'Master of Horror' dies

Tobe Hooper was an interesting director known for his work in the horror genre.  He passed away on Aug. 26 at the age of 74.

The Austin-born director is probably best remembered for directing the original, low-budget horror entry “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in l974.  Afterwards, he directed the Stephen King adaptation of “Salem’s Lot” in 1979.  The made-for-TV movie starred David Soul, Geoffrey Lewis, Bonnie Bedelia and James Mason.

The horror-themed “The Funhouse” followed in 1981.

Hooper received another big break in 1982 directing “Poltergeist” for Steven Spielberg.

His next entry was 1985’s “Lifeforce,” a mid-range budgeted movie for the now defunct Canon Studios. It was run by producing partners Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus.

They enjoyed the dailies from “Lifeforce” so much, they signed Hooper to a three-picture deal.  The other two entries were his 1986 update of “Invaders From Mars” and the sequel “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,” with Dennis Hopper.

His movie career suffered later in his life; he was more likely to be directing TV than movies, including the “Masters of Horror” series and“Freddy’s Nightmares” with Robert Englund.  Hooper would also team up with Englund for 1993’s “Night Terrors” and later with Englund on the Stephen King adaptation of “The Mangler” in 1995.  It had the distinction of the villain from “The Silence of the Lambs,” Ted Levine as a police officer.

His last big-screen entry was the compelling yet little seen “Djinn” in 2013.  It had “Die Hard” actor William Atherton supporting as a priest.

Hooper left an interesting mark on the movies, having won many accolades and various recognitions for his work. He is survived by two sons.