The Jim Cummings Trilogy, Upgraded

Alternatively, some say the "Officer Jim" trilogy concluded with Halloween Kills.
IFC Films just recently released the latest feature film by actor/ writer/ producer/ director Jim Cummings on home video.  It's often referred to as a trilogy, but really it's just an arbitrary designation for the fact that he's now made three feature films in a row, this being the third.  There's no story or character continuity across them.  And he's made other films in the past... a series of short films, as well as working on other peoples' work, perhaps most notably Greener Grass, as the ex-boyfriend forced to deliver a eulogy at the candlelight vigil for a woman he barely knew.  According to the imdb, he actually has a visual effects credit on Captain America: Winter Solider.  But for now, until he makes his fourth film, this is the trilogy.

Update 5/20/22 - 6/3/23: Adding the new, Arrow's fancy, new 2-disc special edition of The Beta Test, plus IFC's 2022 DVD, just to be thorough.
Thunder Road starts us off in 2018 with Cummings expanding his 2016 short film, also called Thunder Road, into a full-length drama.  Or dark comedy.  All three of his films, and all the shorts I've seen from him, walk a thin, empathetic line between comedy and drama, finding the humor in painfully honest moments, without losing sight of the powerful, emotional beats for any cheap laughs.  It all comes out of character, which Cummings (and the rest of his consistently strong casts) fleshes out, dancing right up to the edge of going over the top, but never quite losing its footing.
In Thunder Road, Cummings is a police officer named Jim, whose mother has just passed away.  He struggles desperately to keep a lid on things, but grief and bursts of volatile anger continue to chip away at everything in his life, from his relationship with his ex wife to his career.  It's both a comedy of manners, as Jim relatably says one wrong thing after another, to a heart wrenching tragedy watching somebody who spends his whole life fighting and losing.
The original short runs just over twelve minutes and is comprised of a single take, a trend in many (all?) of Cummings shorts.  It takes place during the funeral for Jim's mother, who goes up to speak, telling us amongst other things that Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road" was a pivotal song in his mother's life, inspiring her to move out of her hometown and start a better life for herself.  He then plays the song on a small, portable CD player and sings/ dances along to it in a disastrously earnest way.  The feature recreates that opening performance, mostly still in a single take, but with a new opening and several differences throughout.  But because the short film was presumably only operating with "festival rights" for the song, in the feature, the CD player doesn't work, and Jim has to perform an even more awkward, emotionally naked performance.  I could imagine the producers panicking initially when they couldn't get the rights, "how can we make Thunder Road without 'Thunder Road'?"  But it winds up working.  I've seen the short, and it's great too; but the scene in the feature is no worse for the change.

Now, Passion River released Thunder Road as a barebones US DVD in 2018.  Thankfully, they saw the light and later released a special edition blu-ray in 2019.  And its since been released on BD in many other regions around the world.
2018 Passion River DVD top; 2019 Passion River BD bottom.
The film is presented in its proper 2.00:1 aspect ratio on the blu, but is stretched slightly taller to 1.96 on the DVD.  The framing's exactly the same, nothing different is included along the edges of the frame or anything, it's just stretched a bit.  Apart from that, this is a SOD film, so we're not looking at film grain or anything, but the jump from SD to HD is obvious on close inspection, with its increased resolution and clarity.  Only on the blu, for instance, could I read on the flag behind Jim, "we are dedicated to excellence!"  Everything's just that little bit softer and smudgier on the blu.

Curiously, the DVD has 5.1 audio, plus English, Spanish and French subtitles.  But the blu has 2.0 stereo audio, though it's lossless PCM, and no subs, despite the back of the blu-ray case listing 5.1 and all three subs.  So that's a little funky.
Now, when I said Passion River's DVD was barebones, I mean, it doesn't even have a menu.  But the blu-ray has some goodies: specifically an on-camera interview with Cummings, which runs a good 20+ minutes, talking about the making of and ideas behind the picture, and a short film.  This sounds like a perfect opportunity for fans to see how the funeral originally went, but I suppose they couldn't include that on the disc for the very same reasons the song couldn't be in the feature.  So instead we get a different short called The Robbery, written and directed by Cummings, but not starring him.  It's another single take film, even more ambitious, about a young woman who asks a Uber to wait outside while she robs a liquor store.  It's pretty great, although fans will still want to track down the 2016 Thunder Road online.
Cummings probably got on a lot more film fans' radars with his second feature, when he ventured into popular genre territory with The Wolf of Snow Hollow.  But Thunder Road fans were delighted (and possibly relieved) to see Cummings was playing much the same character, another stressed out cop named Jim with anger issues.  But now he's in an entirely new setting, a small vacation town seemingly beset by a murderous werewolf.  His performance is just as compelling the second time around, and this time he's joined by the great Robert Forster and comedienne Ricki Lindhome, who are both pitch perfect in their supporting roles.
Wolf walks a similar tightrope to Thunder Road, where that one found the perfect balance between genuinely funny comedy and emotionally compelling drama, this one teeters carefully between the beloved tropes of a classic werewolf tale and the realism of its characters.  Again, there are real dramatic stakes as well as effective moments of horror (the werewolf effects are practical and first rate), while still finding moments of humor.  Thunder Road probably remains the definitive masterpiece, but Wolf is a close second, and also the more mainstream crowd pleaser.  Warner Bros released it on DVD and blu in December of 2020.
2020 Warner Bros DVD top; 2020 Warner Bros BD bottom.
Warner Bros presents the film in 1.85:1 on both discs; no more of that indie label funny business.  Again this is a digital film, and it looks like their might be some subtle edge enhancement here, though that might be the director's choice on the original output film, and nothing to do with the home video release.  The boost in clarity is even stronger here than on Thunder Road, almost looking like the DVD is slightly out of focus.  So the BD is a much more satisfying option.

Both discs have 5.1 audio tracks this time, with English and Spanish subtitles, though the blu-ray bumps the audio up to DTS-HD.
A more surprising difference between the two format releases is in the special features.  The DVD just has one, decent but very short 'making of' featurette - the standard promotional kind of thing that mixes film clips with on-set interview clips and a little B-roll.  Nice to have, but unsatisfying by itself.  But it's not by itself on the blu, which carries it over and adds three more featurettes, which are all also quite short and still pretty unsatisfying in total.  Two of them are super short, about 90 seconds, although we do get a few extra soundbites from the cast and crew.  But the best of them is over five minutes and has no film clips, instead giving us behind the scenes looks at the special effects and production design.  It's nice, and an improvement on the DVD, but still not the kind of special edition attention this film deserves.
Finally, we have The Beta Test, the latest film that was just released on DVD and blu by IFC Films.  This time Jim's not a cop, but in some ways a similar character, this time thrust into an erotic thriller.  He's a Hollywood agent, even more weaselly than his previous roles, who winds up cheating on his fiance after receiving an anonymous proposal, seemingly forwarded by a shadowy organization with sinister designs.  Cummings performance is as delightful as ever, even more amusing as his paranoia and desperation grows as mysterious forces put the screws on him.  There are some surprisingly dark murder sequences with a well executed tone that separates this film from Cummings other works.  And while Hollywood agents are an easy target, Cummings manages to turn what would otherwise be well-worn, stale satire into something fresh, funny and all too relatable.
Cummings also has a new co-writer/ star/ director this time around, in PJ McCabe, who we'd seen briefly in Snow Hollow.  The mystery is gripping enough to keep you wondering what's going on until the end, too.  And I won't get into spoilers, but the concept turns out to be a little underwhelming.  We might've spent a little too long out of the main character's perspective along the way.  Although that aspect holds up a little better under repeated viewings and I mean, hey, if this is the worst Cummings can do, I'll be delighted to watch his future filmography for many years to come.  He's still captivating to watch, and the film is endlessly entertaining, attractively shot, often quite funny and at times downright brilliant.
2022 IFC DVD top; 2022 IFC BD mid; 2023 Arrow BD bottom.
IFC Films presents The Beta Test in 2.32:1, slightly stretched vertically to 2.29:1 on their DVD.  Even that struck me as a little odd, but Arrow preserves the 2.32, so I guess that's correct.  The back of IFC's cases say it's 2.35:1, and Arrow's case and booklet even say "2.39:1."  But on disc, at least, they agree on 2.32.  Both blus look very satisfyingly crisp and detailed, with the DVD naturally being hazier.  It's definitely worth springing for this in HD.  And between the two blus, the color timing and everything are identical; they're clearly using the same master.  The encoding is the only difference, and there Arrow does slightly gain the advantage, preserving very subtle differences that IFC smooths away.  Look at Jim's face up close in the second set of shots.  It's barely perceptible, a distinction for die-hard videophiles only, but technically it's there. 

Both IFC discs offer us the choice of 5.1 or 2.0 mixes, in DTS-HD on the blu, with optional English subs.  Arrow does the same as IFC's blu, except their stereo track is in LPCM.
Unfortunately IFC provides us with no extras at all, not even the trailer.  And this is where Arrow really steps in.  For starters, there's a great audio commentary by Cummings and McCabe.  They're laughing a lot and having a good time, picking out their favorite moments and cameos, but never to that point where they cross the line into being annoying.  You'll definitely get a better appreciation of their camerawork after listening.  There's also a pretty great 'making of' featurette that runs 20+ minutes and gives you a great look at their process.  Then there are to expert featurettes, which are kind of the discs' weak spot.  One is a brief visual essay by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, who I just wrote about being on the latest Texas Chain Saw Massacre release by Second Sight, and I have a similar criticism.  There I thought she wasn't given enough time to expand on her ideas, here I think she just has less to say, and spends her ten minutes telling us all the obvious themes and plot points that are self evident when you watch the movie.  She doesn't say anything silly or wrong or anything; it just feels like filler.

The other one, on the other hand, is too silly.  It's ostensibly a second visual essay on hotel rooms in films, as a hotel rendezvous certainly plays a key role in The Beta Test.  But this time the critic, Guy Adams, features himself in a comic role, very much like that infamous featurette from the "Jane Doe" DVD edition of Fletch.  He shows clips from a couple other famous film scenes in hotel rooms, but not enough to really make any strong points.  The thesis just winds up being "isn't what I'm doing cute?"  The framing plot is that he keeps waiting for an interview with Cummings and McCabe, but they don't show, so we just get jokey footage of him rolling around on the floor.  I get it.  If you're a DVD publisher, it looks more impressive when your list of special features is super long and potential buyers say, "wow, look at all that added value!"  But burning consumers by loading discs up with empty calories is just hurting the business model in the long run.  I already see forums full of comments of people saying, "I don't really watch extras anymore," which sucks when there are still so many fantastic features being produced.  And hey, maybe your mileage will vary in terms of how amused you are by Adams' antics, but I don't think anybody enjoys being promised an interview on an intriguing topic that never comes.
2019 Passion River BD top; 2023 Arrow BD bottom.
But don't get too disheartened, because the commentary and 'making of' are great, and there's still a whole second disc to go!  This disc is essentially a collection of Cummings' short films, and they're all great.  Most of them are part of the same series, called Minutes, where the whole thing is shot in a single take and centers around one really strong and smartly written performance by a different actor.  Yes, this includes The Robbery from the Thunder Road blu.  They're virtually identical, naturally, but Arrow does have the superior encode again, so you're better off watching it on this disc.  And this isn't a case where seeing a filmmaker's early work is "interesting" or "a good piece of history."  These are all great films in their own right.  There's also a brief 'making of' for the Minutes shorts, another short that Cummings stars in, and two documentaries of Cummings' 2016 and 2017 voyages to Sundance.  I won't get into spoilers, but let me just advise you not to skip the Sundance ones, because he does something more creative and fun than your standard festival featurette we've seen on other discs.

There are also two trailers and a stills gallery.  Arrow's set also includes a full-color 24-page booklet, a card reproducing the notorious invitation from the film and one of Arrow's standard film promo cards (mine was for The Sacred Spirit).  It comes in reversible artwork and a slipcover.
All three films get full recommendations from me, and - thanks to Arrow - finally at least one of them has gotten the home video presentation it deserves.  And hey, at least all three are on blu with something to their names.  That'll do until The Criterion Collection releases the definitive Jim Cummings 20-film boxed collection twenty years from now.  So alright, bring on film #4!  I've heard it might be a Victorian ghost story...!

The One and Only True Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Well, gee, somehow I've done all the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, even "Part 5," but not the original original.  Some of those other films are cool (The Beginning, 3D and 2017's Leatherface?  Not so much), but Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel's 1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a legit horror classic; a great film that holds up perfectly to this day.  So we're going to correct this egregious oversight.  From Pioneer's non-anamorphic DVD to Turbine's UHD, this is THE Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Update 2/28/20 - 5/31/23: This kind of reminds me of when Blue Underground said there was no point in releasing Shock Waves on blu because it was 16mm, so it wouldn't benefit from being upgraded to HD.  Of course, years later, their eventual blu wound up looking observably better than the DVD.  After Turbine's TCM UHD sans-HDR, fan demand has lead to new 4k Ultra HD discs with it.  Do they similarly disprove the notion that this low budget 16mm wouldn't benefit from it?  Let's take a look!
Every time I rewatch this one, I'm surprised how strong every element of this film is.  The performances, the production design, the music, the writing, the editing and direction are all so damn good.  This isn't just effective because it got in early and managed to shock audiences before they were desensitized; this is an excellently crafted films made by virtual amateurs that all the major studios consistently fail to match, decade after decade.  A genuine masterpiece.
Chain Saw is, I suppose, the next step after Psycho: a disturbing film that takes loose, tabloid-esque inspiration from true crime horror and turns it into twisted psychological theater.  Both films capture mental illnesses in a more raw, realistic film than any of their peers and mix it up with an over-the-top exploitative thrill ride.  And both famously pushed the envelope of what was acceptable to put on screen; the difference is that decades later, Hitchcock's shock pieces now feel quaint, whereas most horror even today is afraid to go as far as Hooper went.  But they wind up closer together than further apart, since both are more than capable of standing up as compelling art pieces once you get past their initial shock value.  They're great twisted tales.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre debuted on DVD back in 1998, with a barebones, non-anamorphic DVD from Pioneer.  They re-released it in 2003 with new artwork, but it was the same disc, which is the first one we'll be looking at here.  Then Dark Sky got the rights, remastered the film and proper, 2-disc special edition in 2006.  We've got that one, too.  They put that same transfer on blu in 2008, but they replaced that with an even more loaded 40th Anniversary edition blu with a 4k remaster in 2014, which we've also got on hand.  And in the US, that's still the definitive edition.  They've re-issued it multiple times, in limited steelbooks, Best Buy and FYE exclusives, and even a special 5-disc set that comes in a box shaped like the truck from the film's finale, but it's all basically that same 40th edition.  In Germany, however, Turbine took it one step farther, giving us the 4k master in actual 4k with a BD/ UHD combo-pack in 2016.  That 3-disc set was later repackaged as a steelbook release in 2019, which we'll be looking at here.  And most recently, it's been remastered, again in 4k, but this time with HDR.  It was released in the US by Dark Sky, Germany by Turbine (yes, again) and the UK be Second Light, the last of which I've got for us today.
1) 2003 Pioneer DVD; 2) 2006 Dark Sky DVD; 3) 2014 Dark Sky BD;
4) 2019 Turbine BD; 5) 2019 Turbine UHD; 6) 2023 Second Sight UHD.

Pioneer's DVD insert describes their initial release as a "letterboxed high-definition SuperScan... painstakingly restored from the original 16mm ECO negatives."  Unfortunately, compressed into non-anamorphic 520x300 resolution, it's hard to appreciate that.  It's soft and riddled with compression noise, which is only worsened by the fact that it's interlaced.  It's also missing some picture along the left, because they've framed it at an unusual 1.72:1, which Dark Sky restores to 1.78:1.  They also make an interesting point about the film's colors and levels saying that the look they're presenting was "redesigned to reflect Hooper's original vision of higher contrast images and color. The hot sun now casts an amber hue upon the dry Texas landscape."  So, looking at the different color timings above, this makes me guess that the Dark Sky DVD might be the most authentic scan of the elements, but the warmer tones and yellower skies of the other editions might be Hooper's preference?

At any rate, this film was shot on 16mm, which means detail is inherently low, and so there's some question how useful higher-def presentations are.  Well, one look at the DVD makes it obvious that the original DVD isn't high enough.  But the gains going from the Dark Sky DVD to the BDs and eventually to the UHD are more subtle.  Every iteration after the first has more detail and life to the image.  But even looking at the Dark Sky DVD, it's clearly softer, with the film grain just semi-visible as smoothed over blotches.  Despite being just 16, the new 4k scan really is a beautiful upgrade.  If you're still holding onto a DVD thinking this film doesn't need an upgrade, think again.  But how about the UHD?  It has no HDR and uses the same 4k master, so the only real distinction is in the still higher resolution disc.  And there the difference really is hard to spot on first glance.
2014 Dark Sky BD left; 2019 Turbine UHD right.
It is there, though.   Well, first of all, they also matte their UHD (but not their blu-ray) to a slightly tighter 1.85:1.  But moving beyond that, if you get in real close, you can see areas on the blus where individual specks of grain are unresolved, and we get tiny macroblocks.  Even the UHD does if you really scour, but much less and more grain is more clearly defined.  But are you ever going to see this in motion?  I'm going to say probably not, especially if you don't have a huge TV.  But you might get a less direct sense of watching something more authentically filmic.  To put it in real terms, yes, the UHD is the best edition and objectively superior to the blu.  But if you've got a blu, I'd say it's a very slim upgrade, and just in terms of PQ, should be a low priority upgrade.

And the new Dolby Vision/ HDR10 version?  Well, first of all, the Second Sight shots will, like any HDR shot, look darker on an SD display.  But viewed on a proper HD screen, I'd say the colors look a little more saturated, particularly in the reds, but not much.  It's still 1.85:1 with virtually identical framing (it shifts about one pixel's worth to the right).  Grain is slightly better captured now, especially in areas like the sky of the first set of shots, or the orange reflector, where it's washed out on the Turbine.  This gives it a slightly sharper look.  And actually, some film damage has been cleaned up (note the spot on the van door, for example, above the front handle, that's present on the Turbine but not the SS in the second set of shots).  Most viewers probably won't notice the difference outside of a direct comparison like this, so I'm not sure if the distinction is important, but it is there.  For the record, Second Sight has the best transfer.
As far as audio, the original DVDs used the original audio elements "to create a digitally remastered stereo surround soundtrack."  They had no subtitle options.  Dark Sky, then and went and recovered the original mono track... but, it turned out, with a few sound effects missing.  They also included the newer stereo mix as well as their own 5.1 mix.  And yes, they created optional English and Spanish subtitles.  For their 40th blu, then, they kept all three sound mixes and also made a newer 7.1 mix, in lossless DTS-HD and LPCM, and kept the subtitles.  Because the mono track was flawed, though, they replaced it with a downmix of their 7.1 track, which made things less authentic, not more.  In the Turbine set, we get mono, stereo and 7.1 in DTS-HD, plus newer Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D 13.1 mixes.  It's a bit of overkill, but as you'll soon see, that's the name of the game with that set.  They also have four versions of the German track, plus optional English and German subs.  And finally, Second Sight has the original mono in LPCM, a Dolby Atmos mix and English subtitles.
The extras for this film just keep getting to the point of being overwhelming, but happily, not too redundant. The original DVDs basically bring us the extras package from the Elite laserdisc: a great audio commentary by Hooper, Gunnar Hansen and cinematographer Daniel Pearl, a brief featurette on the sets and props, deleted/ alternate scenes, a brief gag reel, and a bunch of trailers, TV spots and stills galleries.  Then Dark Sky kept all of that but added a bunch more including a second audio commentary by stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Allen Danziger and infamous production designer Robert A. Burns, which is more of a light-hearted chatty affair.  They also include a brief featurette where Hansen revisits the house they filmed in and two feature length documentaries.  The first, The Shocking Truth, made by Blue Underground, is still the definitive, over-all TCM doc.  Then the second, Flesh Wounds, made by Red Shirt's Michael Felsher, seems deliberately designed to compliment the other pre-existing special features, and present only new, additional info about TCM rather than retelling all the stories and anecdotes from the other docs and commentaries.  That helps a lot.  Dark Sky's DVD set also includes additional outtakes from The Shocking Truth, some additional bonus trailers, and came in a cool steelbook.

For their 40th Anniversary blu-ray, Dark Sky kept everything and also cooked up a few more nice treats.  There're two additional audio commentaries, including a new Hooper one, where the director of Shocking Truth quizzes him for for the few remaining niggling answers he's been left wondering over the years, and an interesting crew commentary by Pearl, editor J. Larry Carroll and sound recordist Ted Nicolaou.  During their new 4k scan, they uncovered some more deleted scenes and outtakes, different from the ones already released on the DVDs, though most are without sound.  And they conducted new, on-camera interviews with actress Teri McMinn, who up 'till now had never participated in TCM interviews and such, "grandpa" actor John Dugan, J. Carroll and production manager Ron Bozman.  Felsher did these as well, and they again seemed specifically designed to fill in the gaps of the existing Chain Saw coverage, which I really appreciate.  Plus they add some vintage radio spots.  Also, if you bought the limited edition "Black Maria" version, the one in truck packaging, you got an additional bonus disc that consists of an hour long discussion between Hooper and William Friedkin.
Teri McMinn happily rejoins the family.
And Turbine?  Happily, they also retain all the legacy extras we've covered so far, except for that exclusive Hooper/ Friedkin talk.  And they add some more, too.  There's an isolated music and effects track, in DTS-HD 7.1, and a brief featurette that compares key scenes from the original film to the 2003 remake, which is more valuable if you don't already own the remake.  Even better, they include the Horror's Hallowed Grounds TCM episode, which blows the old house tour featurette away (although that's still on here, too).  And best of all, they include the original TCM documentary: 1988's Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Family Portrait, which specifically interviews all the cast members who played members of the killer family.  And is most valuable because that includes Jim Siedow, who passed away before he could be included in most of the other TCM special features.

Now, I read on DVDCompare that on the Turbine release, "'A Family Portrait' is in a mix of German and English audio, with German subtitles for the English portions," which is correct, so I hung onto my 2000 MTI Home Video DVD.  But, while that quote did turn out to be true, it's misleading by omission since Turbine also includes a second audio track of the complete, original English audio.  That German/ English mix thing is just a second, alternate language option for German audiences we English natives don't need to bother with.  Oh and yes, both are the extended "Revisited" version.  I don't think there's any way to get the original version, which was originally actually ten minutes longer and included an interview with Chief Gorehound #1 Chas Balun, outside of the original VHS release.  So yeah, there's no reason to hang onto the separate DVD, unless... the picture quality's any better on the blu?
1) 2000 MTI DVD; 2) 2019 Turbine BD.
Nope, it's just the same.  The film was shot on video tape, so there's no real room to grow.  MTI released this as a standalone on blu (or BD-R, strictly speaking) in 2016 and caught a lot of flack for the PQ, but it's not like there was a negative to go back to or anything.  Anyway, the discs aren't 100% identical.  They're both fullscreen, of course, but the DVD is 1.32:1 while the blu is slightly wider at 1.36:1.  That's partially because Turbine cropped the bar of random video noise along the bottom edge, and but it's also a teensy bit squished, which the blu corrects.  Both versions are interlaced and soft to the point of downright blurriness, which again I'm sure goes right back to the original tapes, but the colors are slightly, like 1%, more robust and attractive.  So not only is the quality of the stand-alone not any preferable, it's actually a smidgen better on Turbine's release.  And there are no extras apart from a couple trailers; so go ahead and chuck those DVDs, kids.

When you look at the massive list of extras that've piled up over the decades, it can look overwhelming and you'll probably be tempted to skim through a lot, if not skip things completely.  But it's all surprisingly watchable as a massive whole.  Sure, you'll hear a few of the most famous anecdotes two or three times.  But in general, it all works well together.  The only little one I'd recommend maybe jumping over is the house tour, since the Hallowed Grounds and two documentaries also revisit the same house.  Some talk to different people - Flesh Wounds talks to the head of the TCM fan club and Hallowed Grounds talks to one of the owners who's embraced the fanbase coming to visit the home - so they all feel fresh and original.  But one of the docs even uses footage from the Gunnar house tour featurette, so that's really the one you can save yourself a few minutes by passing over.

And Second Sight's new set?  It's equally stacked.  Almost everything that's on the Turbine is carried over, but not absolutely everything.  Lost, unfortunately, is Family Portrait, the newer set of silent deleted scenes, the brief blooper/ outtake reel and that little comparison video between this and the remake.  And no, this doesn't have that Friedkin/ Henkel interview either - that seems to be a tightly held Dark Sky exclusive.  But Second Sight has come up with a bunch of new stuff, actually making this release flusher than ever.
First of all, there's a new audio commentary by experts Amanda Reyes and Bill Ackerman, who do a pretty good job of finding eclectic information to add that hasn't already been covered by the slew of pre-existing extras.  They're pretty high energy and fun to listen to, too.  Then there's an all new, feature-length documentary called The Legacy Of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre.  This one focuses on critics and other filmmakers rather than participants of the original film, again I believe it's because they were conscious of not just repeating what the other extras already cover... and they do an okay job.  A lot of this is just sharing uninteresting "I was _ years old when I saw Chain Saw"-style memories and obvious opinions, but they got some interesting people, including the co-directors of the 2013 remake.  It's borderline: an easy one to skip if you've already watched a ton of TCM features, but perfectly watchable if you've still got the patience.

There's also a new video essay by critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, which is honestly kind of weak.  Apparently she's written a book about masks in horror films, so she's hear to talk about masks in TCM; but it's just a few minutes long, so it feels like she's just briefly outlining the basic fundamentals before it's already over.  They should've given her more time to really dig into some of the more interesting ideas that are presumably found in her book or just skipped it.  More rewarding are two vintage on-camera interviews with Hooper and Henkel, which are extended pieces from their interviews in Shocking Truth.  More Henkel is always a boon.

If you sprung for their limited edition, you also got a hefty 190-page hardcover book, six art cards and a slipcase, plus blu-ray copies of the film and extras.  Or you can just get the single UHD edition, which includes all of the on-disc extras, but none of the swag.
So, does this crazy, old 16mm film need a 4k Ultra HD edition with HDR?  Well, there's no doubt Second Sight's latest transfer is the best yet.  But even coupled with the new special features, fans might question if it's reason enough to re-buy this film once again.  I mean, definitely if you still have the old Pioneer DVD or something.  But otherwise, it depends if you're just one of those people who needs to have the absolute best version of this film in heir collection.  It turns out I was.  Of course, it helps that it's a masterpiece.