Tobe Hooper

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Tobe Hooper is deservedly recognized for making one of the most consequential, game changing titles in horror film history. Few horror movies, then or now, match the raw, urgent dread of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. But the well-earned primacy of that film obscures a career that grew notably diverse as it went on. Rather than a horror auteur known for revisiting styles, genres and a consistent worldview, Hooper’s films have attempted regularly to depart from what he’s done before. In so doing, Hooper’s filmography exhibits a remarkable and confident range of abilities and interests, from the mesmerizing slow burn nightmare of Funhouse to the Spielbergian blockbuster Poltergeist to the campy tribute to ‘50s sci-fi in his Invaders From Mars remake. After all, this is the guy whose only sequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, took his most beloved property – a terrifying small-budget gorefest – and turned it into a bizarre slapstick comedy. So here is some free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the director who taught us never to pick up a hitchhiker in Texas.

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commentary_lifeforce

Every horror-loving teenage boy in the ’80s remembers the first time they saw Mathilda May. It was director Tobe Hooper‘s name and some fantastic-looking gore and effects photos in Fangoria magazine that made Lifeforce a must-see, but by the time the end credits rolled all of that had been forgotten. The film was (and still is) goofy fun, but even today the most memorable aspect of the entire movie is Miss May, in the buff, for roughly 90% of her screen time. If that’s not enough of a reason to give the film a watch the actual plot involves space vampires (Buck Rogers shout out!), zombie-like victims, massive destruction and mayhem in the streets of London, and Patrick Stewart saying the word “naughty” as only he can. Keep reading to see what I learned from the commentary track for Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce.

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Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Hooray! Look at Sally screaming in delight! She’s celebrating (with a little sausage dinner) because The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) has just been crowned The Scariest Movie Ever by you, our dear readers! If there’s one thing we learned from the nail-biter of a championship round, it’s that Exorcist fans vote early and Leatherface fans vote late, but while William Friedkin‘s demonic horror flick held a slight lead going into the evening, our friendly neighborhood cannibals overtook Linda Blair so fast it made her head spin. The final tally was 808 – 657 in favor of Texas Chainsaw, but if Exorcist lovers are bummed out, they can always cheer themselves up with this. Thanks to all whovoted. October Insanity has been intense, so let’s take a victory lap over the final numbers.

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The Commentary Commentary you are about to read is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths. Okay, not really, but there’s certainly a fair amount of slashing and running and screaming in the woods. This week we’re covering The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and everything director Tobe Hooper had to say about the production along with director of photography Daniel Pearl and Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen. We chose The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, because Total Recall last week left us for something a little more happy-go-lucky, something that isn’t riddled with copious amounts of blood and body parts being ripped off. Shockingly, there’s a ton more of that stuff in the Arnold movie than here, but it’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that makes you want to cleanse yourself after. The movie, for the lack of shown blood it has, does have a way of making you feel dirty after watching. So grab your popcorn, because this one’s for the whole family. Cue John Larroquette‘s opening narration in 3…2…

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American horror master Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist) has contributed substantially to modern classic scarefests and what we consider to be a the standard American horror canon, so it’s interesting that his latest film, Djinn, was filmed entirely in the United Arab Emirates and uses a menace straight out of Arab folklore and Islamic teachings. The film follows “an Emirati couple (played by Khalid Laith and Razane Jammal) return from a trip to the United States only to discover that their new apartment has been built on a site that is home to some malevolent beings.” Seriously, everybody needs to put some time into investigating just what their homes are built on. But Djinn might be encountering something even more terrifying than issues of architecture – STYD reported just last week that the film might not see the light of day, as rumors held that “someone close to Abu Dhabi’s royal family has seen the movie and does not appreciate its portrayal of the UAE and considers the movie to be politically subversive, and that they’ve paid off the studio’s chairman, Mohammed Al Mubarak, to bury it…Two other film companies even offered to buy it outright, but the chairman refused to hear their bids.” But after that story was posted, another site got official word from the studio that held that “These rumours are unfounded. Djinn is in active post-production, and Image Nation looks forward to releasing the film in theatres later this year.  As for offers, […]

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Tobe Hooper is not what one would call a gifted and/or talented film-maker. He’s a genre legend due more to the idea of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre than to the reality of his film work. Seriously people, it’s not a good movie… effective at times yes, but good? No. His best film remains the television mini-series of Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot (unless you believe he directed Poltergeist of course), but while he’s made some real stinkers the majority of his work falls into the generic middle ground between treasure and trash. Arrow Video in the UK has just released a new Blu-ray (the first) for one of Hooper’s better efforts, the 1981 horror thriller The Funhouse. The film is one of his most accessible horror efforts to date and a fun watch, and the disc is one of Arrow’s finest efforts as well.

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As a kid, I loved the original Invaders from Mars. To me, it was more akin to The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T than The Day the Earth Stood Still. An alien invasion seen through the experiences of a child meant an attack on the familiar, more personal, visceral level. Teachers, classmates, neighborhood cops and parents all fall prey to mind-controlling Martians, who drag their victims underground via a sand pit. The paranoia and frustration created by director, William Cameron Menzies, was only surpassed by the film’s strong, dramatic, dream-like design sense. So, when I discovered that Tobe Texas Chainsaw Massacre Hooper was directing the remake, I was skeptical. Now, before I get misinterpreted and receive hate talk-back and e-mails, I want to go on record as recognizing that Tobe has directed a few films that are outstanding and have withstood the test of time. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, and, yes, even The Funhouse are very effective, however Invaders from Mars would bring with it, a set of unique challenges.

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It is a known fact that the Alamo Drafthouse is one of the best places to watch a movie on planet Earth. That said, sometimes the confines of a movie theater are too restrictive for the level of awesome that the Drafthouse wants to achieve. The Rolling Roadshow was born as a result and it was good. Junkfood Cinema auteur Brian Salisbury and I had decided to sample this year’s offerings together. So it was with thoughts of cold Shiner Bock and hot chainsaws that we found ourselves driving out to Kingsland on a warm Texas evening for the second stop on the Alamo’s annual Rolling Roadshow tour. Kingsland, for those who are unaware, is the site of the now infamous house used in Tobe Hooper’s classic horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. While shooting originally took place just north of Austin around Round Rock, the house was moved to Kingsland in the 90s to avoid demolition. In any case, it is the very house used in the film and there was something eerie about seeing the house on a large inflatable projector mere feet away from the actual building. Being able to glance back and forth and notice small details made for quite a cool experience.

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For anyone who’s ever stared into the television and said, “They’re here,” – this one’s for you. This trailer for the Tobe Hooper-directed Steven Spielberg-directed Tobe Hooper-directed horror flick knows what scares you. As most realize, Spielberg produced this film back-to-back with E.T. and the feel of both films is remarkably similar even with different boogeymen. However, in this one, Spielberg instilled his own childhood fear of clowns and of a spooky tree outside his bedroom window into the move. It’s a cultural icon (that was almost scripted by Stephen King), and, on a personal note, isn’t it great to see Zelda Rubenstein on screen again if only for a brief moment?

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When you hear that a new horror film is coming from the man who directed Poltergeist (the one who isn’t Steven Spielberg), the hope is that the cast he attracts will be strong actors and not just pretty faces with the ability to scream. Fortunately, and solid talent has just signed on for Djinn. Variety is reporting that Khalid Laith (The Devil’s Double) and Razane Jammal (Carlos) have signed onto the forthcoming, Middle East-set horror film. They’ll star as two people returning from a vacation in the United States who encounter a haunting in their home from mean-spirited beings. Laith and Jammal don’t have a lot of work under their belts, but the work they do have shines. Laith was sharp in The Devil’s Double – the movie about a man forced to be one of Saddam’s son’s body double – and Jammal did well even in a smaller role in Carlos. Hopefully, they’ll transition into horror without much trouble.

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A family returns to the United Arab Emirates from a trip to find their fancy apartment is haunted by a Djinn – a demon that lies at the heart of the Middle Eastern myths about genies. This one apparently doesn’t sing “Friend Like Me” or grant wishes. This is the premise for Tobe Hooper‘s new project Djinn which sounds an awful lot like his 1982 project Poltergeist right down to the “abandoned fishing village” the apartment complex is built upon. Since Hooper hasn’t directed a film since 2005, it’ll be interesting to see him return to a very familiar form even if its in a foreign land. Plus, his recent return to directing has been average to downright terrible with The Toolbox Murders and Mortuary. Maybe this re-return will be the key to success for the icon who delivered the great horrors of the late 70s and 80s. Hooper is definitely no stranger to ghost stories, and this gives just enough spin to keep it fresh, although it’s unclear how they’ll differentiate between a djinn and, you know, any other paranormal entity. At the first sign of moving meat, I’ll call foul, but the premise alone is harmless enough, and hopefully Hooper can deliver this time around. According to the press release, producer and Imagenation Abu Dhabi VP Daniela Tully aimed for the fences, evoking the sweeping J-horror craze of a few years ago and placing it firmly in the UAE. Is there a chance that the next wave of […]

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31daysofhorror-reckoning

FSR’s Editor takes a walk back into his own childhood to conquer the one movie that damaged him most as a young movielover, the Steven Spielberg produced, Tobe Hooper directed Poltergeist.

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leatherface-header

Variety is reporting this evening that Twisted Pictures, the company behind the long-running Saw franchise, is in the midst of closing a deal to take over the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise.

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ff-deathsquadfooter

This Indonesian horror flick/gorefest stays reliably within the comfortable realm of predictability, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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Poltergeist

MGM will be creating what they call a “new character-based horror project that will utilize the original film as a jumping off point.” What does this mean? Does that mean a remake or a reboot? I don’t have an answer to that one, but I do know who will…

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The rumor mill has see-sawed back and forth as to whether there’ll simply be a sequel or a complete remake, and the verdict is finally in.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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