Tobe Hooper, the director of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Poltergeist (1982), has died in Los Angeles at the age of 74.

Hooper’s credits include the sequel to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, released in 1986, Lifeforce (1985), and a 1986 remake of the 1953 alien invasion classic Invaders from Mars.

The character Leatherface from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (played by Gunnar Hansen) is counted as one of the most iconic characters in the horror movie genre. The movie “became one of the most influential horror films of all time for its realistic approach and deranged vision”, Variety wrote in a tribute. “Shot for less than $300,000, it tells the story of a group of unfortunate friends who encounter a group of cannibals on their way to visit an old homestead. Though it was banned in several countries for violence, it was one of the most profitable independent films of the 1970s in the U.S.”

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).

Another of Hooper’s best-loved films is Poltergeist, written and produced by Steven Spielberg. Hooper’s television adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Salem’s Lot is “considered by many fans to be a high-water mark in televisual horror”, Variety wrote.

Hooper, who started out with documentaries and taught at college before moving on to films, directed his final production Djinn in 2013. The supernatural thriller is set in the United Arab Emirates and features a djinn who haunts an Emirati couple.

Tobe Hooper. Image credit: Lionel Allorge/Wikimedia Commons.
Tobe Hooper. Image credit: Lionel Allorge/Wikimedia Commons.