Tobe Hooper, 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' and 'Poltergeist' Director, Dead at 74
In a year when horror fans have already lost director George A. Romero, another legend in the field is gone — Tobe Hooper, the director of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974) and "Poltergeist" (1982) has died at 74.
Variety reports Hooper died Saturday of unknown causes, citing confirmation from the L.A. County Coroner.
"The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," Hooper's smash about five young people encountering a saw-wielding madman named Leatherface and his family of cannibalistic killers in a remote part of Texas, terrorized moviegoers and quickly became one of the most influential horror films ever made. Based on the true story of serial killer Ed Gein, it spawned a less popular, campy 1986 sequel, also directed by Hooper, and many others sequels and related films on which Hooper had production credits.
"Leatherface," called a "canonical and respectful prequel" to "Chain Saw," directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, debuted at FrightFest 2017 this week ahead of a September 21 release.
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From "Salem's Lot" — his eyes were a window to the soulless.
Hooper worked in TV often, the highlight being his direction of Stephen King's "Salem's Lot" (1979), a Gothic vampire tale that was released as a feature film outside the U.S.
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Hooper's greatest mainstream success, "Poltergeist," was written and produced by Steven Spielberg. The story of a suburban family that unwittingly moves into a haunted home built on top of a graveyard was a box-office hit and pop cultural touchstone, creating indelible moments like child actor Heather O'Rourke placing her hands on the static-filled screen of a TV and announcing, "They're heeere"; 4'3" psychic Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) declaring, "This house is clean"; and star JoBeth Williams struggling to exit a partially finished pool swimming with freshly unearthed corpses.
Hooper also directed rocker Billy Idol's dystopian, zombie-themed music video for "Dancing with Myself" (1982).
His final feature film, "Djinn," was released in 2013.