Tobe Hooper, A Director Who Knew How To Scare, Has Died
Tobe Hooper, director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, has died aged 74.
Hooper – a native of Austin, Texas – died on Saturday in Los Angeles of natural causes.
Like his fellow filmmakers John Carpenter and George Romero, the filmmaker – who entered the filmmaking world as a cameraman – is responsible for some major horror hits.
His first foray into fright was 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – a low budget shock pic about a family of cannibals who massacre a group of friends in Texas.
Leatherface, the chainsaw wielding villain, played by Gunnar Hansen, was inspired by Ed Gein – a 1950s serial killer who robbed graves and made household items from human body parts. Gein also served as inspiration for The Silence of The Lambs‘ Hannibal Lecter and Psycho’s Norman Bates.
Hooper’s offering grossed more than $30 million at the domestic box office, but some countries considered the film so horrific they initially banned it from their theatres. Regardless of their opinion however, the title – which has since spawned sequels and a remake – has long been viewed as a horror classic.
Aside from helming the 1979 TV adaptation of Salem’s Lot – Stephen King’s bestselling vampire novel – Hooper also directed 1982’s Poltergeist – written and produced by Steven Spielberg – which concerned a family battling evil spirits in their house. The film became a hit, and earned more than $76 million on the domestic front.
In the following years, Hooper helmed titles such as Toolbox Murders, Mortuary, and The Mangler, as well as two episodes of Masters of Horror, but nothing has been as powerful and memorable as his earlier works.
His final film was 2013’s Djinn, concerning a couple who learn that their apartment has been built on a site that hosted some evil beings.
“Sorry to hear Tobe Hooper passed,” tweeted Stephen King. “He did a terrific job directing the ‘SALEM’S LOT miniseries, back in the day. He will be missed.”
Meanwhile, John Carpenter, the man responsible for Halloween, tweeted:
“Tobe Hooper directed THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, a seminal work in horror cinema. He was a kind, decent man and my friend. A sad day.”
The Exorcist director William Friedkin, in his own tweet, also paid tribute to the filmmaker and described him as a kind, warm-hearted man who made the most terrifying film ever. A good friend I will never forget.”