Sad news for horror fans today …
Tobe Hooper has passed away. He was 74 years old.
The coroner for Los Angeles County has reported that he died yesterday in Sherman Oaks.
As of now, the cause of death has not been revealed.
If you are a horror fan, you definitely know of all of his many, many contributions to the genre.
But for those unaware, Hooper was responsible for bringing us two of the best, most influential scary movies of them all: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist.
In addition to directing 1974’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre, he also wrote the screenplay and created the soundtrack.
Which means that he is, in fact, solely responsible for delivering that entire terrifying tale — and the franchise that followed.
Interestingly enough, Hooper taught at a college before making the film, and he made documentaries on the side.
He was out doing some holiday shopping in the early 70s, and he came across a rack of chainsaws for sale. He thought about how much he wanted to leave the store, and how starting up a chainsaw would definitely part the crowd.
But instead of firing up a chainsaw in a busy department store, he later pulled together a group of his students and other teachers at the college.
And that’s how the movie was created. Seriously.
Though there wasn’t much blood at all in the film, Hooper had to fight repeatedly to get it down to a R rating, and it was still banned in several countries.
Because, as he so impressively proved, you don’t need gore to completely and thoroughly horrify viewers.
Twelve years after introducing the world to those wild Texan cannibals, Hooper directed the sequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
This movie was very, very different from the first, but still just an absolute gem, proving Hooper’s incredible skill.
Which honestly, at that point, didn’t really need proving: eight years after the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre and four years before the sequel, he directed Poltergeist.
Which is, of course, also one of the greatest horror movies of all time.
He’s directed many other things as well, including a miniseries based on Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and even a Billy Idol music video.
(“Dancing with Myself,” if you were curious.)
Hooper is widely regarded to be one of the most influential people when it comes to horror films, and for good reason.
And several members of the community are taking the time to pay tribute to him.
James Wan, director of Saw and The Conjuring, tweeted “Sad to hear the passing of Tobe Hooper. One of the nicest people. A sweet, gentle soul of a man. Your legacy lives on.”
Fellow legend John Carpenter wrote “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.”
William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, said “Tobe Hooper, a kind, warm-hearted man who made the most terrifying film ever. A good friend I will never forget.”