Tobe Hooper





1/25/1943 , Austin, Texas, USA



Birth Name




Before becoming a filmmaker, Tobe Hooper, a native of Austin, Texas spent the 60s as a college teacher and documentary cameraman. He organized a small cast who were also college teachers and students and then he and Kim Henkle made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). This film changed the horror film industry. Hooper based it upon the real life killings of Ed Gein, a cannibalistic killer responsible for the grisly murders of several people in the 1950s. Hooper's success with Texas Chainsaw Massacre landed him in Hollywood and it remains a horror film classic. Hooper rejoined the cast of Texas and with Kim Henkle again for Eaten Alive (1976), a gory horror film with Mel Ferrer, William Finley and Marilyn Burns (who played the lead in "Texas Chainsaw"). The film centered around a caretaker of a motel who feeds his guests to his pet alligator. Also in the film was Robert Englund. Hooper helped raise his career and worked with him again in the future. Eaten Alive also won many awards at Horror Film Festivals. Hooper was assigned to the Film Ventures International production of The Dark (1979), a science fiction thriller. After only three days he was fired from the film and replaced with John Cardos. Instead, Hooper had greater success with Stephen King's 1979 mini television series Salem's Lot (1979). In 1981, Hooper directed the teen slasher film for Universal Pictures, The Funhouse (1981), despite its success, The Funhouse was a minor disappointment. In 1982, Hooper found greater success when Steven Spielberg enlisted him to direct his production of Poltergeist (1982). It quickly became a top ranking major motion picture, despite some differences that were resolved by Spielberg himself taking over Hooper's directing duties. Poltergeist was perhaps a greater success than Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it was three years until Hooper found work again. He signed a three year contract with Menahem Golan and Cannon Films, and directed more films, including Lifeforce (1985), the minor remake of Invaders from Mars and the disappointing sequel of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986). Afterwards, Hooper's career went downhill. He directed two Robert Englund films Night Terrors (1993) and The Mangler (1995) and he has also directed numerous horror television sitcoms. Hooper was asked to write a new script for Michael Bay's new remake of Hooper's original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He continued working in television and film throughout the 1990s and 2000s, but none of the films had the impact of his early works. His last film was the 2013 Djinn, supernatural thriller set in the United Arab Emirates. Other more recent works included Toolbox Murders, Mortuary and two episodes of Masters of Horror. Tobe Hooper born in Austin, Texas died Saturday August 26, 2017 in Sherman Oaks, California of natural causes. He was 74 years old.