Several Hollywood directors and actors are paying respects to Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist helmer who passed away on Saturday at age 74. The loss of Hooper is the second big blow to the horror film community in as many months, following the passing of legendary Night of the Living Dead writer-director George A. Romero in July at age 77.
In addition to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, Hooper directed such notable horror films as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Life Force, Night Terrors and Mortuary. The filmmaker also made substantial contributions to the small screen, directing the acclaimed TV movie adaptation of Stephen King’s best-seller Salem’s Lot, as well as episodes of such series as Amazing Stories, Freddy’s Nightmares, Tales from the Crypt, and Masters of Horror.
Perhaps Hooper’s most lasting contribution came with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which spawned two sequels as well as a remake of the original starring Jessica Biel in 2003. Also examining the mythos of the film were Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation in 1994 (starring then-relative newcomers Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger), Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning in 2006, and Texas Chainsaw 3D in 2013. Hooper is also listed as an executive producer of Leatherface — billed as a prequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is due in theaters October 20 and features Iron Fist star Finn Jones and The Conjuring star Lili Taylor.
Tributes are pouring in on Twitter from Hooper’s fellow directors including Doctor Strange helmer (and fellow horror filmmaker) Scott Derrickson, who tweeted a photo of Leatherface from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and called Hooper “the king of transgressive horror.” Meanwhile, Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver filmmaker Edgar Wright tweeted out a behind-the-scenes photo from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, calling Hooper a “master of horror” who “conjured some truly shattering, unforgettable moments in film.”
Goodbye Tobe Hooper, the king of transgressive horror. pic.twitter.com/JtkwqntxUs— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) August 27, 2017
Very sad to hear of the passing of Tobe Hooper, another master of horror. He conjured some truly shattering, unforgettable moments in film. pic.twitter.com/6Kxw0gURzF— edgarwright (@edgarwright) August 27, 2017
Kevin Smith also paid his respects by tweeting out a photo and referencing a line from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
Horror film icon Bill Mosely also honored Hooper, noting how the director gave him his first big break by casting him as “Chop Top” Sawyer in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
So sad to say goodbye to TOBE Hooper, the man who took a chance on me and gave me my career in film's greatest genre.— Bill Moseley (@choptopmoseley) August 27, 2017
Saw and The Conjuring director James Wan paid tribute to Hooper as a person, calling him “a sweet, gentle soul of a man.”
Sad to hear the passing of Tobe Hooper. One of the nicest people. A sweet, gentle soul of a man. Your legacy lives on. #RIP— James Wan (@creepypuppet) August 27, 2017
It’s heartening to hear about the impact Hooper’s life and work had on his director colleagues, and more tributes are sure to surface in the coming days along with stories from his collaborators and friends. Thankfully for fans, Hooper’s incredible legacy will be celebrated with Leatherface in a couple months, which is sure to be accompanied with some sort of tribute at the end of the film. And while the film is serving as a new beginning for the character as an origins film, with any luck Hooper’s creation will inspire even more aspiring filmmakers for many generations to come.
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