The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Blue Plate Special

It’s the Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s 40th Anniversary.

A friend of mine ranks director Tobe Hooper’s low-budget masterpiece above ‘Citizen Kane’ in importance. It’s been cited as the best template for ‘true’ horror: a movie where no hero saves the day and the monster doesn’t die.

Thanks to the 4K transfer recently released on BluRay, Leatherface lives in better condition than ever. Nearly 1,000 hours of color grading and restoration work took place during the transfer process from the original 16mm A/B rolls.  Hooper even got involved with the audio restoration.

I had my Texas Chainsaw cherry shredded at MondoCon, watching the film’s 4K remastering on the big screen.  The movie was accompanied by a new score, played live and damn loud by composers Umberto and Antoni Maiovvi.

Releasing a series of new scores for classic horror titles is a great idea, fitting with the Mondo mindset.  But this first foray’s crossbreed of Italo-Disco and No Wave noise didn’t function like a soundtrack should; it amplified sound instead of mood, and often drowned out the dialogue.  Death Waltz Originals released a limited-edition vinyl, which is perhaps the better experience.

Feeling a little empty from the ear-bleeding experience, it was a great pleasure to get filled up by another Texas Chainsaw Massacre tie-in — the Grand Central Cafe and Club Car Lounge.

The Grand Central Cafe (aka The Texas Chainsaw House)

The Grand Central Cafe (aka The Texas Chainsaw House)

The Grand Central Cafe originally stood on Quick Hill in Robinson County, and was home to those cannibalistic sausage-eaters, the Sawyer family.  The classic Queen Anne cottage was dismantled and relocated to Kingsland, TX, amidst the gorgeous Texas Hill Country.  I headed out for lunch with a posse of horror directors, actors, distributors, producers and festival organizers from across the British Commonwealth.

It’s a pilgrimage all true horror fans should make, especially if carnivorous.  The solicitous chef provided heaping servings of real Texas grub — creamed corn soup, creamy shrimp gravy served with buttered toast, chicken-fried steak as thick as the Bible, a two-pound burger with a knife stuck through the center, surrounded by perfect onion rings, washed down with a potent summer cocktail: Leatherface Lemonade.

A killer cocktail made with copious amounts of Jack Daniel's.

A killer cocktail made with copious amounts of Jack Daniel’s.

 

Who needs a chainsaw to finish one off, when you can simply order deep-fried pancake balls stuffed with chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch chips?

If you can handle over 3,000 calories in one sitting, this is the place to lunch.  It’s clearly a local favorite, and the occasional appearance of tattooed horror fans seems to add to the diners’ delight.  One woman couldn’t stop cooing over us — “I just think you all are so cute with your cameras out, takin’ pictures.  So you all are fans of the Texas Chainsaw Mass-acre?  All that blood?  I just think it’s precious and I love that you all have your cameras.”

Honestly, the staircase is the only original fixture left from the film’s time period.  And the restaurant’s merchandise inexplicably uses the logo of the remake.  But for a fanboy day trip, Grand Central fit the bill and burst the stomach.

 

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