This is topic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in forum 8mm Print Reviews at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on November 24, 2004, 04:53 PM:
I'd like to give a little personal history on this super 8 release before the review. Please indulge [Razz]

I purchased this feature from Iver Films back in 1978. This super 8 print was all the rage here in America, since the movie had been released to theaters here in 1974 to huge publicity and controversy, then dissapeared from existence for a few years (after Bryanstone Pictures ran off with all the profits). Many teens my age at the time had never gotten to see it, and it would'nt be until the early 80's that it would recieve wide release again by New Line Cinema.

Everyone asked me "how in the world did you get this? is it boot-leg? this can't be the REAL TCM, is it?" Needless to say, I was the life of many parties for the next few years [Big Grin]

Iver Films of the U.K. released this in I believe three versions-

- a single 400 foot version

- a 4 x 400 foot version (very slightly abridged)

- full length 5 x 400 foot version (unconfirmed)

This review is for the 4 x 400 foot version:

Picture Quality-
the colors on most of the film were very good and sharp, with exception to a few daytime scenes, which seemed a little on the red side. The night scenes were just fine, easy to see what was going on (not always the case on super 8 prints back then, as sometimes night scenes leaned more on the dark side). Grade B.

Sound Quality-
The sound was good, though a little high-toned, which was usually easy to clear up through the tone control switch.
Grade B.

Film Quality-
The film itself was of a thin texture. It did tend to shake a little from time to time, but seemed to improve with each showing. Grade B.

the following scenes were edited out of the 4 x 400 version-
-The pre-title narration and words that come up on the screen before the first scene in the movie telling the history of the "true" story.

-Part of the scene where Sally is beat with the broomstick at the BBQ shack.

-The scene where the younger brother is kicking and slamming the door to the father's truck.

I won't go in to the plot (info available on IMDB). This is a cult horror classic not for all tastes, but one of my favorites, its well made with little on screen gore.

Misc. neat stuff-
- Two very nice clam shell type cases that open up with one 400 foot reel on each side. Nice color illustration on the front. Only a synopsis on the back.

- The Bryanstone Pictures opening logo- this was the original logo that played on the original feature in 1974- VERY COOL, and a little creepy [Eek!] Actually my favorite scene in reel one! Wish they would put it on the DVD. I know, it wouldn't be practical.

Please feel free to add or correct me on this review.

Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on November 24, 2004, 08:39 PM:
I can confirm that it was released full length before the 4 x 400' version was released. I had briefly had a copy which was part of a collection I bought (for other items) and I'm still kicking myself for selling it! I do now have the Iver 400', which is pretty good and a very full reel. In fact Derann also released a different 400' version - which I've never owned - a bit shorter than the Iver version. I heard Derek Simmonds say at least once that the Iver 400' was better! I don't think Iver released the trailer individually, but it appears on two different US horror trailer reels that I have.
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on November 24, 2004, 08:46 PM:
Thanks Adrian-
Thats interesting. I didn't know about the Derann version.

I have a trailer for TCM that was released by Canterbury Films here in the U.S. Very good content and quality.

Posted by Joe Taffis (Member # 4) on November 26, 2004, 02:25 PM:
I also had the 4X400' Iver Film Service edited version in the nice vinyl clamshell cases, and I agree with everything you said about it Nick. I never saw or heard of a full length version...Adrian, who released that one? Do you remember? I also bought a 400' version before I got the IFS had a poor, faded look, and opened with Jerry going to look for Kirk and Pam. I thought it was a Niles release.
Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on December 07, 2004, 12:22 PM:
Yes indeed. A classic horror and an excellent super 8 release. I still have the iver 4 x 400 mounted onto 2 x 800. I also did have the Derann 400ft which contained two extended scenes cut short in the Iver feature. The qaulity of the Derann 400ft was not quite up to the Iver feature, still goo d though so i didnt put it in. There was a 9 reeler but only for rental. In fact a dealer in Scotland almost sold it to me with Low volume sound. When i wrote to Iver asking if i could have the sound re-recorded they were VERY upset that this 9 reeler was even offered to me and i inadvertantly got that Scottish dealer into big trouble as this was only ever meant to be a Hire copy which when finished with had to be returned to Iver films. Hence why i bought the 4 x 400ft brand new. Incidently, the iver 400ft version was far better that the Derann release as it showed all the murders and was a very full 400ft. [Wink]
Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on December 07, 2004, 04:46 PM:
OH NO!!!
It was bad enough that I sold a full-length print years ago, but now I've found out that it was an ultra-rare not-for-sale copy - and the sound was fine! I'd never previously heard Tom's information on the 'hire only' copies - the person who sold it to me did not mention that, but he had worked in the film industry so maybe he had connections that helped him to buy it. He gave me the impression that Iver had initially released it full length and had then decided that it was more practical to make it 4 x 400' rather than put no more than 200' on the 5th spool.

Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on December 09, 2004, 12:10 PM:
I no. I often want to kick myself for not buying it and just getting the sound re-recorded. Mind you back then there was no DVD's and no feature released in this country where i could get the sound as the film was still initially banned outside of London in this country. My big mistake was simply and innocently writing to Iver films to ask if they could get them to record it for me. This resulted in a sale to me of the 4 x 400 from Iver and unfortunatley getting a dealer into big trouble for offering me the full length copy. [Frown]
Oddley enough Iver even recommended the 400ft version as opposed to the feature length version as they said it was fast moving and contained all the murders and would be a better buy. Odd:confused
I'm glad i got the 4 x 400. I must say if anyone gets a chance of the 9 reeler it is very very rare.
Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on December 14, 2004, 05:48 PM:
Tom's reference to hire copies reminds me that a man called Mark Tyler - who used to work in Portland Films - once told me that he hired it (I think it was from Perry's Movies when they were near Wimbledon) while he was still at school, and advertised a screening, with a moderate admission charge to cover costs, at his home to school friends, etc. He was so packed out that he had to show it again the following night!
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on July 31, 2008, 03:17 PM:

I just found that super-cool BRYANSTONE PICTURES logo from the original release of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".

If you saw the movie at theaters when it was released, or own one of the super-8 prints from Iver Films in the 70's, I'm sure you will remember it.

Its ashame that none of the video or DVD releases have kept the logo. It was such a part of that time period.

If you whish, you can view the logo at-


Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on July 31, 2008, 03:28 PM:
Yes indeed, on TCSM the writting is red and not yellow, the same logo also appears at the front of the Dark feature which i am also fortunate to own.
Posted by Joe Taffis (Member # 4) on July 31, 2008, 04:51 PM:
I remember well that creepy start of the feature, loved that opening, that music... but I thought it actually said Bryanston Pictures in that Iver 1st reel opening logo? not just BP... [Confused]
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on July 31, 2008, 06:57 PM:
I was rather unimpressed with this film when I saw it. As a photographer, I thought the filming was quite sloppy (if I'm not impressed with the film, I tend to then observe the technique itself), with an enormous amount of steadicam or the equivilance of it.

The story was rather convoluted in general.

I will say this for it ... I can't think of another film that so ushered in the modern slasher/gore film more than this one.

Sure there are the Mario Bava films, but this "Texas" film really did lower/raise (depending on who you talk to) the bar.

It certainly ushered in the end of the "Vincent Price" styled horror films that I used to love, as it seemed like everybody started to try to ape this film.

Now, "Horror Express", I really enjoyed THAT film! (great cast too!).
Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on August 02, 2008, 05:46 AM:
Joe, you are right, it does have the full logo with Byanstan films, it then morphs to the BP logo,
The opening to the film itself with black screen, the bone crushing sounds and the flash of a red image of various body parts decompossing together with the camera click and electronic sound starts the film well,
Then its bit slow for 30 minuites or so but once it kicks off it doesnt relent,
Compared to todays films it does seem tame but in its day it was quite a movie being banned in most towns and citys over here. Personally i still think its a very good horror film and unlike todays teen slasher shit films it doesnt have to relay on filthy langauge, youngs girls with next to nothing on being knocked up before there hacked up, or a 1000 tons of gore, the TCSM is a well put together film and only costing 300,000 to make and was shot quickly and cheaply using 16mm cameras, not 35mm, it made £6 million in its first year, a pretty good return i'd say for 1974 and certainly for BP pictures.
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on August 03, 2008, 10:42 PM:

I always thought that looked like 16MM, It didn't have the look of 35MM. I must say that for 16MM, it looks better than expected.
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on August 04, 2008, 07:59 AM:
That's correct. It was 16mm. And I believe everyone envolved in making this movie back in 1974 were students in film school. In fact, the whole production story is really quite interesting. CINEMAFANTASTIQUE magazine did an increadibly in-depth story on this movie back in the early 80's (when it was still a good magazine). It tells of the horrendous conditions that had to be endured by everyone envolved, and how mafia-owned Bryanstone Pictures kept all of the money. The actors don't even get royalties [Frown] .

Osi- Yes, this movie did cross boundries in some ways. It certainly wasn't the bloodiest movie to date in 1974 though. Herschell Gordon Lewis had made much bloodier movies in the 60's (Blood Feast, Wizard of Gore, etc.) I think TCM was probably one of the first "good", or "mainstream" movies to depict these kind of demented acts (meathook, chainsaw, etc), while actually displaying MUCH less gore to the viewer.

As a teenager, I did like gore movies, but have no desire for them now. I havent even seen any of the "Saw" movies. I did watch the TCM remake though, and was very dissapointed. I happened to catch part of "Hostel" on cable last year, and it really worries me that these movies take so much pleasure in gratuitous blood, pain, and violence. Why do they keep making these types of movies? Because its what many audiences (especially the young) want to see. And thats REALLY scary.

I still consider TCM (1974) a well made film. With its incredibly low budget, amature film makers, and terrible working conditions, and lack of on-screen gore, its so VERY effective. Which is why its become such a cult-classic today. People even travel across country to see the old house (which is a resturaunt now). But, I'm afraid TCM probably does bear some responsibility in ushering in more violent content and slasher movies.

Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on August 04, 2008, 08:41 PM:

I agree and I think that this TCM did have, (because of the low budget and amatuer film-making), an almost documentary feel at times. I don't think that they intended to make it have that look or feel but with the budget that they had, they couldn't help but have it come out that way.
Posted by Lee Purkis (Member # 2523) on December 23, 2011, 11:14 AM:
Tobe Hooper had worked on many documentary films before he made TCM.
Posted by Joe Taffis (Member # 4) on December 24, 2011, 12:40 PM:
And this was definitely NOT amateur film making. Daniel Pearl was a professional cinematographer even though this was early in his career, and the actors and crew were mostly paid professionals.
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on December 24, 2011, 07:39 PM:
Anybody got any version for sale?
Posted by Brian Hendel (Member # 61) on December 24, 2011, 08:11 PM:
All this talk of TCM has put me in the mood to watch my Iver feature print - so here I am on Christmas Eve watching probably the most inappropriate holiday film of all time! At least I watched "Mickey Mouse's Xmas Carol" first...
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on December 24, 2011, 09:28 PM:

At least you have it to watch!

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Bill Phelps (Member # 1431) on December 25, 2011, 10:39 AM:
Here comes comes leatherface....

Bill [Big Grin]
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on December 31, 2011, 08:04 AM:
They shoulda' remade it as a musical!
Posted by Lee Purkis (Member # 2523) on January 11, 2012, 03:50 PM:
CHC should reissue it, i think they would shift a few copies no problem.
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on January 12, 2012, 12:53 PM:
... right down leatherface lane!

He's got it revved and he's got it oiled,
to hack and slice again!
Posted by Pasquale DAlessio (Member # 2052) on January 14, 2012, 03:43 AM:
He's a cut above the rest!
Posted by Lee Mannering (Member # 728) on January 16, 2012, 05:54 AM:
Very nostalgic reading all the above and I recall hiring the full length super 8 feature in the 70’s from Barry Wiles Films who had a superb film library and always encouraged me when visiting his shop way back then. Such good memories.
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on January 18, 2012, 07:27 AM:
As I mentioned in the original review, this movie was like super 8 "gold" back in the 70's. TCM was released to theaters for a short time in '74. Then received a very short re-release in the later 70's. It did not receive a wide release again until the 80's, when New Line Pictures bought the rights. So, owning this super 8 print in the 70's certainly raised more than a few eyebrows

Sidenote: When I was a senior in high school (1981), some teachers wanted me to show this after school and sell tickets to raise money for the senior class trip. I even ran a clip in the auditorium before school as a promotion for the event. The crowd went wild. When word about this got out, students were falling over each other trying to buy tickets (a sell-out crowd for sure). When the top school administraters got wind of what was going on, they pulled the plug & said NO WAY! Boo. [Wink] .

Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on February 29, 2012, 05:02 AM:
James,I was like yourself back then,showing this film to all and
sundry, even a public show to raise funds for a child who was
very sick and wanted to go to Disneyland but was too ill to travel.
The version I got was one of the first run,as I'd paid for the print
weeks in advance.The film was supplied in blue and white card
boxes with no illustrations and mounted on automatic spools,
5x400 of which the first four were brim full and the fifth held
about 100'.I thought the colour was excellent apart from a
couple of washed out scenes I didn't notice any red scenes and
this film has been shown scores of times.Print was slightly
grainy,but that was due to it being shot on 16mm and then
blown up to 35mm, so considering the transitions it went through, I think the print was very good. Regarding the Logo
for Bryanston, you'll find the same logo on the print of the
classic Sci-Fi "Dark Star" that has similar print quality to TCM
Happy days,when after a session in the pub,it was back to my
gaff with the boys and if it wasn't one of the afore mentioned
films it was some other "horror" or "Spaghetti westerns".It was
good for a while, then video took hold.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on March 02, 2012, 05:37 PM:
Coming back in it must have been a year after the longer version
was first released that a revised slightly shorter version was put
out probably about the same time that Derann had the 17min
version out while Ivers ran 21.If memory serves me correct
I'm pretty sure that Derann also had 17 min versions of other
Iver releases like "Treasure Island".In short something must've
been said and the Derann short releases were withdrawn,I do know that Derann had the 16mm features in their hire library.
As has already been stated the DFS version of "chain saw"
wasn't very good including dupey colour.Thunderbird also did
a very good trailer reel that included this and "Blood Feast",
"Two Thousand Maniacs" etcI still have my copy and colour is
still very good and this is after 34 years.
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on March 03, 2012, 06:20 AM:
Hugh- Very neat and interesting stories about showing this movie. Kids today would never understand these sorts of things. Everything is so instant now. Pretty much anything you want to see now can be instantly watched on "You-Tube", etc. [Roll Eyes] . Back in the 70's we cherished our little 10 or 15 minute digests. There was a certain satisfaction to it, and I don't think kids experience it today with so much "instant gratification". Its truley thier loss, and its ashame.

Oh by the way, I have that trailer reel too. Its a neat reel. I think I got it from Canterbury Films around 1980. Its always had a sort of slight sepia look to it, with some colors. I'll have to see how mine's held up through the years.

Posted by Brian Hendel (Member # 61) on March 03, 2012, 12:41 PM:
Ironically my Derann TCM digest has MUCH better color than my Iver digest... although the Iver digest is a much better edit, of course. However, Derann's came with half a Scars of Dracula trailer on the end. I always thought that a little odd. They had half the trailer negative left over from the part they used for the Movie Magazine Hammer edition which started with the first half of the Scars trailer... and they threw the second half on the end of TCM - guess it was laying around and they didn't quite know what to do with it.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on March 03, 2012, 07:00 PM:
Tom,Adrian,put your minds at ease,the longer version was not just for hire,as Ive already said it was the very first run that was done that way,then a shortened but improved print was done,although
Iwas quite happy with the original.When Iver released the'scope
"My Name is Nobody",they missed the whole point of the film and
omitted the end of the film,making the excuse that an audience
would accept the end that was given as contractually they
couldn't release it full length!It's another reason why my copy was quickly disposed of and nailed on 16mm complete.As for
"Texas" prints keep appearing,lets face it,it certainly put Iver
on the film collecting map so there must be a few copies
floating around before it was abbrieviated.
Posted by Glenn Fossum (Member # 4454) on September 17, 2014, 08:56 AM:
Hi new to this forum..and heard alot of good stuff..So i thought i could try to ask u about an TCM Reel i bought the other day from a guy in israel,its one 400 reel..and he said it was from " american pictures " in america..and it was super rare.. it was not like the UK editions..he havent seen another copy in 30 im just u guys know something about this release ? and there is different editing.. Greetings Glenn..
Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on September 19, 2014, 11:37 AM:
As far as I am aware there were only two 400 foot extracts released, one from Derann which was approx. 330ft long and only showed excerpts after the first two killing, then Iver themselves release a 400 footer which was a full 400ft and showed all the killings. The Derann version had a free scars of Dracula teaser trailer attached to it. Any other 400 foot version will be news to me. [Wink]
The other releases were from Iver as a 5x400 footer but mainly the 4 x 400 footer which we have.
Posted by Marshall Crist (Member # 1312) on September 19, 2014, 12:44 PM:
I have been the underbidder on the last two Iver copies of the 400' on eBay. Last one was very faded or I would have gone much higher. If anyone wants to sell me one, I think I can make it worth your while.
Posted by Brian Hendel (Member # 61) on October 01, 2014, 06:06 PM:
I think that was my print. Considering the fade, it went for more than it was worth so it's good you stopped bidding. I'm holding onto my Iver feature and my Derann digest which both look pretty darn good. The cool thing about the Derann digest is that it has the John Laraquette prologue narration that Iver clipped off the feature.
Posted by Brian Fretwell (Member # 4302) on February 26, 2015, 06:06 PM:
I've just found an old Derann catalogue (A5 colour) that shows some films "to be released late 1978" and it has TCSM, Dark Star, Wombling Free and Treasure Island 400ft extracts, but all are overprinted in green as "Withdrawn". The box art for all but "Wombling Free" is shown (in B&W) and clearly has "Free preview trailer included" on all of them.

I only have an odd reel of this film, the final reel and last time I showed it is was rather faded. I'll have to have another look.
Posted by Bill Shenette (Member # 4561) on March 19, 2015, 08:16 AM:
I met this guy in person got an autograph :)R.A. Mihailoff,
This guy was the one who took up the mighty chainsaw for the title role in 1990's he was in the In the first Texas Chainsaw movie,?
Posted by Mark Williams (Member # 794) on March 19, 2015, 04:30 PM:

Please check out this article I've just written on TCM on my website.

My first experience of Texas was secretly borrowing a full length 8mm print from the film shop I worked in on a Saturday called Movieden which was located in Lower Addiscombe Road,Croydon,I was only 13 at the time so would have not been allowed to rent it otherwise.

The film was quite an experience for me as I had only ever seen Hammer Horror movies and this was very very far removed from any of them.

I have since gone on to own at least 4 full length prints in the past and the 400fts released by Iver/Derann too.

I'm still looking for that fabled 5x 400ft rental only version though [Smile]

I hope you enjoy my article.
Posted by Harm Jan Heling (Member # 3458) on March 27, 2015, 04:46 PM:
Just found my 4x400' print again, I knew I had it somewhere :-)

Posted by Steve Carter (Member # 4821) on April 27, 2015, 01:21 PM:
I have just picked up a print on 2 x 600ft reels at a ridiculous low price. I don't know if it's the Iver print squeezed onto these two reels or if there is 400 ft missing, as I have not viewed it yet as projector is awaiting parts.Any thoughts?
Posted by Brian Fretwell (Member # 4302) on September 06, 2017, 03:51 PM:
With the death of Tobe Hooper and another mention on the forum I got out my odd part, described as the last half hour, that I bought at a convention many years ago. I suspected it would have faded, but despite not being able to see a stock edge mark it was looking pretty good, the leader countdown numbers were in several colours all looking quite correct.

As this runs from the last surviving girl being tied up and put in the pick-up to be taken to the house it works well as it stands.

My biggest surprise when checking the tail for film stock name was that it had end of part 5 so it seems to have come from an early un-edited print from Buck labs. As the whole reel (un-boxed) was only £5 I think I got a bargain.

Thinking back to its original UK release those hire prints must have done good business as only the GLC gave it a cinema licence, so it could only be seen in London or from hired prints on 16mm or Super8 in the rest of the country.

[ September 07, 2017, 05:55 AM: Message edited by: Brian Fretwell ]
Posted by Burton Sundquist (Member # 5813) on July 29, 2018, 09:59 PM:
...Through this thread I learned of the different releases, lengths and distributors. I had seen and even bid on 2 separate 400' Iver digests, each selling over $250. I really wanted the scarce Full-feature Iver release, and was quite surprised to see it pop up on eBay last month, even more surprised there was only one other bidder, and I won the print. The version I received is indeed the full feature, originally mounted on 5 X 400', but arrived with reel 1 on 600', reels 2 and 3 on 400' reels in blue and white Iver boxes and reels 4 and 5 joined and mounted on 600'.
Aside from an emulsion scratch on reel 2 that comes and goes, the print is clean. The color is slightly muted although the picture is sharp. Some scenes have a slight pinkish hue but the print is not Red. I am impressed with how well this print has held up. The sound quality is very good throughout, I was unable to detect any deficiencies worth noting. Considering the limited number of these prints produced and seldom up for offer, I am happy with it and despite the reel 2 scratch I consider myself fortunate.
I might ad I owe it to the many contibutors of this thread for their extensive knowledge and experience regarding this particular print. For that I am Thankful.









[ July 30, 2018, 12:34 AM: Message edited by: Burton Sundquist ]
Posted by Tom Photiou (Member # 130) on July 30, 2018, 06:49 AM:
Burton, you did very well to find this 5 x 400ft full feature. We only have the 4 x 400ft version but ours is blessed with very good colour still, at present it is one i keep looking at to consider keeping or not.
The only problem i have with mine, (since brand new in 79) is the last 400ft is around 4 maybe 5 frames out of sync. Fortunately 90% of this reel is noise and screaming so it is only noticed in a few small sections, aside this its an almost perfect print.
When we first bought it Iver were not helpful, i sent it back for a re record or replacement and they said no as leader had been shortened, to say we were cheesed off was an understatement as we never cut anything off, we never did that until prints were checked fr faults, all we did was trim the tip for threading. If this had been today's trading environment they would not have not have got away with it.
Still a good old horror classic though [Wink]
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on August 01, 2018, 11:53 AM:
I have to say that this has never bee a favorite film of mine, but I also have to say that it is an EXCELLENT print, considering that (from what I understand) this was originally filmed on 16MM to begin with and it looks GREAT for an orignal source that was 16MM!
Posted by David Skillern (Member # 607) on August 05, 2018, 05:20 AM:
I bought my copy from Phil from Classic Home Cinema at his stall at Blackpool Northwest Film Convention last November - I haven't got around to screening it yet !!

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