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<I>Chainsaw</I> Director Talks Commentary, Cut Scenes

14 Mar, 2004 By: Fred Topel

The surprise success of the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the box office last October demanded a massive two-disc special edition DVD.

The Platinum Series edition from New Line Home Entertainment, streeting March 30, is a must-have collectible for slasher fans. It includes a slew of extras: three commentaries, deleted scenes, screen tests, a 75-minute production documentary and a 30-minute documentary on Ed Gein, the serial killer on whom Chainsaw and other classic horror films are loosely based.

First-time film director Marcus Nispel appreciated the chance to reflect on the movie in commentary and interviews, because the 30-day shoot was so intense he had no time to slow down.

“When the session was over, I told the guys who did it, ‘Thanks for saving me the $50 for a shrink,’ Nispel joked. “So it's great if somebody asks you questions about what you're actually doing, because it makes you actually consider the whole job, and you think about it in hindsight.”

Nispel appears on all three audio tracks, which are divided into “Production,” “Technical” and “Story.” On each track, Nispel has different co-commentators, but he said the comments were compiled in editing.

“They cut that stuff together. None of us were ever in the same room,” he said. “What they do is they make it like a conversation, and they don't actually even go scene by scene. Then later they cut it apart and paste it.”

Nispel does not consider the screen-test footage indicative of the final performances in any way. His experience showed that he could not predict anything from his first meetings with the cast. “You look at a screen test and you always think this is never going to work, but there are certain things that you learn,” he said. “Jessica [Biel], for example, when it got really dark in the movie, she would put herself into that zone that she would stay in over lunch break, pretty much for the second part of the movie. We shot the movie in sequence, so that was helpful. The emotional progression of the character, the emotional progression of the movie, would coincide. And that is something that you just can't really display in a session like that. That really comes out of the experience itself, and you don't even look for that.”

One of the major revelations in the deleted scenes collection is a subplot in which Biel's character announces she is pregnant. This was always a point of contention for Nispel. “That baby was all over the movie. I always hated it,” he said. “I was like, ‘I don't want her to talk about the baby now. It seems so saccharine.’

There is only one additional gory scene on the DVD. Nispel considered the possibility of an unrated cut, but realized there wasn't much to add. “Usually a movie like that gets the uncensored DVD version,” he said. “We don't really censor ourselves that much.”

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