SXSW: Restored ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ Heading for Release

MPI/Dark Sky Films will be releasing a restored version Tobe Hooper’s 1974 “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary.

The South by Southwest Film Festival will unveil the restoration Monday at the Topfer Theatre in Austin, Texas, at 9:30 p.m. The new version of the film will be released in theaters this summer with a new 4K transfer from the original 16 mm prints.

Hooper shot the original film in 1973 with a crew of Austin film students and recent graduates in Round Rock, Texas. The movie debuted in drive-ins and eventually grossed $30 million; it was invited to the 1975 Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight and was acquired as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

The restoration was overseen by Todd Wieneke of Dark Sky Films and took place at NOLO Digital Film in Chicago and needed five months of 40-hour workweeks to complete the color grading and the restoration. All 120,960 frames were transferred to a 4K scan.

Hooper, who helped score the film and did the sound design, was also involved with the audio restoration.

“I haven’t seen ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ on the bigscreen for many, many years,” he 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.”

Details regarding the film’s theatrical re-release this summer will be announced in the coming months.

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