I can’t believe we’re having to do this again so soon after George Romero, but here are we. Acclaimed director Tobe Hooper passed away on Saturday.
Hooper, who was 74 years old away, passed away on Saturday in Sherman Oaks, California. At this time his cause of death has not been revealed by the coroner’s office.
Before making movie history Tobe started off as a college professor who did documentary film work and the occasional commercial. In 1974 Tobe created one of the greatest works of horror put to film: “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” A film where a cannibalistic family and a chainsaw wielding maniac terrorize a group of teenagers in Texas. The project was a low-budget endeavor with a crew made up partially of Tobe’s students and a cast of mostly unknowns. It sounds like the kind of project that would be thrown up on YouTube these days. However, “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” not only made it to theaters, it managed to earn $30 million dollars on a budget of $300,000. And let’s not dismiss its continuing legacy as the film has spawned numerous sequels/prequels (including one coming out soon) and has inspired many filmmakers.
And while most people might instantly think of TCSM when they think of Tobe Hooper, my personal favorite film of his was “Poltergeist.” Now… I know there’s a lot of debate over whether Tobe actually directed the movie or if Steven Spielberg (producer on the film) actually did the bulk of work. Different actors have different accounts of who did what and the most recent revelations from last month seems to suggest it was mostly Steven. However, whatever the case may be, Tobe was still involved in the project and still helped bring it to life. Whether or not he was at the helm the entire time I think it’s fair to say that without his involvement the film would not be the same masterpiece we know today. I don’t know if that’s naive or idealistic, but that’s how I’m choosing to see it.
Either way, we’ve lost a great director today who had a tremendous impact on the horror genre. Tobe will be deeply missed. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this time.