RIP Tobe Hooper

lifeforce1I read the news of Tobe Hooper’s passing today with much sadness- another Horror great gone. In some other alternate universe, Tobe Hooper’s film Lifeforce is revered as the finest bad horror movie ever made. Any film that features a security guard trying to tempt a naked space vampire with a biscuit has got to be one of the greatest, oddest films of all time, and Lifeforce is full of such mad genius. I know most horror fans will refer to Hooper as the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Poltergeist but for me, he’ll always be the Master of Space Vampire movies- in the grandest tradition of Ed Wood, Lifeforce is his undoubted masterpiece.

9 thoughts on “RIP Tobe Hooper

  1. Tom

    Seems a bit gauche to just Like a post like this, so I’ll just say that while I’ve never really gone for TCM, I know that movie was a groundbreaking work. I actually did not know he was also behind Poltergeist though. Whoops. Sad loss, may he rest in peace

    1. Poltergeist is a strange one-there have been rumours for years that Spielberg took it over. Certainly it looks and feels more a Spielberg film than a Hooper one. But if there was any truth to the rumours, surely the truth would have come out over the years?

      TCM a powerful horror film but difficult to watch, I think I only ever saw it once. Lifeforce is a mad, bad film, totally insane but a joy to watch every time, so yes, that’s my favourite Hooper film.

      1. Matthew McKinnon

        It’s pretty much out in the open, it’s just that all the main players have NDAs and had ongoing careers to protect. But everyone who was there says Hooper was incapable of dealing with the scale of big-budget film-making, and that Spielberg stepped in and took over amicably, keeping Hooper involved and fielding his ideas and happily letting him retain credit.

        It’s just that it’s too much legal trouble to go the record and say so… and for what? Hooper got well-paid, got the credit and his career carried on. Spielberg certainly had nothing to gain from taking credit, his career was already legendary, so it’s quite a nice ongoing gesture of largesse that things stay in the closet with Poltergeist.

  2. Always sad when a genre giant goes; sadder still when you look over their career and realise the last really noteworthy film they made was over 30 years ago. From a personal perspective, it’s also sadly that the only film of his I’ve seen is Texas Chain Saw, and, like Tom, I didn’t really care for it. I occasionally think I should try it again but it never feels worth it.

    Lifeforce and Poltergeist, on the other hand, I really should get round to. The former at least is on Netflix.

    1. Oh go on, do watch Lifeforce- preferably the longer cut if it’s available. The howlers in the dialogue are endless, but if you approach it like it’s a 1980s Hammer movie you’ll be in for a real treat in the ‘so bad it’s bloody brilliant’ vein. The casting alone (considering later careers) is priceless.

      1. I didn’t even know there were two cuts (why would I, I suppose). The running time on Netflix matches the longer time listed on IMDb, so that’s good. I’ll definitely bump it up my list.

    2. Matthew McKinnon

      Poltergeist is classic full-on entertainment.
      It’s the Raiders Of The Lost Ark of horror. You should definitely see it: and turn the volume up LOUD.

      1. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but Poltergeist was my first ever VHS rental so holds a special place in my heart. We rented it from the hardware store at our local shopping precinct, choosing it from a ring binder that held the video covers in plastic sleeves. It was Autumn 1983, I remember looking at the plastic videocassette thinking ‘ this thing contains a WHOLE MOVIE’. Slotted it into the front-loader VHS machine we had on rental back home and… wow. Always get a kick out of films on these various home-video formats. Magic.

        Oh and the Jerry Goldsmith score, brilliant- yes, play it LOUD.

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