Tobe Hooper, the director whose 1974 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre took the horror genre into a new realm of shocking realism, has died. He was 74.
Hooper passed away on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was born on January 25, 1943, in Texas and worked as a college professor and made documentaries before his cult film turned him into a household name.
Inspired by the late George A. Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead, Hooper, who has said in interviews he had grown bored of watching horror films, set about making something he believed would give film-goers value for money.
The idea famously came to him when he was in a store surrounded by shoppers. Finding himself in the hardware section, the frustrated Hooper spotted a chainsaw and imagined how effective the power tool might be at crowd dispersal.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre mesmerised audiences when it opened, telling the story of five Americans who get lost on a trip and wind up at the mercy of a family of cannibals.
The film was banned in several countries and the British Board Of Film Classification refused to certify it for several years. Yet its influence could not be denied and there were six sequels. As if further proof of the franchise’s enduring appeal were needed, a new film, Leatherface, just premiered at Fright Fest.
Gunnar Hansen, the actor who portrayed Leatherface, one of the most recognisable film villains of all time, died in 2015
Hooper directed Poltergeist with Steven Spielberg in 1982 and adapted Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot in 1979. He also directed a sequel to Massacre than came out in 1986. His last feature, Djinn, opened in 2013.