Oil up your chainsaw, get your skin-mask out of the mothballs, and pile into the van because there is some news to celebrate. 2014 marks the anniversary of one of the most influential genre films of all time. MPI/Dark Sky Films has announced Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre will be returning to theaters in a way never seen before. The film’s original 16mm print has undergone a frame-by-frame 4K restoration for a presentation at four times the resolution of a standard film in theaters today.
The process of restoration was a painstaking procedure that took 5 months of 40-hour weeks to complete. the longest restoration process NOLO Digital Film in Chicago has undertaken to date. Boris Seagraves, an engineer at NOLO, spoke on the hardships of restoring the film from its original print:
“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.”
It seems all that work was not in vein because even Tobe Hooper has commented on the restoration, calling it “the best the film has ever looked.” The film will also be presented with a restored 7.1 Digital soundtrack creating a horror-experience like never before. The restored version will premiere at SXSW next week and make its way to a wide-release sometime this summer.