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Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper dies at 74

Filmmaker’s other credits included ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘Lifeforce’

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Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist director Tobe Hooper has died at the age of 74, according to Variety. Hooper’s other directing credits included The Funhouse, Lifeforce, and the 1986 remake of Invaders from Mars.

Hooper’s directorial debut was 1969’s experimental ghost story Eggshells, but he made his name with his second film, 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, an unforgettable tale of rural Texas-dwelling cannibals, including the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface. Widely regarded as one of the most terrifying horror films ever made, the movie would spawn many sequels, starting with 1986’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which Hooper directed himself.

“Well, it was my second feature, and I’d shot a lot of documentaries [and] television commercials,” Hooper told EW when the original film was rereleased in 2014. “So I had quite a lot of experience. I came into it knowing exactly what I wanted and I did have an excellent director of photography [Daniel Pearl], who was just out of film school. So he and I together got the look down.”

A drive-in classic made with a creepy, nonexploitative finesse that's almost Hitchcockian. It raises the low-budget power-tool slasher movie to the level of art. Download…
Everett Collection

Those paying tribute to Hooper include Baby Driver and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright and Sleepwalkers filmmaker Mick Garris, who worked with Hooper on Showtime’s Masters of Horror show.

“A total unexpected shock,” Garris wrote on Facebook. “Just lost a very close friend, one of the nicest people in the world. I’m actually shaking. Another reminder not to take anything for granted. We will all have great memories that will live forever. I miss you, Tobe.”

“Very sad to hear of the passing of Tobe Hooper, another master of horror,” Wright wrote on Twitter. “He conjured some truly shattering, unforgettable moments in film.”

Halloween director John Carpenter also paid tribute to Hooper. “Tobe Hooper directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a seminal work in horror cinema. He was a kind, decent man, and my friend. A sad day,” Carpenter wrote.

Hooper’s death follows the recent passing of his fellow horror directors George A. Romero, who died last month, and Wes Craven, who died in August 2015.

See others paying tribute to Hooper, including The Conjuring filmmaker James Wan and actor Elijah Wood, below.