Celebrating TOBE HOOPER, behind the scenes on THEY LIVE & more from Shudder

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Tobe Hooper

HORROR HISTORY

Happy Birthday,
Tobe Hooper   

By Lisa Morton
On January 25, we’ll celebrate the birthday of the late, great Tobe Hooper, the filmmaker who disturbed theater-goers in 1974 with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That seminal horror film, about a family of barbecue-loving psychopaths living in the badlands, gave the world the iconic Leatherface while proving that audiences could be grossed out without actually showing them blood.

Hooper followed the original TCM with 1976’s giant-crocodile opus Eaten Alive, the 1979 miniseries of Stephen King’s vampire epic Salem’s Lot (still one of the best King adaptations ever — who can forget that kid floating outside the window?), 1981’s carnival thriller The Funhouse, 1985’s loopy love-it-or-hate itLifeforce, and the 1986 remake of Invaders from Mars.

However, two movies and one music video will be most fondly remembered by horror fans: 1982’s big-budget suburban ghost story Poltergeist (despite persistent rumors that co-writer and producer Steven Spielberg may have directed much of the movie), 1986’s deliciously demented The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, featuring one of Dennis Hopper’s most flamboyant performances as a Stetson-wearing Texas lawman hunting down Leatherface with his own chainsaw; and, in 1983, the music video for Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” in which Idol ascends a skyscraper in an open elevator while blithely ignoring the scenes of carnage playing out behind him.

After the ‘80s, Hooper turned mostly to television, where he directed memorable episodes of Tales from the Crypt (“Dead Wait”), the alien-invasion series Dark Skies (the pilot), Freddy’s Nightmares (“No More Mr. Nice Guy”), and Masters of Horror (“The Damned Thing,” adapted from a classic Ambrose Bierce story; and “Dance of the Dead”, adapted by Richard Christian Matheson from a story by his father, Richard Matheson). Hooper’s last feature films were 2004’sToolbox Murders, 2005’s Mortuary, and 2013’s Djinn. He also wrote one novel, Midnight Movie, published in 2011.

Tobe Hooper passed away from natural causes in 2017 (he was 74), but his work won’t be forgotten. Happy birthday, Tobe Hooper! Hope the barbecue’s great in Heaven.


Image of the Week

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

He Lives
During a break while filming 1988’s They Live, director John Carpenter dons the film’s iconic glasses and hangs out with a couple of alien extras.

STEPHEN KING’S TWEETS, MANDY IN 3-D  & MORE

Tiny Bites 
Blumhouse’s Ryan Turek, producer of the latest Halloween, shares his own “fan wish” for rebooting Friday the 13th.

Can you tell which quote is from Edgar Allan Poe and which is from an emo band lyric?

Some wonderful person turned stills from Mandy into 3-D images.

Here’s a sneak peek (listen?) at the first bit of music from the upcoming Broadway Beetlejuice musical.

Rotten Tomatoes gave a Golden Tomato Award to A Quiet Place as the Best-Reviewed Horror Movie of 2018. (And Mandy comes in at #3!)

The Guardian called Stephen King the “best septuagenarian on Twitter” and “the prince of punching up” after his successful campaign to save a newspaper’s book review section.

A graph tracking the change in popularity of movie genres from 1910-2018 shows the last century has been very, very good for horror.

Esquire has a respectable list of the 14 scariest movies coming in 2019.

Cosmopolitan wonders whether Velvet Buzzsaw will turn out to be the new Bird Box.

Sam Elliott stalks Sasquatch in the trailer for The Man Who Killed Hitler and then Bigfoot. (As always, we’re rooting for Bigfoot.)

Toxic Avenger

THE STATES OF HORROR

New Jersey + New Mexico
By Sam Zimmerman
Today, we’re headed for Tromaville. We’ve also got a States of Horror first: Original and Remake in back-to-back installments.

New Jersey: The Toxic Avenger

Where else in the world would Tromaville be, besides New Jersey? And what would the most iconic Troma film be, if not The Toxic Avenger? Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz’ mid-’80s B-opus, about a toxic superhero from the Garden State, was more than just 98 lbs of solid shlock, it was a cult classic in the making. It’s silly, it’s wrong, it has a scene in which a child’s head is crushed under a car, and it’s endured in pop culture, including being re-imagined as a Broadway musical. That music for The Toxic Avenger musical, by the way, was written by another New Jersey legend, David Bryan of Bon Jovi. For New Jersey bonus points, see: Blair Witch precursor The Last Broadcast — in which fictional filmmakers seek out the Jersey Devil — and Paterson-set early slasher Alice, Sweet Alice, an incredible cult favorite with one of the eeriest killer costumes ever.

New Mexico: The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

The Hills, once again, have eyes. Last week, we talked Wes Craven’s Nevada-set tale of cannibal killers in the desert. This week, we look to Alexandre Aja’s brutal remake, an intense and frightening survival horror made square in the middle of the 2000s’ sanguinary genre renaissance. But Aja’s film, as of the bloody moment as it was, also engaged in a long horror movie tradition: blaming nuclear testing. To that end, the updated Hills shares common ground with the also New Mexico-set 1954 giant ant classic, Them!. Both films saw mutations (one on cannibalistic humans and the other on ants) from rampant nuclear tests in the New Mexico desert.
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Cannibal Holocaust

THINGS WE LOVE

Life (and Death)
in Pieces
The 1980 Italian shockumentary Cannibal Holocaustis one of the most violent, graphic, and banned horror films of all time — and now Rick Melton’s artwork for the Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray special edition has been sliced and diced into an NSFW jigsaw puzzle of “1,000 profane, appalling, soul-scarring, vile, damnable, repulsive, gut-munching pieces.”
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Do You Love The Bite?

JimJam

Founder/Co Owner of TN Horror News Co Host of The Horror Basement Podcast

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