For nearly 40 years, director Tobe Hooper has filled the screen with all manner of horrific acts in films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, that film’s berserkly comic 1986 sequel, Poltergeist, and the TV show Salem’s Lot.
Now, Hooper has turned his attention to the printed page with the just-published horror novel, Midnight Movie, a splatter-tastic tome in which the filmmaker himself accidentally unleashes plagues of zombies and blue fluid-expelling sex maniacs.
Below, Hooper — who is appearing at this week’s Comic-Con — spills his guts about the book, his new movie Djinn, and why Kinky Friedman owes him money.
ENTERAINMENT WEEKLY: Hello Tobe Hooper! Or maybe that should be “Hello, Tony Hoopler” given how many times your name is mispronounced in Midnight Movie.
TOBE HOOPER: Oh, yeah. [Laughs] No kidding. Well, it happens all the time.
In the book, a fictitious lost film of yours causes people to become zombies, terrorists, or blue goo-oozing sex maniacs. I’m assuming you’re satirizing those folks who say horror movies can cause real harm rather than offering any sort of mea culpa.
I would say that’s accurate, yes.
Have you ever actually gouged the phrase “F— you” on a table while meeting with a studio executive, as your character recalls doing?
[Laughs] This characterization is a bit of a send up, a caricature of sorts, although with my voice and some of my feelings. But, yeah, in real life, I can recall years ago sitting with someone [and doing] something like that. We’ve become very good friends since then.
I don’t know. The monolith passed over Texas at a certain time and there were a lot of things that kind of exploded out of that. There was a time when Kinky and I knew one another as young men.
In fact, you cast him in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
Yes, I did.
But his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor and he once told me that he had no recollection of shooting that movie at all. Although the Kinkster also said that because of his former drug usage there were a lot of things he didn’t remember.
That sounds like Kinky. I keep telling Kinky it’s about time to pay that phone bill [from] when he was house sitting for me when I was away doing (1981’s) Funhouse. But he has no memory of that either.
One character in Midnight Movie says she had sex with the book’s “Tobe Hooper” and describes the experience as “heinous.”
That’s not going to help you get laid on the book tour!
Well, I don’t intend to do that anyway. [Laughs]
Lionsgate is currently rebooting the Texas Chainsaw franchise. What’s your involvement with that?
It’s kind of a telephone involvement. I hope the very best for it, it should be cool. But I’m wrapping up my own film, Djinn, right now.
What can you tell us about that?
Djinn is kind of a spiritual thriller. I guess the western world would perceive it as a ghost story, but this is something else. It’s djinn and djinn are not ghosts. They are creatures that exist simultaneously in another frequency. The film is about dimensions and has a little bit to do with geometry and string theory and vibrations. It’s set in a village that the djinn [told] the people to leave about 400 years ago. That’s about as much I can say, really, except that it was quite an experience and in my humble opinion, djinn are totally real.
Finally, who would you like to see play “Tobe Hooper” if Midnight Movie is ever turned into a film?
Oh, well, I can’t imagine anyone other than Daniel Day-Lewis.
Tobe Hooper will be appearing at Comic-Con this Thursday from 2-3.30pm at the Random House booth.