Tobe Hooper 1943-2017

tobehooper

Not long after losing George A. Romero, horror fans received more sad news over the weekend as another one of the most influential horror directors of the ’70s and ’80s passed away, reportedly due to natural causes. Tobe Hooper is best known for directing the 1974 cult classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, still regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made, as well as the ’80s Amblin horror flick Poltergeist. However, he also had a lot of other interesting genre flicks under his belt as well and influenced so many other directors that followed, from Ridley Scott and Wes Craven to Eli Roth and Rob Zombie. He was 74 years old.

Hooper grew up with parents who owned a movie theatre and went to the University of Texas at Austin to study film before spending the ’60s working as a college professor and a documentary cameraman. After making his directorial debut with the psychedelic film Eggshells, everything changed in the early ’70s when he shot The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for just $300,000, a movie that kickstarted his career and went on to change the film industry in a variety of ways. It also gave birth to one of the most iconic horror villains of all time in Leatherface and a long-running horror franchise that is still alive and well today.

The success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre led to a job directing the Stephen King mini-series adaptation of Salem’s Lot followed by The Funhouse and the Spielberg-produced Poltergeist. Although there is still debate over how much involvement Spielberg had on set, there is no doubt that Poltergeist is Hooper’s biggest commercial hit. In the mid-’80s he directed a string of genre films for Cannon including the more campy sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, worked mostly in television throughout the ’90s and 2000s and then most recently he directed a movie called Djinn in 2013. What are your favourite Tobe Hooper films?

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  • Jameson

    RIP. I just blind bought The Funhouse and am ready to revisit TCM now.