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Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre restored for theatrical re-release!

Mar. 6, 2014by: Ryan Miller

We've got some fantastic news to toss your way today regarding Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE! Your chance to see one of the most influential horror films to ever grace the genre on the big screen are just around the corner! MPI/Dark Sky Films, one of the leading distributors of independent and genre films, announced today they will be releasing a restored version THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. The re-release comes in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary, with the restoration having its unveiling at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas next week.

The new version of the film will be released in theaters this summer with a brand new 4K transfer, roughly four times the resolution of today’s more commonly used 2K for cinema. This is the only transfer of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE to go back to the original 16mm A/B rolls, the actual film that rolled through the cameras. To get an idea of how much work went into this restoration, NOLO engineer Boris Seagraves stated, "This film probably needed the most restoration of any project we’ve done.” It took 5 months of 40-hour workweeks to complete the color grading and the restoration of the entire film.

And because they used the original 16mm prints, they ran into all sorts of problems like scratches, film stains, chemical stains, dirt, torn perforations, rips in the film image and glue splices, making the frame by frame restoration process a pain-staking one. “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.

After all that hard work, it sounds like it paid off because Tobe Hooper himself said, "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".

Now, 40 years after it’s initial release and coming back home, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE's new transfer can be seen with a fresh pair of eyes having its world premiere at SXSW, Monday, March 10th at 9:30pm at the Topfer Theatre. Artist Jason Edmiston created a new poster for the SXSW premiere and it's glorious. Check it out below!

Extra Tidbit: Will any of you guys be seeking out this one when it hits theaters?
Source: Arrow in the HeadEW

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7:35AM on 03/07/2014
I'm not sure if improving the picture quality is exactly the smart move to make since a film like TCM is one of those films that has a more interesting look to it when it has the grainy, worn out look to it. The old quality helps give this film more character to it.
I'm not sure if improving the picture quality is exactly the smart move to make since a film like TCM is one of those films that has a more interesting look to it when it has the grainy, worn out look to it. The old quality helps give this film more character to it.
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