Horror film director Tobe Hooper has died at the age of 74. He was best known for directing The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist, and Invaders from Mars. William Tobe Hooper was born January 25, 1943 in Austin, Texas. He died Saturday, August 26, 2017, in Los Angeles, California.
His first film was, without a doubt, his most famous film. Variety referred to Tobe Hooper as a horror icon, calling his The Texas Chain Saw Massacre “one of the most influential horror films of all time for its realistic approach and deranged vision.” Film critic Leonard Maltin said, “While not nearly as gory as its title suggests, Massacre is a genuinely terrifying film made even more unsettling by its twisted but undeniably hilarious black comedy.” Rex Reed called it “scariest film I have ever seen.” It was loosely based on the murders committed by Ed Gein in the 1950s.
Hooper made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974 on a budget of less than $300,000. By Hollywood’s standards, petty cash. At the time, he was a college professor and documentary filmmaker. He recruited his friends, university colleagues, and students to help him make the film. The movie changed forever not only how Hollywood saw horror, but Hooper’s own life.
Hooper’s next major project was the television adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot in 1979. In 1982 was his most financially successful film, Poltergeist. Filmed on an estimated budget of over $10,000, 000, it grossed three-quarters of its filming cost in the opening weekend alone, eventually earning $76,606,280 in the USA and $123,606,280 worldwide.
Tobe Hooper worked in both movies and television. He directed episodes of The Equalizer, Freddy’s Nightmares, Tales from the Crypt, Nowhere Man, Dark Skies, and others (including an episode of The Others). His last film was Djinn, filmed in the United Arab Emirates.
Hooper was married and divorced twice, to Carin Berger from 1983 – 1990, and to Rita Marie Bartlett Hooper, from 2008 – 2010. He is survived by Ms. Bartlett Hooper, and one son, special effects artist Tony Hooper. Tobe Hooper died of natural causes.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.