Take A Ride In The Black Maria For THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE’s 40th Anniversary

This Blu-ray set is only for the die-hard TCM fan.

One week before the Halloween boxed set falls into my loving arms, horror fans can be just as excited about the 40th anniversary Blu-ray of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, restored (again) and given a 4k transfer. Like Halloween and Evil Dead, TCM has been re-released several times on DVD and Blu, but this one promises to be the be all and end all version that you can safely assume will be the best possible one to have.... at least until the 50th anniversary in 2024.

But will that one come in a truck? Usually special edition packaging like this is more obvious - the Alien movies inside a Xenomorph head, the Phantasm series inside a silver sphere - the inspirations for these designs are pretty clear even if you haven't seen the movies. But the Black Maria truck is a relatively obscure element of the movie - it appears briefly during the climax, with the truck driver briefly playing hero. In his maybe two minutes of screentime, the driver runs down the hitchhiker, hits Leatherface with a wrench... but then botches the rest of his hero act, getting back in his truck and driving off, letting Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) get rescued by someone else. It's such a fast-paced, exhilarating scene that the name of the truck might not even register on first viewing, and if you haven't seen the movie in a long time you might not even understand the reference at all at first.

However, that's what makes it more awesome to me - the $99.98 price point ain't exactly chump change, and the set will be limited, so we can be assured that these sets will go into the hands of die-hard fans who know exactly what "The Black Maria" is on first sight. They're the ones who support the movie with its many re-releases, so they deserve something a little more niche that they can appreciate. It also comes with a Leatherface apron and some mini-posters, plus (obviously) the deluxe release of the Blu-ray. Here's hoping we get a Friday the 13th set packaged inside Nikki's RV someday, or maybe the Elm Street series with a statue of Lowrek, Prince of Elves.

If you're not up for spending 100 bucks on the limited set (which is available exclusively at Gorgon Video for 30 days; it will retail in October), you can of course settle for the traditional (albeit jam-packed) Blu-ray/DVD combo, which has a plethora of new bonus features along with a healthy smattering of the existing ones (I haven't been as diligent with TCM as I am with Halloween, so I couldn't tell you off the top of my head what what's missing, if anything). And if bonus features aren't your thing, you can get a copy that just has the movie (and the commentaries), without the second disc of extras. I missed the theatrical screenings of the new transfer, but I heard nothing but good things about it, and I'm stoked to see that there's a new commentary by Daniel Pearl, the film's DP. I can only hope that there is time to revise the special features slightly; Ms. Burns sadly passed away this week at the age of 64, and while she is of course represented on the set's retrospective features and the cast commentary track, it'd be nice if they could add a little tribute piece to her.

Here are the specs!

Street Date: September 16, 2014
SRP: $24.98 DVD / $29.98 BLU-RAY
Rated R
4k Digital Transfer, 7.1 Surround audio
4 Feature Commentaries:
* Writer-Producer-Director Tobe Hooper, actor Gunnar Hansen, Cinematographer Daniel Pearl
* Actors Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, and Paul A. Partain, and Production Designer Robert Burns
* NEW Commentary with Writer-Producer-Director Tobe Hooper
* NEW Commentary with Cinematographer Daniel Pearl, Editor J. Larry Carroll and Sound Recordist Ted Nicolaou

Street Date: September 16, 2014
SRP: $49.98
Rated R
4k Digital Transfer, 7.1 Surround audio
EXTRAS: All commentaries from above, plus
Collector's Edition Bonus Disc:
* The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Shocking Truth
* Flesh Wounds: Seven Stories of the Saw
* A Tour of the TCSM House with Gunnar Hansen
* Off the Hook with Teri McMinn
* The Business of Chain Saw: An Interview with Production Manager Ron Bozman
* New Deleted Scenes & Outtakes
* Grandpa's Tales: An Interview with John Dugan
* Cutting Chain Saw: An Interview With Editor J. Larry Carroll
* Deleted Scenes & Outtakes
* Blooper Reel
* Outtakes from "The Shocking Truth"
* Horror's Hallowed Grounds: TCSM
* Dr. W.E. Barnes Presents "Making Grandpa"
* Still Gallery
* 40th Anniversary Trailer
* Trailers
* TV Spots
* Radio Spots

OK, spill - how many of you plan to buy the Black Maria set? I'm super tempted just for the sheer charm of it. If you plan on the double disc one, please note that the below Amazon price is currently over 50% off of the list price of $49.98, so a pre-order would be wise.