Remembering Tobe Hooper: The horror genius who gave us

By Allaa Tayeb, STAFF WRITER
On August 30, 2017

Tobe Hooper, director of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” passed away on Saturday, but his creative impact on the horror genre will never fade away.

Tobe Hooper, director of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," died of natural causes Saturday in his California home, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner. Hooper leaves behind a broken-hearted community of movie lovers who will forever remember his invaluable contributions to the horror genre.

It is hard to argue that the 1974 groundbreaking film, ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, isn’t one of the most gut-wrenching and terrifying horror films ever made. Its use of vividly juxtaposed colors and expert cinematography make it a top candidate for one of the most aesthetically pleasing horror films.

The film is centered around a group of teens who fall into the unlikely grasp of a terrifying killer, Leatherface, and his cannibalistic family.

More than just a horror movie, however, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is a philosophical exploration of the powerful social structures that exist within our society. The film also serves as a powerful critique of the Vietnam War–the mass brutality and large-scale provocation of fear at the center of the film’s plot highlight the senseless depravity of America’s desecration of Vietnam.

Additionally, it wasn’t too gory or graphic – the movie flourishes in its ability to merely insinuate violence instead of explicitly depicting it. Yet, it still pushed audiences to the edges of their seats with fear.

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” redefined the horror genre and left a legacy that will likely live on forever. It is because of this that saying goodbye to one of horror’s most impressive directors is that much more difficult.

Hooper’s legacy outlives his death.

Since the film’s release in the early ’70s, horror directors everywhere have used the tormenting mystery of a masked serial killer—a trope masterfully pioneered by Hooper—to embellish the slasher-film craze. Slasher films inspired by Hooper’s work include the monumental Hollywood blockbusters “Scream” (1996), “Halloween” (1978), and “Friday the 13th” (1980).

Also under Hooper’s belt are the iconic horror pictures “Poltergeist” (1982)–a collaboration between himself and media giant Steven Spielberg– “The Funhouse” (1981), and the classic vampire-slayer television show “Salem’s Lot”, which was adapted from a Stephen King novel of the same name.

Clive Barker, writer of “Hellraiser” (1987), memorialized Hooper by saying, “The Chainsaw is now quiet, but it will forever be heard,” and he is right. Its soft echo will continue to reverberate throughout the horror genre for as long as it exists


Allaa is a sophomore majoring in English and film studies.

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