Born in Austin, Texas in 1943, Hooper made a splash in the world of horror with his 1974 low-budget film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Despite being banned in several countries, the film is now considered a defining classic of the genre - and cinema, as a print is included in the permanent collection at the New York Museum of Modern Art - and helped the director gain bigger and more ambitious projects. In 1979, he helmed the two-part miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot to much praise. The Funhouse (1981) was a massive success, particularly on the burgeoning video market, despite being unsuccessfully prosecuted in the UK as a ‘video nasty’.
A collaboration with Steven Spielberg, who was unable to direct due to a clause in his contract for E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982), saw Hooper officially direct Poltergeist, although it’s heavily rumoured that the producer had more of a hand in helming the hit supernatural movie than Hooper.
Tobe returned to his most famous characters, Leatherface and his twisted family, in 1986 with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which was much more graphic than the original and contained more dark comedy as well as the increased gore.
With a filmography that also included the likes of Lifeforce (1985), the remake of the ‘50s sci-fi classic Invaders from Mars (1986), several entries to anthology films and TV series and an updating of Toolbox Murders (2004), Tobe really made his mark with fans of the genre and will be deeply missed.
STARBURST send our thoughts and best wishes to his family and close friends.
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