Poltergeist director Tobe Hooper dies at 74

Kelvin Reese
August 28, 2017

He co-wrote and directed "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", which originated the character of Leatherface and spawned several classic elements of the slasher genre.

Willard Tobe Hooper was born in Austin, Texas and before he became a film director he was a college lecturer. Hooper made a subversive and comedic sequel in 1986, with "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2", which was followed by sequels in 1990 and 1994 - the latter of which starred a young Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger. Hooper went on to direct television shows, occasionally dipping back into the feature world for The Mangler, Toolbox Murders, Mortuary and Djinn, which were all pretty effective, if lesser films.

He outlived two wives and is survived by two children. In 1974 Tobe created one of the greatest works of horror put to film: "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre". William Friedkin, director of "The Exorcist", recalled Hooper as "a kind, warm-hearted man who made the most terrifying film ever".

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Hooper was known primarily for his work in the horror genre, with his most notable and impactful films on the genre and the pop culture consciousness at large being Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist.

Tobe Hooper died Saturday at 74.

And as for Hooper's two-part TV adaptation of Stephen King's Salem Lot in 1979-just ask anyone who was around at the time how much that one fucked us all up. The film's cannibals are out of work, their slaughterhouse jobs having been replaced by technology. Hooper also directed the video for Billy Idol's 1982 track "Dancing With Myself". "He conjured some truly shattering, unforgettable moments in film", director Edgar Wright tweeted in remembrance of the horror film director. Hooper was inspired in part by Wisconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein, and in part, he said, by the brutality and violence he was seeing on the nightly news. R.I.P. Tobe Hooper, a groundbreaking filmmaker & a good friend. We leave you with a look back at the eight Tobe Hooper films (okay, technically one of them's a mini-series) and the one fantastic TV episode that we'll never forget.

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