Tobe Hooper, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Poltergeist’ Director, Dies at 74

Hooper was widely influential in the horror world

tobe hooper
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Tobe Hooper, the director of horror classics such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Poltergeist,” died on Saturday at age 74, according to media reports.

The L.A. County coroner’s office has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for information about the cause of death.

Hooper, a native of Austin, Texas, chainsawed his way onto the film scene with his 1974 movie “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” a low-budget film about a group of friends who fall victim to a family of deranged cannibals loosely based on the real-life criminal Ed Gein. Hooper co-wrote the script with Kim Henkel.

Though it was banned in several countries because of its extreme violence, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” became a cult hit — and one of the most profitable movies of all time. It earned over $30 million on a budget of only $300,000, when adjusted for inflation.

It also spawned many imitators — as well as a series of sequels and reboots, including a prequel called “Leatherface” due for release this fall.

Hooper went on to direct other projects in the horror genre, including 1982’s “Poltergeist” — a blockbuster for MGM written and produced by Steven Spielberg — as well as 1993’s “Night Terrors” and 2013’s “Djinn.”

He had a knack for turning seemingly innocent objects into creepily suspicious sources of fright, from the television in “Poltergeist” to a laundry-folding machine in 1995’s “The Mangler.”

Tributes for Hooper quickly began pouring in from filmmakers such as James Wan and Edgar Wright.