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Tobe Hooper (1943 - 2017)

Getty Images / Photo by Valerie Macon

Tobe Hooper (1943 - 2017)

Tobe Hooper, the director of the horror film classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” has died at the age of 74, according to multiple news sources. 

According to Variety, the Los Angeles County Coroner stated Hooper died Saturday in Sherman Oaks, California, but did not give further details. 

“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is one of the most influential horror movies of all time. Directors Ridley Scott, Rob Zombie, and Wes Craven are among those who have mentioned the films effect on their work. 

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Hooper was born in Austin, Texas in 1943. He worked as a college professor and documentary filmmaker before moving into feature films. 

In 1974, he directed, produced and co-wrote “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Hooper produced the movie on a small budget, filming in Texas with a cast of relatively unknown actors. Hooper had trouble finding a distributor at first because of the amount of violence in the film. The movie become one of the most profitable independent movies of the 1970s. 

The story of a group of friends who encounter the evil Leatherface and his family of cannibals in rural Texas was noted for realism and dark humor. The movie originated many horror movie elements including power tools as weapons and a menacing faceless killer. 

In a 2014 interview with Interview magazine, Hooper explained why the Leatherface character in Chain Saw wore a mask. 

"When you can't see his face, your imagination goes wild," he said. "When you can't see, you fill in the blanks with something that's far more interesting than what can actually be shown."

Hooper directed the 1982 film “Poltergeist,” which was written and produced by Steven Spielberg. The film also became a classic and was a critical and box office success. 

He directed “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” in 1986, the movie featured more humor than the original. 

Hooper helmed the TV movie “Salem’s Lot” in 1979. Many critics consider “Salem’s Lot” to be one of the best adaptions of a Stephen King novel. 

He continued working in television and film, his most recent work was the movie “Djinn” in 2013.

James Wan, director of the horror movie "Saw," paid tribute to Hooper on Twitter: "Sad to hear the passing of Tobe Hooper. One of the nicest people. A sweet, gentle soul of a man. Your legacy lives on." 

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