Tobe Hooper: Wikis

  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tobe Hooper
Born January 25, 1943 (1943-01-25) (age 66)
Austin, Texas
Nationality American
Known for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Salem's Lot
Poltergeist

Tobe Hooper (born January 25, 1943) is an American director and screenwriter, best known for his work in the horror film genre, including the three-time Emmy-nominated Stephen King film adaptation Salem's Lot, the three-time Academy Award-nominated and Steven Spielberg-produced Poltergeist and the cult classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), along with its first sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Contents

Early life and work

Hooper was born in Austin, Texas, the son of Lois Belle (née Crosby) and Norman William Ray Hooper.[1] He first used his father's 8 mm camera at age 9. 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, including the Atlanta Film Festival Award, when the film played around different colleges. His intention was to go to Hollywood to become a working feature film director.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Hollywood

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 $70,000 or some reports say up to even $120,000) made The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Hooper claims to have got the idea for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get through the crowd, he spotted chainsaws for sale. 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 wanted an MPAA PG rating for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (as there was no PG-13 at the time). Despite having no sex or sexual situations, no drug use, no hard profanity and a low level of violence, the film received an R rating. The MPAA cited the films intense tone was enough for the R rating.

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 succeed 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 was 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 Stephen King's vampire novel 'Salem's Lot. The novel had been a 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 and is generally thought of as a genre classic. Salem's Lot would influence other vampire films, most notably, Fright Night (1985) and The Lost Boys (1987).

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. The cinematography of The Funhouse was well praised and visually stylish.

Poltergeist controversy

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 softened 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 for a Saturn Award for best director. For Hooper, it looked like he would be propelled to Hollywood's A list of directors. However some in Hollywood viewed the film more as a Spielberg film than a Hooper directed film. Tobe Hooper claimed he directed the film and did "half the storyboards himself". Some comments from the cast and crew implied both Hooper and Spielberg as the director:

Steven Spielberg, Los Angeles, 1982:

TIME has made E.T. and me very happy. However, a comment slipped in that is unfair to Tobe Hooper, the director of Poltergeist. I am quoted as indicating that I took over the project. While I was creatively involved in the entire production, Tobe Hooper alone was the director.

Tobe Hooper, 1982 (saying he did everything his contract as director required of him):

I don't understand why any of these questions have to be raised. I always saw this film as a collaborative situation between my producer, my writer, and myself. Two of those people were Steven Spielberg, but I directed the film and I did fully half of the story boards. I'm quite proud of what I did.

Jobeth Williams:

It was a collaboration with Steven having the final say. Tobe had his own input, but I think we knew that Steven had the final say. Steven is a strong-minded person and knew what he wanted. We were lucky because we got input from two very imaginative people.

Craig T. Nelson:

Tobe gave me a lot of direction. It's not fair to eliminate what Tobe did--he gave me a tremoundous amount of support because he's a warm, sensitive, caring human being. Tobe was simply pushed out of the picture after turning in his cut.

Bill Varney (Sound Mixer), said he had no contact with Tobe while mixing the sound:

He [Tobe] dropped by one or two times, but he had no input whatsoever as far as our (sound) work was concerned. Basically, Tobe didn't participate at all.

Jerry Goldsmith (Composer), says he worked exclusively with Spielberg. He said the situation was "unusual, because 99% of the time I work with the director."

Willie Hunt (Production Executive who was working with United Artists but had supervised "Poltergeist" when she was with MGM):

Both people were on the set all the time, and Tobe was very much involved, as far as I could tell. But Steven was the creative force in my opinion; his stamp is on the film, even though there was a good, solid competent director there.

Frank Marshall (Producer):

It all depends on your definition of director. The job of the producer is to get the film finished, and that's what we did. The creative force on this movie was Steven. Tobe was the director and was on the set every day. But Steven did the design for every story board and he was on the set every day except for three days when he was in Hawaii with [George] Lucas.

an unnamed crew member:

In the beginning, Steven did occasionally yell action and say cut. Sometimes the actors got two different sets of directions from two directors. Sometimes they would be the opposite directions. After about three days of that, Beatrice Straight put her foot down and said she would only listen to one director. That was Tobe. After that, Steven was often on the set, but since he was prepping ET he wasn't there all the time. The only time I ever saw him really fight with Tobe was after an entire day of shooting a scene with Beatrice Straight and the other two scientists involving a great deal of dialogue, Tobe just couldn't get the shot. Steven came onto the set and was very upset - there was a lot of ugly yelling - and Tobe just stood there taking it. Beatrice Straight, said that the dialogue (which I believe Steven himself had written for the scene) was unplayable and that Sir Laurence Olivier himself couldn't act such badly-written dreck. She made it very clear that Tobe was not to be blamed. Steven was very quiet and about five minutes later the cast and crew were all dismissed for the day. The next day the actors came back to the set and were handed new dialogue, which again I believe Steven had rewritten. It was 100% better and Tobe shot the scene in about an hour with no problem. But before shooting commenced, Steven got up in front of the entire cast and crew and apologized for the outburst and said Tobe was not to blame for the previous day's delays. It was one of the most generous, selfless and courageous things I had ever seen on a movie set.

Cannon Films

Cannon Films offered Hooper a contract to direct three films. The first was a sci-fi thriller called Lifeforce about humanoid creatures from outer space who eventually cause the destruction of London. Based on the lengthy and complex novel The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, Lifeforce was produced on a then whopping budget of $25 million. Hooper was unhappy about the producers decision to change the title of the film from the "fun sounding" Space Vampires to the more serious Lifeforce. Hooper was even more troubled over the producer decision to cut about 15 minutes of the film out of the US release. Lifeforce failed to generate more than $12 million in the US, but did well in oversea territories.

In 1986, Hooper remade both the 1950s classic Invaders From Mars and directed the much anticipated sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Due to the failure of Lifeforce, Invaders From Mars budget was repeatedly slashed, eventually failing at the box office, and opening to mixed reviews. Chainsaw 2 starred Dennis Hopper and had a budget of $4 million and "Hollywood" production values (compared to the original's physically grueling shoot and microbudget). 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. An uncut DVD version called The Gruesome Edition was released October 2006. It contains deleted scenes, a "making of" documentary and commentary by director Hooper and others. Out of the three Cannon films, Chainsaw 2 was the only film to make back its budget at the box office.

After Cannon

Hooper's movie career stalled after the troubled productions at Cannon. In the latter 80's and much of the 90's Hooper's reputation as a director was questioned due to the failure of his three films made at Cannon. In all, Hooper budgets came to a little more than $40 million, with a total box office income of a mere $25 million. In 1989, Hooper had written a script treatment for a third Texas Chainsaw film, but never developed it further to focus on Spontaneous Combustion (1990), a thriller starring Brad Dourif. Shot on a budget of around $5 million, the film was not successful. Hooper blamed this on constant rewrites and producer restraints. Hooper's next film Night Terrors (1993) went straight to video. Hooper would ride the decade out with two other poorly received films, The Mangler (1995) and Crocodile (2000).

Notable TV projects include the telefilms I'm Dangerous Tonight (1990) and The Apartment Complex (1999). Hooper directed pilot episodes for Freddy's Nightmares (1988), Nowhere Man (1995) and Dark Skies (1996). Hooper also directed an episode of Tales from the Cryptand the segment "Eye" of the TV trilogy movie John Carpenter's Body Bags (1993).

Recent work

In 2002, Hooper directed the pilot for the miniseries Taken. It was announced that New Line Cinema and Michael Bay would be remaking Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In early 2003, Hooper himself remade a 70's film Toolbox Murders. Toolbox Murders received some of the best reviews for Hooper in years. Hooper also served as producer on Michael Bay's 2003 remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which became a box office success, grossing $120 million worldwide.

Hooper directed two episodes, Dance of the Dead (2005) and The Damned Thing (2006), for Showtime's series, Masters of Horror. This series allowed Hooper and other directors "final cut" and no producer or outside interference.

Tobe Hooper started his own film production company, called T.H. Nightmares in 2004. No films have emerged under this banner.

In late 2006, Hooper talked about possibly producing a TV series, Texas Chainsaw Chronicles. No further details emerged on this series.

In summer 2008, Kim Henkel (co-writer of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and writer-director of the fourth installment, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation), announced he would write and direct a new Chainsaw film set in present day. Nothing is yet known about Hooper's involvement in this possible remake. However in late October 2009, Twisted Pictures (the company behind the Saw films) bought the rights to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and plan on making a new Chainsaw film in 3D. Stephen Susco (writer of The Grudge 1 and 2) will pen the screenplay. Rumors began that Tobe Hooper had expressed interest in directing this new reboot.[2]

In 2007, Hooper was attached to two films, Training Ground and Tequila Joe. No details have emerged on these two films since late 2007.

Tobe Hooper had planned on From A Buick 8 an adaptation of the Stephen King novel. Mick Garris (executive producer of Masters of Horror) was attached as a producer on the film. However funding could not be produced so this film has been put on hold.

It was revealed in June 2009, that Hooper would be writing a horror novel, to be released in October 2010.

Hooper regularly cites Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Ridley Scott as his favorite directors. Many horror and indie filmmakers have expressed admiration for Hooper's work, including Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Eli Roth, Guillermo Del Toro, Sam Raimi, Quentin Tarantino and Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

Filmography

References

External links








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message