LOS ANGELES >> Tobe Hooper, the horror-movie pioneer whose low-budget sensation “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” took a buzz saw to audiences with its brutally frightful vision, has died.
Hooper was a little-known filmmaker of documentaries and TV commercials when he made his most famous work: 1974’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” He made it for less than $300,000 in his native Texas, and yet it became one the most influential films in horror: a slasher film landmark.
Marketed as based on a true story, “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is about a group of friends who encounter a family of cannibals in Central Texas.
Hooper, whose inspiration struck while looking at chain saws in a department store, considered the film a political one – a kind of shock to ’70s malaise.
Still, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” wasn’t as explicitly grisly as it was reputed to be; much of its humor-sprinkled horror was summoned by the filmmaking and the buzz of one terrifying power tool.
Carpenter, the “Halloween” director, on Sunday called it “a seminal work in horror cinema.” William Friedkin, director of “The Exorcist,” recalled Hooper as “a kind, warm-hearted man who made the most terrifying film ever.”
“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” wasn’t received too kindly by critics.
Hooper also directed a more comic sequel to “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” in 1986.
Hooper’s last film as director was 2013’s “Djinn,” a supernatural thriller set in the United Arab Emirates.