Images, poster and info: “TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE” restoration


For its 40th anniversary, Tobe Hooper’s classic THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is coming back to big screens in a restored version that will premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX next week. Read on for the details and some sample images.

The new CHAINSAW shows at SXSW next Monday, March 10 at 9:30 p.m., with details of this summer’s theatrical rerelease to be announced in the coming months. EW unveiled the poster created by artist Jason Edmiston to mark the event, which you can also see below. Here’s all the info courtesy of MPI/Dark Sky Films, which is behind the restoration:

“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 CHAINSAW MASSACRE to go back to the original 16mm A/B rolls, the actual film that rolled through the cameras.


“The restoration of the film, overseen by Todd Wieneke of Dark Sky Films, took place at NOLO Digital Film in Chicago with the use of an ARRISCAN Film Scanner. Taking five months of 40-hour work weeks to complete the color grading and the restoration, NOLO engineer Boris Seagraves states, ‘This film probably needed the most restoration of any project we’ve done.’

“Having been shot on less expensive 16mm film stock and cheaper, tougher reversal stock (which means there is no negative), the restoration started by taking the original 16mm film that rolled through the cameras and transferred all 120,960 frames to a 4K scan. Scratches, film stains, chemical stains, dirt, torn perforations, rips in the film image and glue splices had to go through a painstaking correction process frame by frame.


“ ‘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 200 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 ’70s 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,’ says Seagraves.

“Estimating that he spent about 50 hours on the color correction alone, NOLO Colorist Michael Matusek used a previous transfer of the film that had been supervised by Tobe Hooper as his guide to a rough color correction. Tobe Hooper then gave notes on this roughly timed version, and the process of adjusting the color began. Hooper, who helped score the film and did the sound design, was also deeply involved with the audio restoration.


“Todd Wieneke states, ‘I’ve seen the film literally frame-by-frame and I’m still hearing and seeing things I never noticed before…it just adds a whole different level.’ Matusek adds, ‘This 4K scan delivers such an intense reality that it feels like you’re really seeing through the film to the actual world behind it.’

“Tobe Hooper states, ‘I haven’t seen THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE on the big screen for many, many years. 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.’ ”

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Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold has been a member of the FANGORIA team for the past three decades. After starting as a writer for the magazine in 1988, he came aboard as associate editor in 1990 and two years later moved up to managing editor. He now serves as editor-in-chief of the magazine while continuing to contribute numerous articles and reviews, as well as a contributing editor/writer for this website.
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