At this point in time – I would think that anyone whom follows the horror scene is aware of the fact that our genre lost yet another defining and important voice on Saturday evening. Director / Writer Tobe Hooper leaves behind an amazing resume of genre defining work that film scholars will lament about for decades to come and I feel fortunate to have been discovering the world of horror cinema at a time when Tobe Hooper was one of the driving forces behind the camera.
It’s been a rough few years for those of us who embrace dark and macabre cinema — some of our heavy-hitters have moved on to that big box office in the sky and while we are left with all the wonderful images and nightmares they crafted while they were with us — we must deal with that fact that a driving, creative voice will be heard from no more and Tobe Hooper’s voice was one of a kind.
While most everyone else is shouting the obvious in remembrance of Mr. Hooper — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist, Texas Chainsaw 2 — and I certainly agree with the importance and sheer awesomeness of all those works — I always found myself more attracted to Hooper’s less mainstream works — with one exception. Salem’s Lot scared the living shit out of me when I first viewed it. I still have nightmares of Danny Glick floating outside the window and Mr. Barlow, are you freaking kidding me? Great, great stuff — but it’s a remake of a classic 1953 sci-fi film that holds a special place for this genre fan. Invaders From Mars was a flop by most everyone else’s standards but I loved — and still love this silly, fun, wonky little movie. It was released in 1986 — the same year that TCM2 hit screens. Talk about diversity.
Another often-overlooked gem (at least to me) is the segment Tobe directed for John Carpenter’s Body Bags titled EYE. It stars Mark Hamill and tells the tale of an eye transplant gone oh so wrong. So much fun!
More recently Mortuary is a title that seems to have found repeated viewings throughout the years. How can you not love black sewer goo and zombies — again, the fun factor is at 10 on this one. I think that’s what I remember most about the bulk of Tobe Hooper’s work — how much fun I’ve had watching it.
With a career that spanned almost 50 years and a fan base that is as rabid today as it was when he career first kicked into high gear — Mr. Hooper can rest well knowing that he not only served his genre of choice well but helped define it’s future for decades to come.
From all of us at Gruesome Magazine and Horror News Radio — our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and fans of Tobe Hooper — The Saw Is Family.