'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', 'Poltergeist' director Tobe Hooper dies

Nick Sanchez
August 28, 2017

Even as Hollywood was becoming (briefly) more serious about redefining mainstream filmmaking, Hooper and his colleagues painted a disarming picture about a house in rural Texas that looked bucolic on the outside, hiding truly unimaginable horrors within.

Director Tobe Hooper, a master of the horror genre and known for creating such influential horror films such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, passed away at the age of 74 in Sherman Oaks, California late Friday August 26. The L.A. County coroner's office ruled it as natural death. The film also earned three Academy Award nominations for best sound editing, best visual effects, and best original score. For a first-timer, Hooper directed with a solid sense of composition and attention to detail and forced some fantastic performances from his cast.

In 1974, the Austin, Texas-born Hooper achieved notoriety as the man behind The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a low-budget grindhouse flick that broke ground with its sheer levels of insane (albeit gore-free) viciousness and diseased energy.

Mr. Hooper also directed the 1986 sequel "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2", which took on a more comedic approach.

Hooper continued working pretty much until the end of his life, but never again attained the same success as in his early forays into horror.

His work also included the films Lifeforce, Invaders From Mars, and the pilot episode for the series Freddy's Nightmares which functioned as a prequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street. Thankfully for fans, Hooper's incredible legacy will be celebrated with Leatherface in a couple months, which is sure to be accompanied with some sort of tribute at the end of the film. Though it was banned in several countries for violence, it was one of the most profitable independent films of the 1970s in the U.S. The character of Leatherface was loosely based on serial killer Ed Gein.

Hooper's supernatural thriller film "Djinn" premiered at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

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