Tobe Hooper, best known as the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has died at age 74 in Sherman Oaks, California, according to the Los Angeles county coroner.
Born in Austin, Texas in 1943, Hooper worked as a college professor and documentarian before becoming a prominent horror director. 1974 saw the release of his first film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which tells the story of a brother and sister who head to a family homestead in rural Texas only to become the targets of a local family of cannibals. The character of Leatherface is loosely based on serial killer, Ed Gein.
The film was shot for $300,000 and upon its release, was immediately banned from a number of countries for being too violent. In spite of this (or perhaps because of this), the film would go on to become one of the most profitable independent films released in the 1970’s and has secured its place as one of the greatest and most influential films of the horror genre.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre helped to establish Hooper as a new, unique voice with several more decades of film making that solidified him as a Master of Horror. His credits include Poltergeist, The Funhouse, Salem’s Lot, and Djinn.
The cause of Hooper’s death has not yet been identified. He is survived by two sons.