Tobe Hooper

Biography

Tobe Hooper (born Willard Tobe Hooper on January 25, 1943) is an American television and film director best known for his work in the horror film genre, including Lifeforce, Poltergeist, Toolbox Murders and the cult classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). Born in Austin, Texas, Hooper spent the 1960s as a college professor and documentary cameraman. Hooper had shot over 60 documentaries, commercials and short films before making The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In 1969 Hooper co-wrote and directed Eggshells, about a group of hippies in a commune house having to deal with the presence of a possible supernatural force. Eggshells did not receive theatrical release of any kind, but did win Hooper several awards when the film played around several colleges, including the Atlanta Film Festival Award. His intentions was to go to Hollywood to become a working feature film director. In 1974, he organized a small cast comprised of college teachers and students, and with Kim Henkel, on a budget of $60,000 (which eventually rose to $90,000 or some reports say up to even $120,000) made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The highly successful film changed the horror film industry, and landed Hooper in Hollywood. Media reportings of people throwing up at the theaters and storming out of the theaters because of the film, swept the nation. Hooper then received a call from Marty Rustam to direct his first Hollywood film, Eaten Alive(1977). Hooper and Henkel rewrote most of Rustam and Alvin Fasts' script to fit their own desires. Eaten Alive stars Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones, William Finley and Marilyn Burns (who played the lead role in TCM). Critics noted that Hooper tried to recreate TCM but didn't suceed in terms of intensity. Part of the reason was Hooper felt the producers were compromising his vision by wanting control over the film. For that reason Hooper left the set with three weeks left to complete principal photography. Reportedly Carolyn Jones and the editor, Michael Brown finished directing the final weeks of the film. Eaten Alive is currently set to be re-released on DVD, September 25, 2007. Richard Korbitz, producer of the suspenseful and acclaimed John Carpenter telefilm, Someone's Watching Me! hand picked Hooper to direct an adaptation of Salem's Lot, based on the novel by Stephen King. Salem's Lot had been hot property for a while and Hooper was attached briefly under producer William Friedkin supervision in 1977. Salem's Lot(1979) was Hooper's most well polished and mainstream film to date. The telefilm was well received by critics and fans alike. Hooper was offered a script in 1981 for a project called The Funhouse. The story revolved around four teenage friends who decide to spend the night in the funhouse of a traveling sleazy carnival. The film opened to modest box office and received mainly positive reviews. Hooper had basically the same shooting schedule as Salem's Lot but nowhere near the budget. Still the film looked nice and was visually stylish. In 1981, Steven Spielberg suggested Tobe Hooper direct an alien invasion film titled Night Skies. Skies would feature hostile aliens attacking a farmhouse with a family inside. However, Hooper had no interest in directing an alien invasion film since being fired from the production of another sci-fi film The Dark(1979). (Night Skies would later be soften and turned into E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial). While overseeing the final stages of The Funhouse at Universal, Hooper moved into Robert Wise's old office. Wise had left behind a book on the supernatural and ghosts. Hooper, already interested in ghost stories and a huge fan of Wise's classic film The Haunting asked Spielberg about his interest in the supernatural. Spielberg, also a fan of the topic, decided to write a script for Hooper to direct. In 1982, Hooper directed Poltergeist for MGM, with Spielberg serving as co-writer (with Michael Grais and Mark Victor) and co-producer (with Frank Marshall) It quickly became a top-grossing motion picture. Hooper was nominated and won a Saturn Award for best director. Canon Films offered Hooper a contract to direct three films. The first being a sci-fi thriller about space vampires called Lifeforce. Based on the lengthy and complex novel Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, Lifeforce was produced on a whopping budget (for 1985) of $25 million. Lifeforce failed to generate more then $12 million in the US, but did well in oversea territories. In 1986 Hooper both remade the 1950s classic Invaders From Mars and directed a much anticipated sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. "Chainsaw 2" starred Dennis Hopper and had a budget of $4 million and "Hollywood" productions value. However the film failed to impress fans as it focused more on black comedy and over the top gore, rather than attempting to be actually scary. Most fans of the first Chainsaw film were disappointed at the time of the release of this film. Today, however the film has garnered a wide cult following. Hooper's career however took a deep nosedive after "Chainsaw 2" and the rest of the 80's and much of the 90's saw Hooper directing low level films or TV projects. In 2003, Hooper directed Toolbox Murders. Hooper also directed 2 episodes (2005, 2006) for Showtime's series, Masters of Horror. Hooper also served as producer on Michael Bay's 2003 remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which also became a box office success. He served as producer on the remake sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Hooper plans to start shooting the thriller Training Ground the fall of 2007. It was also revealed by Fangoria.com that Hooper would be directing From A Buick 8 based on the novel by Stephen King, with Mick Garris producing.

Expand
Person Photo

Birth Name

Willard Tobe Hooper

Birth Place

Austin, Texas, États-Unis

Birth Date

1/25/1943

Death Date

8/26/2017
Known For
Movie Poster

Sleepwalkers

Forensic Tech

Movie Poster

Body Bags

Morgue Worker #2 (segment "The Morgue")

Movie Poster

Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth

Self

Movie Poster

We Blew It

Self

Movie Poster

Invaders from Mars: The Martians Are Coming! - The Making of 'Invaders from Mars'

Self

Movie Poster

Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors

Self

Movie Poster

Reflections on the Living Dead

Self

Movie Poster

The American Nightmare

Himself

Movie Poster

Spontaneous Combustion

Cigar Smoking Diner Patron

Movie Poster

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

Starring In
Movie Poster

We Blew It

Self

Movie Poster

Invaders from Mars: The Martians Are Coming! - The Making of 'Invaders from Mars'

Self

Movie Poster

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

Movie Poster

Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth

Self

Movie Poster

The American Nightmare

Himself

Movie Poster

Reflections on the Living Dead

Self

Movie Poster

Body Bags

Morgue Worker #2 (segment "The Morgue")

Movie Poster

Sleepwalkers

Forensic Tech

Movie Poster

Spontaneous Combustion

Cigar Smoking Diner Patron

Movie Poster

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

Man in hotel corridor (uncredited)

Movie Poster

Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors

Self

MobileIcon
app store google play