One of the most influential horror film directors of the 1970s and 80s, Tobe Hooper, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 74.
The Texan-born writer, producer and director terrified generations of film-goers with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974, as a group of young Americans fell prey to a family of cannibals in rural Texas. The film was initially banned in the UK and for a while, even the word “chainsaw” was banned from film titles. Hooper once said that he got the idea when he imagined using a chainsaw to free himself from a crowd of shoppers.
In 1982, he directed Poltergeist, from a script by Steven Spielberg, but later worked more in television, with most of his film credits being as writer or producer of Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequels or prequels.
His final film as executive producer, Leatherface, received its world premiere at the FrighFest film festival in London this weekend. Hooper himself presented one of his earliest films, Eggshells, at FrightFest in 2013. One of the founders of the festival, Alan Jones, said his fellow organisers had delivered an on-stage tribute to Hooper ahead of this morning’s screenings.
He exclusively told me “It goes without saying that he was one of the most influential film-makers of all time. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was not only a masterpiece of horror but it was also one of the films that was a landmark because of the way it was shot in a very documentary style. Many people think, of course, that it was actually this gore-fest. It actually wasn’t – there was no blood in it at all apart from one slight smudge towards the end. Nevertheless, it influenced a whole generation to carry on. He will be sorely missed. In the year that we lost George Romero, it’s really upsetting to think that we’ve lost yet another legendary icon of horror.” He said everyone at Frighfest thought Tobe Hooper was a genius and had made one of the best horror films of all time.