The Doctor Who Netflix Mistake That Turned The Sci-Fi Series Into A Slasher Horror

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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While Doctor Who has always had some scary elements to it, most fans would never compare it to something as gory and gruesome as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. However, users who rented DVDs from Netflix back in the day were treated to more Leatherface than David Tennant. All of this happened thanks to a manufacturing mistake that has become one of the strangest bits of this sci-fi franchise’s lore.

Netflix Used To Be All About The Mail

It almost breaks both my hearts to explain this, but explaining this Doctor Who/Texas Chainsaw Massacre connection means taking readers back to a time they may be too young to properly remember. Back before it was a streaming juggernaut, Netflix became a household name because consumers could rent DVDs and have them delivered right to their mailbox. This made it easy to binge-watch shows like Doctor Who whose DVD collections were prohibitively expensive to buy.

New Earth Is Right

Back in 2007, users around the world were having Doctor Who episodes sent to them by disc. At the time, David Tennant was the new hotness in more ways than one, and users were eager to tuck into the disc containing the season two episode “New Earth.” For Doctor Who fans, this was the proper beginning to Tennant’s new adventures, but that disc contained a darker character’s misadventures–specifically, it contained footage from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.

What is notable about this Netflix mistake is that Doctor Who fans were not simply sent Texas Chainsaw Massacre discs by mistake. Instead, the footage from this grisly horror prequel simply appears midway through the Doctor Who ep. Worse, the footage in question included “a maniac hacking off limbs,” and even though Tennant’s Doctor had his hand cut off in the Christmas special, Leatherface’s brand of dismemberment was more than what the average Who fan wanted to see.

No Real Explanation

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Just how the heck did a Doctor Who DVD get footage from a Texas Chainsaw Massacre film in the first place? An alleged BBC insider offered the best theory as to how this freak accident happened. According to him, “both DVDs were made at the same time for release on the same day.”

If You Bought The Discs In A Store, You Dodged A Chainsaw

At the time, this was a major blunder for both the BBC and Netflix. For the BBC, at least, the only silver lining in all of this was the fact that it was only certain Netflix DVDs of the show that were affected rather than retail versions. Therefore, fans who bought Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series DVD collections in stores didn’t have to worry about accidentally seeing any footage from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.

At Least It’s A Fun Story

After this bizarre incident, there were no more explicit connections between Doctor Who and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, although I’d personally wager a TARDIS key that the Torchwood episode “Countrycide” (which was filled with colorful countryside cannibals) took a few pages out of Leatherface’s book.

Meanwhile, all of the people who watched those affected DVDs back in the day now have a wild story to tell younger fans. Next time someone complains about the series getting too scary, those particular older fans will be able to regale everyone about the time a Sonic Screwdriver accidentally faced off against a bloody chainsaw.

Source: The Register