Horror fans pay tribute to 'Poltergeist,' 'Chainsaw Massacre' director Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper, master of horror behind 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre,' dies at 74

The cause of the director's death in the town of Sherman Oaks was not announced, the Hollywood industry magazine Variety reported. Widely regarded as one of the most terrifying and influential horror movies ever made, the movie went on to spawn many sequels, starting with 1986's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which Hooper directed himself.

Born in Austin, Texas, Hooper made his first feature, Eggshells, in 1969, an odd, experimental film that is allegorical and, more than that, spacey and trippy.

Hooper's ideas have gone on to influence entire generations of filmmakers in horror and beyond.

Hooper, who is survived by two sons, was born in Austin, Texas on January 25, 1943, and taught college before starting out in documentaries. Viewed today, Poltergeist does indeed look like a compromised film, heavier on Spielbergian banality than Hooper's manic, subversive edge.

One of the most enduring images from "Massacre" is the visage of the mad, chainsaw-wielding "Leatherface" - played by Gunnar Hansen - as he relentlessly pursues the young interlopers and helps move many of them to their unfortunate fates. Even with a small budget - less than $300,000 - and a lack of marquee names, Chainsaw's gritty vibe and unflinching violence helped propel a $30 million box office.

"The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" wasn't received too kindly by critics.

Tobe Hooper, master of horror behind 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre,' dies at 74
Horror Master Tobe Hooper Just Died

His 1979 CBS miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling novel Salem's Lot is considered by many fans to be a high-water mark in televisual horror.

The horror legend, who also directed chilling 80s flick Poltergeist, passed away in California on Saturday.

Poltergeist became the other defining film of Hooper's career, mostly because of the eternal debate about its authorship. "He conjured some truly shattering, unforgettable moments in film", director Edgar Wright tweeted in remembrance of the horror film director.

He continued working in television and film throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

Hooper's last film as director was 2013's "Djinn", a supernatural thriller set in the United Arab Emirates.

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