With great sadness, the family of Tobe Hooper, famed movie director of both the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist (classics in the horror genre) announced his passing today at the age of 74.
Hooper, who worked both as a producer and director (and even occasionally as a writer) was best known for creating the legendary Texas Chainsaw massacre, a movie that would inspire a great number of horror films since then.
The lead character Leatherface proved such a hit with horror fans that he is receiving his very own prequel, which will be out later this year.
Hooper was a native from Austin, Texas where he was born in 1943. Eggshells was the name of his unsuccessful low budget hippie movie which meant his debut as a director.
His big break came in 1974 when Hooper assembled a group of teachers and students (he had previously worked as a university professor) to perform in another low-budget movie which was heavily influenced by the stories surrounding legendary serial killer Ed Gein.
A group of friends would be picked off one by one in the most horrific of ways. The film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was a revolution for the genre and hence saw banishment in the UK and several other countries due to its extremely violent content, which only helped it’s rise to fame.
Thanks to the success of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hooper was allowed larger budgets by the movie studios.
In 1982, Hooper received a script from none other than Steven Spielberg, who would also act as producer, named Poltergeist.
The story of a family coping with a haunted house also became an instant classic and made it into the top ten of 1982 of highest grossing films, quite rare for a horror movie at that time. Poltergeist was remade in 2015, to a much lesser successful acclaim.
Hooper continued to work in Hollywood but could never match the success of his early work anymore.