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New 2-Disc Region 1 NTSC DVD of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974) in the works!

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#1 of 201 OFFLINE   Scott Temple

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Posted February 04 2005 - 10:04 AM

From here

February 4: RIP Paul Partain; new CHAINSAW & HENRY DVDs

As has been reported on other genre sites, actor Paul A. Partain, forever remembered by horror fans for playing the wheelchair-bound Franklin in the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, died last week at age 58 of cancer. You can find more info here. Blue Underground’s David Gregory wrote Fango to say that Partain was "a lovely bloke who was extremely hospitable to me and my two English cronies when we went to Texas a few years back to shoot my first documentary, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE SHOCKING TRUTH, armed only with a camcorder and a love of Tobe Hooper’s classic. I was also fortunate enough to moderate a commentary track a few months ago with Paul, Marilyn [Sally] Burns, Robert Burns, the great art director of CHAINSAW, also now gone, and Allen [Jerry] Danziger," seen above left to right, with Gregory on the far right.

But what’s that about a commentary? Sounds like a fresh DVD of CHAINSAW is in the offing, and Gregory confirms, "MPI Home Video has been preparing, for some time now, a new two-disc special edition of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. They licensed THE SHOCKING TRUTH—an 80-minute, updated version—and since then they’ve asked me to produce some other extras for it. They include that commentary, and various others we’re compiling right now. They’re also doing a new transfer, and I know that MPI has met with Tobe and Kim [Henkel, screenwriter], but I don’t know the extent of their involvement, if any. MPI doesn’t have a date at the moment, so it’s still up in the air as to when it will be released. Suffice to say that it will blow away any previous release of CHAINSAW to date."

DVD-philes might be wondering why the new CHAINSAW won’t be coming out under the Blue Underground label, and Gregory explains, "Basically, Blue Underground sometimes produces extras for other DVD companies, MPI being one of them. For example, we’ve just produced a long documentary on HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER for another upcoming new special edition, which features everybody from that movie. We have director John McNaughton, producer Steve Jones, the DP, Charlie Lieberman, the editor, Elena Maganini, and the stars, Michael Rooker, Tom Towles and Tracy Arnold. There’s also a very interesting bit with Lisa Temple, the woman in the home invasion; it was her very first movie, and she passed out during the shooting of that scene. They’ve done a new hi-def transfer of HENRY with McNaughton supervising, and I’ve recorded a new commentary with him. There’s a documentary about Henry Lee Lucas, a bunch of storyboards—it’s a great package that’s also going to be two discs’ worth."

Of course, Gregory has also been hard at work on titles to be released under the BU banner. "We just finished up BAD BOY BUBBY, which is a masterpiece of Australian cinema and a very bizarre film. There’s an interview with Rolf de Heer, the director, an interview with the star, Nicholas Hope, and a short film with Hope that got him the role, where he plays a serial killer. It’s called THE CONFESSOR CARESSER, and it’s equally freaky. We’re also getting started on Dario Argento’s THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE; we’re doing a new hi-def transfer from the original negative, and that’s underway in Rome right now. We have a new interview with Dario, and one with actress Eva Renzi.

Finally, Gregory reveals, "We’ve made good progress on the BLIND DEAD boxed set; we’ve found good elements on NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS, the fourth film. The transfers on the first three are all either completed or underway, and we’re also gathering a few tasty extras, but I can’t say what they are yet. A couple of them will include Amando de Ossorio, the late director." Look for release date updates on all these titles as soon as we find ’em out. —Michael Gingold

Finally! Posted Image Posted Image Chainsaw '74 in 16x9! Plus, we'll also finally be getting that awesome documentary, "The Shocking Truth!" And that new commentary track sounds awesome too. Can't wait for this!
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#2 of 201 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted February 04 2005 - 10:34 AM

Yeah, it does sound pretty cool. And I'm a sucker so I'll buy it againPosted Image

#3 of 201 OFFLINE   JonZ


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Posted February 04 2005 - 11:45 AM

"Finally! Chainsaw '74 in 16x9!"

I just got the Pioneer disc at BestBuy for $6Posted Image

To tell you the truth I didnt even notice if it was 16x9 or not.

#4 of 201 OFFLINE   Jesse Blough

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Posted February 04 2005 - 01:46 PM

Yes, I must have this. Posted Image

#5 of 201 OFFLINE   Ken Groulx

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Posted February 04 2005 - 04:43 PM

That's very cool news. I was a little surprised that a special edition of the original TCM wasn't prepared to coincide with the release of the remake, but better late than never I guess. The Digital Bits had a quite revealing interview in their review about the problems that were incurred on the transfer for the original Pioneer DVD release. This new version sounds very promising, however, and I'm looking forward to it.

#6 of 201 OFFLINE   Justin_S



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Posted February 04 2005 - 06:24 PM

I'm definitely double dipping on both The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Two great classics here, and it'll be great seeing better pic quality for both of them, not to mention going through the new features. The Henry disc out now is pretty crappy all around, so its especially nice to hear that its getting fixed up.

As far as the Blue Underground news go, I can't wait for that Blind Dead box set. It'll be great to finally watch the films in that series that I have yet to see. There's also no way I'll pass up their Giallo Collection #2.

#7 of 201 OFFLINE   SteveGon


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Posted February 05 2005 - 04:19 AM

Might just have to pick up Henry. Posted Image

BTW, didn't I read somewhere the BU had acquired the rights to The Quiet Earth? Excitin' news if it's true.

#8 of 201 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted February 05 2005 - 04:29 AM

Tremendous news, Scott - well spotted! Posted Image

Texas Chainsaw Massacre just seems to get better with age, if you ask me. I hope that this new transfer is truly as good as possible: new print from 16mm negative; high-def 16x9 anamorphic transfer; digitally repaired frame-by-frame.

Great news about the Tombs of the Blind Dead boxed set. I have always worried about the elements to Night of the Seagulls; the negative is lost, apparently and the only good prints have various subtitles on buried into them.

Yes, great news, indeed!

#9 of 201 OFFLINE   AlexHL


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Posted February 05 2005 - 06:37 AM

Wow, excellent news. I'll be picking up both TCM and Henry for sure.

#10 of 201 OFFLINE   Steve_Knutzen



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Posted February 05 2005 - 06:55 AM

And to think, I just purchased TCM: The Shocking Truth last week. Oh well. Definitely will be picking up TCM and Henry too.
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#11 of 201 OFFLINE   Bleddyn Williams

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Posted February 05 2005 - 08:46 AM

Interesting! Right now the two best versions of Texas & Henry are probably the UK versions. I upgraded to them from the current US versions a while ago, and the jump was definitely worthwhile in both cases.

The old US Texas disc looked like crap on my 53" set through a progressive scan player. The transfer is similar, but free from artifacting on the Universal UK disc, and it includes the SHOCKING TRUTH documentary.

Henry from Optimum in the UK is markedly better looking than the poor MPI disc here.

Both are often cheap from UK vendors...



so you might want to take a look, unless you're happy to simply wait for these new versions, which will probably trump them.

#12 of 201 OFFLINE   Rolando



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Posted February 05 2005 - 08:52 AM

wasn't there a re-release of this already? with like a black shiny cover?

is it the same as the Elite edition I have? am I missing anything?
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#13 of 201 OFFLINE   TravisR


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Posted February 05 2005 - 08:55 AM

The shiny black cover one is the same disc as the original release with the movie poster as the cover art. The only difference between those two releases is the cover.

#14 of 201 OFFLINE   Scott Temple

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Posted February 05 2005 - 11:58 AM

Yes, as TravisR said, the contents of Pioneer's 2003 re-release disc are exactly the same as their original 1998 disc. Same non-anamorphic botched transfer, same extras. The only difference is the cover art. What a sorry excuse for a re-release that was. With the exception of the film transfer, both Pioneer DVDs (1998 and 2003) are direct ports of Elite Entertainment's 1996 LaserDisc. While the LD's transfer greatly benefited from digital line removal, etc., the transfer that ended up on Pioneer's 1998 and 2003 DVDs was the incorrect one; the one without any cleanup. The extras on the LD are the same extras found on both DVDs.

What I'm wondering is....

In addition to all of the new additions ("The Shocking Truth" documentary, the new commentary track with David Gregory, Paul Partain, Marilyn Burns, Robert Burns, and Allen Danziger, etc.) will all of the extras on the 1998/2003 disc (commentary track with Tobe Hooper, Daniel Pearl, and Gunnar Hansen, Deleted Scenes and Alternate Footage, Blooper Reel, Trailers and Televison Spots, Still Photos, and Posters and Collectibles) be ported over to this new 2-Disc DVD Set? If not, I'll have to keep my 1998 disc. Also, I hope this new release uses the 1998 art (or something just as cool) and not that lame 2003 art.

Posted Image 1998 art

Posted Image 2003 art Posted Image 2003 alternate "limited" art - Almost forgot about that awful cover - LOL! Posted Image

The menus on the current Pioneer disc are pretty cool.
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#15 of 201 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti



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Posted February 05 2005 - 01:18 PM

I guess my wait will soon pay off!

I wonder if we'll be lucky enough to see "A Family Portrait" included on disc two as an extra...

All I can say is - it's about damn time that this movie finally gets a proper release!

#16 of 201 OFFLINE   Mitch Stevens

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Posted February 05 2005 - 08:12 PM

it's about damn time that this movie finally gets a proper release!

We shouldn't get our hopes up! Pioneer had a perfectly good and proper transfer that had been digitally clean-up to use on the Region 1 release, and yet they purposely chose to use the non-fixed one. We can't trust them!

With that said, I have both, the Region 1, original Pionner release as well as the UK Region 2 PAL release that contains that documentary "The Shocking Truth."

When I carefully compared both versions, it was very clear (no pun intended) that the Region 2 DVD was far superior to the Region 1 release. The image was a hell of a lot sharper, and far more detailed than the Region 1 DVD. A lot of people have said that the region 2 DVD also used the wrong transfer, but I think they are wrong, as the difference between the two DVDs is night and day.

#17 of 201 OFFLINE   Scott Temple

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Posted February 06 2005 - 06:35 AM

I thought I'd re-post that message from Don May, Jr. The link's no longer active, but here's a transcript. From November 4, 2003.

Well, well well... it seems that my mailbox has been flooded with folks asking me about this high-def TEXAS CHAINSAW promo they saw at the Chiller show last weekend for the HD HORROR Channel on the VOOM HD Satellite System.
I was sworn to secrecy on this one. The company told me to keep my trap shut on it but, obviously, VOOM is now promoting it, so I can finally speak about it... and, hopefully, stop the barrage of emails I've been getting on a subject that I couldn't talk about. I called them yesterday, mentioned the promo and they were a little surprised, but they are now telling me I can speak about it since the TV sale is a done deal.

A few months ago, I mentioned I was working on a top-secret project and that Synapse stuff had kinda been "put on hold", as it were, while said project was being done.

Well, kiddies... I was working on a new version of the original CHAINSAW. The company that owned it knew about my expertise with the title and figured that, since they needed a new high-def version for broadcast, that they would hire me to do it. They were going to pay me well and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to do this again, so I did it.

There does indeed exist a new 1.78:1 anamorphic HD D5 version of TCM out there now and the only way you can see it is if you come over to my house (I have an NTSC 16:9 DVD of my new transfer right here that I had made for myself and no one else! ), or subscribe to the new HD VOOM Satellite service (available, I think, at Sears).

Now, I do not own this title. Synapse (at least right now) is NOT putting out a new DVD of this. Neither is anyone else for that matter. I do not know what the company will do with their new HD transfer except that they needed it for a TV sale. RIGHT NOW THERE IS NO NEW DVD PLANNED (sorry for the shouting, but I know how rumors get started)!

I recently completed a 35mm film-output test (a la the new release of ALIEN) on the new version to see what it looks like with all the new corrections. I have seen the blow-up test and the technology they have today is REALLY amazing. It looks so much better than the other 35mm blow-ups that have been done on this over the years (I personally compared my new test with the last reel of New Line Cinemas re-release dupe neg from the 80s and the difference is astonishing.)

As many of you know with the history of TCM, the restoration I did about 7-8 years ago was pretty extensive and... yep... I've spent the last few months DOING IT ALL OVER AGAIN. The splice line removals, painting out blemishes, correcting faded materials, etc. To some extent I'm STILL working on it as I feel I still need at least another 5-6 ours of restoration to make it perfect and I spent 11.5 hours going through it frame-by-frame myself (on one very lonely Sunday afternoon in Burbank at IVC), then spent another 36 hours painting and removing the splice lines already. Most of my remaining work will be on the B roll of Reel 1 [seems to have been eaten by a moose, or something and crapped out again and contains some wacky dirt we will have to remove digitally]. It wasn't there before and I don't exactly know what happened yet, but it still blows away the old transfer by a longshot (Don't EVEN get me started on that recent re-release sham from Pioneer that proudly proclaims it as a NEW transfer... sheesh... there outta be a law against what they did. It was NEW eight years ago. I don't mind them re-releasing it to capitalize on the remake but, for crying out loud, they made it sound like it was all-new and it was nothing more than a repackage).

If all goes well, we may do a regional/limited theatrical restored release of TCM next year... maybe. It's not 100% yet.

I am also still working on a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix, which isn't quite done yet (on VOOM they are playing it in Stereo Surround).

So there you have it...

I think I can breathe a little easier now.

Oh, and by the way... we will be releasing Dusty Nelson's long-lost snuff-film classic EFFECTS (1978), too... But we have to make new elements for that, so I have no further info at this time other than Dusty and star/producer/composer John Harrison are extensively involved with Synapse on this one. More to come as that develops (pun most definitely intended).

Modified by Don May, Jr. at Tue, Nov 04, 2003, 11:02:06

I sent an e-mail to Pioneer in October 2003 in regards to their new old TCM DVD. Here is that message.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing in regards to Pioneer's new 30th Anniversary DVD of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974) which was released earlier this week [10/14/03]. First and foremost, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" is one of my most favorite horror films. I purchased Pioneer's original DVD release of the film (released on 10/06/98) in 1999 and was most satisfied with it at the time. Over the last five years, however, it has become apparent that much more could, (and in my opinion should), be done with this film on DVD.

For starters, it appears that Pioneer used the wrong transfer when producing the original DVD in 1998. As I understand it, a gentleman by the name of Don May, Jr. worked for Elite and was responsible for producing the transfer that Elite used for their LaserDisc in 1996. For the LaserDisc, they cleaned up the transfer by means of digital line removal and correcting a bad optical effect and even had to make a new 16mm internegative from the original A/B roll negatives. When Pioneer produced their original DVD in 1998 they apparently used the backup tape that wasn't fixed. You can read about that here. http://www.thedigita...awmassacre.html

Second, the transfer is not enhanced for 16:9 (anamorphic) widescreen televisions. In the age when widescreen TVs are becoming more common, believe me, this is a most important factor. I have always been pro anamorphic widescreen (even before I owned a 16x9 set) and even though consumers were more forgiving of non-anamorphic transfers in 1998, there really is no good excuse for studios to be releasing non-anamorphic transfers in 2003.

And that brings me back to the topic at hand. When I first heard about this new 30th Anniversary DVD of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" I was ecstatic. I thought for sure that I would finally be able to own this great film on DVD with a new (corrected) 16x9 enhanced transfer. Imagine my disappointment when I found out is was just a repackaging of the 1998 disc with different cover art. Not only is it the same transfer from the '98 release, but Pioneer didn't even add any additional special features. The special features on the DVD are excellent, but for a 30th Anniversary DVD I would think "Chainsaw" fans should get a little more than they got five years ago. There is a 72 minute documentary called "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Shocking Truth" (2000) produced by David Gregory and Exploited Video in the UK. I have to wonder why this wasn't included on Pioneer's new DVD? It's been popping up on several other DVD editions (2 Disc Sets) of the film in other regions. Other DVD editions also include new interviews with Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, but these are also absent from Pioneer's new disc.

Overall, I'm very disappointed with this new "30th Anniversary" DVD. I will not be purchasing it and will instead keep the 1998 DVD in my collection. I would have gladly repurchased if Pioneer had included a new (corrected) 16x9 enhanced transfer and/or "The Shocking Truth" documentary, but I'm not purchasing the same 1998 DVD just because it has new packaging and cover art and is labeled as a "30th Anniversary Edition." If you are interested in what other consumers think of this new disc you can read about that here. http://www.hometheat...aw Massacre DVD

Bottom line: For a "30th Anniversary Edition" DVD, this disc is really weak.

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#18 of 201 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted February 06 2005 - 07:33 AM

It's a funny thing with me and TCM -- I think it's one of the few films that works better when it actually looks a little raw and like someone's sick home movie. Cleaning it up and enhancing it too much ruins the effect, IMO.

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Posted February 06 2005 - 05:00 PM

Dammit! I'll miss you Paul. I'm sure many other fans of the TRUE Texas Chainsaw Massacre will as well. I realise Franklin wasn't neccesarily a sympathetic character but I always felt sorry for him anyway, considering how badly everyone treated him (except maybe Pam and Sally) on August 18, 1973( I think that's the right date). I can't wait for the new DVDPosted Image
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#20 of 201 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted February 07 2005 - 08:03 AM

Put me down for the new TCM and Henry as well.

What's the blind Dead all about? People seem pretty excited by this one, but I'm not familier.

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