Audio commentary with writer-producer-director Tobe Hooper, cinematographer Daniel Pearl, and actor Gunnar Hansen
- Audio commentary with actors Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain and art director Robert A. Burns
- The Legacy of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre – a new feature-length documentary produced by Second Sight Films
- Behind the Mask: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
- The Shocking Truth documentary (plus outtakes)
- Cutting Chain Saw with editor J. Larry Carroll
- Granpaw’s Tales with actor John Dugan
- Horror’s Hallowed Grounds
- Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of The Saw
- Off The Hook with actor Teri McMinn
- The Business of Chain Saw with production manager Ron Bozman
- House Tour with actor Gunnar Hansen
- Tobe Hooper interview
- Kim Henkel interview
- Deleted scenes
- TV and radio spots
- Stills gallery
And… in addition to what comes with the discs, this limited-edition set also includes:
- A chunky slipcase featuring classic Chain Saw artwork
- A 190-page, illustrated hardback book, with new essays by Heather Buckley, Tim Coleman, Martyn Conterio, Miranda Corcoran, Heather Drain, Lee Gambin, Caden Mark Gardner, Lindsay Hallam, Cerise Howard, Kimberley Lindbergs, Annie Rose Malamet, Maitland McDonagh, Neil Mitchell, Jerome Reuter and Robert Skvarla (and with illustrations by Adam Stothard)
- A blood-red, illustrated inner case/tray to house the three discs
- Six collectors’ art cards
See, I told you there was a lot on offer in this box set! The special features on the discs is enough to keep any horror fan going for weeks, but chuck in all the other material that comes with this limited-edition release and this is very impressive stuff.
I particularly want to highlight how impressed I am with the 190-page hardback book, that is a real treat in this set. It is beautifully put together, and a significant cut above the usual throwaway supplements/sheets that come with home video releases.
Those who buy physical media know that Second Sight Films have been working hard in recent times to put together some great releases, including a number of limited-edition box sets and this is arguably the best to date. With The Texas Chain Saw Massacre the company has really outdone itself, by cramming this release with so much extra content you can’t help but feel this is the treatment all classic films should get.
And now for the important disclaimer!
This isn’t a cheap release – the box set will set you back around £45 (possibly a touch more)– but it is worth every penny. This is a pure treasure trove for Chain Saw fans, and a must-buy for those who love horror.
If you can’t afford the cost of this box set then Second Sight Films has put out two additional releases – a regular 4K copy and a regular Blu-ray copy – and both of these include plenty of special features. However, with the standard editions you don’t get all the limited-edition content (the slipcase, the book, the art cards, etc), so make sure you think carefully about which release you wish to own.
As mentioned above, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 4K UHD/Blu-ray Limited Edition Collector’s Set is now available in shops (if you can find it), and you can buy it online from home video retailers including Amazon UK.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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