‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Director Tobe Hooper Dead at 74

Horror icon also directed 'Poltergeist' and 'Salem's Lot.'

August 27, 2017 11:12 am
Tobe Hooper
Tobe Hooper attends the Texas Chain Saw Massacre screening For Film's 40th Anniversary In Paris at Le Grand Rex on September 23, 2014 in Paris, France. (Victor Boyko/Getty Images)

Tobe Hooper, the director who cut a bloody swath through the horror genre with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, died Saturday. He was 74.

The Los Angeles County Coroner announced the death, which happened in Sherman Oaks, Calif., but not the circumstances, Variety reported.

Hooper’s more recent body of work may have been limited to straight- to-video shlockfests and the occasional television episode, but its hard to overstate his impact on horror.

Leatherface in 1974’s ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’

The Austin, Texas-born filmmaker’s 1974 opus Texas Chain Saw Massacre, shot for just $300,000 and very loosely inspired by real-life serial killer Ed Gein, became one of the most successful independent films of the era. More importantly, it spawned an entire subgenre of slasher films including the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises. (Hooper would direct the less-enthusiastically received 1986 sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.)

Though less well known by today’s audiences, his 1979 CBS miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s vampire novel, Salem’s Lot, pushed the boundaries of mainstream television.

Hooper, who started out teaching college before striking out into films, is survived by two sons.

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