Restoring Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and its theatrical re-release
It’s not very often horror fans are treated to a theatrical re-release of this magnitude. Not only is Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre making its way back into theaters across the U.S., but it’s a brand new 4K transfer, roughly four times the resolution of today’s more commonly used 2K for cinema. What that basically means is that Leatherface is going to be revving up his chainsaw in theaters louder and more terrifying than we’ve ever seen it before. Now this is cool!
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. An insane amount of hard work went into the restoration as 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. Now that’s dedication.
Using the original 16mm prints brought up a lot of problems such as 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.
Through all that hard work, though, it sounds like every second was worth it because the director himself, Tobe Hooper, 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”.
Below is a list of dates and locations of where one of cinema’s most influential horror films will be playing, so if you live near one of these theaters then you better be marking your calendars!
New York, Film Society of Lincoln Center
New York, IFC Center
Boston, Coolidge Corner
Richardson, TX, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Portland, Hollywood Theatre
Houston, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Kalamazoo, MI, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Winchester, VA, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Washington, DC, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Austin, TX, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Slaughter Lane)
Littleton, CO, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Winston-Salem, NC, a/perture
Eugene, OR, Bijou Metro
Tulsa, OK, Circle Cinema
Yonkers, NY, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Kansas City, MO, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Lubbock, TX, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
New Braunfels, TX, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
San Antonio, TX, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Westlakes)
Nashville, TN, Belcourt
Seattle, WA, SIFF Cinema