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Tobe Hooper's 5 most terrifying films

The scariest tales from the late director’s filmography

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Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images

Cannibals. A poltergeist. Dennis Hopper. The filmography of Tobe Hooper has it all. Here are the five essential big screen tales from the director and Master of Horror, who has died at the age of 74.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Hooper’s still harrowing tale of overzealous Lone Star State BBQ enthusiasts rewrote the horror rulebook and introduced the world to a bona fide horror icon in the looming form of Gunnar Hansen’s Leatherface. (Streaming options here.)

The Funhouse (1981)

“Who will dare to face the challenge of The Funhouse?” Nobody with any sense, after seeing this carnival-set nightmare. (Streaming options here.)

Poltergeist (1982)

Hooper teamed with producer and cowriter Steven Spielberg for this story of a supernatural entity who torments a suburban household. Like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the film would spawn several sequels and a remake. (Streaming options here.)

Lifeforce (1985)

Based on Colin Wilson’s novel The Space Vampires, Hooper’s hugely enjoyable homage to Hammer Films stars Steve Railsback as an astronaut psychically linked to Mathilda May’s unclothed alien. (Streaming options here.)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Hooper always regarded the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre as a comedy, at least in part, and he rammed the point home with his berserk sequel, which features a notably larger-than-life turn from Dennis Hopper. The film confused many fans when it was released but has acquired a large cult following over time. (Streaming options here.)