Horror director Tobe Hooper – best known for helming The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist – has died aged 74.
The Los Angeles county coroner confirmed the filmmaker passed in Sherman Oaks, California, the circumstances of his death currently unknown.
Hooper rose to fame in 1974, after the release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which he co-wrote with producer Kim Henkel.
The horror film was a huge success – making $30.8m from a $300,000 budget – yet proved highly controversial, audiences being known to leave cinemas because of the excessive gore.
After running for a year in London, the British Board of Film Classification eventually banned the film, preventing any imitations from being made by outright banning the word “chainsaw” from film titles. Only in 1999, after cinemas defied the ban to show the film, was it lifted.
On reflection, critics have called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre one of the most important films in the horror genre, the villain, Leatherface, becoming an iconic character.
Hooper went on to direct The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2; however, the 1986 sequel was more comedic than its predecessor.
Before then, the acclaimed director worked on 1979 TV mini-series Salem’s Lot, based on the Stephen King novel, which combined soap drama with horror.
Come 1982, the director released the horror classic Poltergeist, which was written and produced by Steven Spielberg. However, recent reports have suggested Spielberg also had a heavy hand in directing the supernatural horror.
Hooper continued to work on various TV series and films up until 2013, when the director’s last film, Djinn, was released. He is survived by one son, William Tony Hooper.
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