Tobe Hooper


William Tobe Hooper (January 25, 1943 – August 26, 2017) was an American director, screenwriter, and producer best known for his work in the horror genre. The British Film Institute cited Hooper as one of the most influential horror filmmakers of all time. Born in Austin, Texas, Hooper’s feature film debut was the independent Eggshells (1969), which he co-wrote with Kim Henkel. The two reunited to co-write The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), with Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen. The film went on to become a classic of the genre, and was described in 2010 by The Guardian as “one of the most influential films ever made.”

Hooper subsequently directed the horror film Eaten Alive (1977), with Carolyn Jones, Neville Brand, Roberta Collins, Robert Englund, William Finley, Marilyn Burns, Janus Blythe, and Kyle Richards; followed by the miniseries Salem’s Lot (1979), with David Soul, James Mason, Lance Kerwin, Bonnie Bedelia, and Lew Ayres; an adaptation of the novel by Stephen King. Following this, Hooper signed on to direct The Funhouse (1981), with Elizabeth Berridge, Kevin Conway, William Finley, Cooper Huckabee, Miles Chapin, Largo Woodruff, Wayne Doba, and Sylvia Miles; a major studio slasher film distributed by Universal Pictures. He then directed the supernatural thriller Poltergeist (1982), with JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson and Beatrice Straight; co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg.

In the mid-1980s, Hooper directed two science fiction horror films: Lifeforce (1985), with Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, and Patrick Stewart; and Invaders from Mars (1986), and with Karen Black, Hunter Carson, Timothy Bottoms, Laraine Newman, James Karen, Bud Cort, and Louise Fletcher; followed by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) with Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Bill Johnson, Bill Moseley, and Jim Siedow; a big-budget sequel to his original film. The 1990s saw Hooper directing various horror and sci-fi projects, including Spontaneous Combustion (1990), which he also co-wrote; the television anthology film Body Bags (1993); co-directed with John Carpenter; featuring Robert Carradine, Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, David Naughton, Stacy Keach, David Warner, Sheena Easton, Deborah Harry, Mark Hamill, Twiggy, John Agar, Roger Corman, and Charles Napier; and The Mangler (1995), w weigh Englund and Ted Levine; another adaptation of a Stephen King story.

Hooper directed several projects throughout the 2000s, including the monster film Crocodile (2000), an episode of the sci-fi miniseries Taken (2002), and two episodes of Masters of Horror (2005–2006). He died in 2017 at the age of 74 of natural causes.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • The Abyss (1959) – short
  • The Heisters (1964) – short
  • Down Friday Street (1966) – short
  • A Way of Learning (1967) – short
  • Eggshells (1969)
  • Peter Paul and Mary: The Song is Love (1971) – TV documentary
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Eaten Alive (1976)
  • The Dark (1979) – uncredited, replaced by John ‘Bud’ Cardos
  • Salem’s Lot (1979) – miniseries
  • The Funhouse (1981)
  • Venom (1981)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • Lifeforce (1985)
  • Invaders from Mars (1986)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
  • Spontaneous Combustion (1990)
  • I’m Dangerous Tonight (1990) – TV movie
  • Night Terrors (1993)
  • Body Bags (1993) – co-directed with John Carpenter & Larry Sulkis (uncredited) – TV movie
  • The Mangler (1995)
  • The Apartment Complex (1999) – TV movie
  • Crocodile (2000) – straight to video
  • Shadow Realm (2002) – TV movie
  • Toolbox Murders (2004)
  • Mortuary (2005)
  • Dance of the Dead (2005) – TV movie, episode of Masters of Horror
  • The Damned Thing (2006) – TV movie, episode of Masters of Horror
  • Destiny Express Redux (2009)
  • Djinn (2014)