‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Director Tobe Hooper Dies at 74
One of the underrated elements of the horror community is how many of them have the opportunity to meet their heroes. When famous actors and filmmakers die, they tend to be remembered at a distance; not so with horror icons. When talents like George Romero or Wes Craven pass, people are often able to share first-hand accounts of meeting them at festivals and conventions. So as word spreads today about the death of legendary Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper, you’ll hear more than a few personal stories of what it was like to meet one of the most important horror filmmakers in Hollywood history. That’s as it should be.
As noted in Variety, Hooper died earlier today in California, with the cause of death currently unknown. Almost immediately, the horror community reacted with an outpouring of love for the departed icon:
So sad to say goodbye to TOBE Hooper, the man who took a chance on me and gave me my career in film’s greatest genre.
— Bill Moseley (@choptopmoseley) August 27, 2017
Sad to hear the passing of Tobe Hooper. One of the nicest people. A sweet, gentle soul of a man. Your legacy lives on. #RIP
— James Wan (@creepypuppet) August 27, 2017
Tobe Hooper was responsible for so many of my nightmares growing up. I’m incredibly sad that he’s gone now. #RIPTobeHooper pic.twitter.com/JmZGjkHDSu — Heather Wixson (@thehorrorchick) August 27, 2017
RIP Tobe Hooper, director of Lifeforce, The Funhouse, Salem’s Lot, Poltergeist, and one very special horror classic. pic.twitter.com/vhutJJXF9i
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) August 27, 2017
— Ti West (@Ti_West) August 27, 2017
It’s hard to overstate the impact that Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre had on the genre; like Romero before him, Hooper created a horror film that was both fiercely independent and uniquely rooted in American fears and tensions. Texas Chainsaw Massacre wasn’t the only notable film that Hooper directed, however; among the filmmaker’s well-regarded titles are two adaptations of Stephen King stories — Salem’s Lot and The Mangler — and a cluster of cult classics known by any horror movie fan who grew up in a video store. Of course, those who tend to avoid movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre might know Hooper from his work on Poltergeist, a film whose actual accredited director has been a source of much Hollywood whispering for years. Whether Poltergeist was directed by Hooper, Steven Spielberg, or both, it just goes to show Hooper’s place within the genre and the respect he garnered from his peers. He will be missed.