Horror Icon Tobe Hooper Dies, Aged 74

Tobe Hooper

by James White |
Published on

A man who wrangled together some of the most influential horror movies of all time has died. Writer, producer and director Tobe Hooper has died at the age of 74.

Born in Austin, Texas in 1943, Hooper became interested in film at a young age, using his father's 8mm camera to start making movies. He continued his education in radio, television and film at the University of Texas at Austin and then studied drama in Dallas.

Yet his career would launch with more fact-based work, as he became a documentary cameraman and supplemented that by teaching as a college professor.

His true directing breakout was shooting The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for release in 1974. Channelling his documentary past and funnelling the real-life crimes of Ed Gein through a gritty horror lens, it remains a high watermark of the genre. Shot on a tight budget of $300,000, it would go on to earn $30 million, paved the way for a wealth of screen horrors that would follow and inspired a generation of younger filmmakers. It also launched what would become an unlikely franchise, with takes on the tale still being produced today.

In 1982, he worked with Steven Spielberg and directed Poltergeist, with other titles including Lifeforce, The Funhouse, Night Terrors, Djinn and an acclaimed Stephen King adaptation, Salem's Lot, for TV. After his death on Saturday, he was mourned by a wide variety of filmmakers, friends and fans, including Scott Derrickson.

Hooper is survived by his two sons.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us