Remembering Tobe Hooper – I haven’t yet come to terms with the passing of George Romero just a few short weeks ago, so news of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre filmmaker Tobe Hooper passing away this weekend hit me like a runaway truck.
Hooper, who died last Saturday, was 74 years old – which is three years younger than Romero’s 77 – and serves as a sad reminder that our beloved masters of horror are getting older. We lost Wes Craven at 76. Carpenter, Argento, Cronenberg…they’re all essentially senior citizens at this point. I say this not to be ghoulish or a grim reaper, but as a reminder to appreciate these legendary creators while they’re still here. Often, it seems like the internet only takes time to pay respects to its heroes and idols after they’ve passed. That’s unfortunate.
While Hooper is arguably best known for giving birth to Leatherface, the iconic, chainsaw-wielding maniac loosely inspired by real life killer Ed Gein, Texas Chain Saw is hardly his only enduring contribution to the genre.
Mainstream audiences got a taste of Hooper’s filmmaking abilities when he teamed with Stephen Spielberg to make the classic film Poltergeist. He also directed one of the most bizarrely entertaining horror/sci-fi hybrids of all time with the cult classic Lifeforce. He brought Stephen King to the small screen with his adaptation of ‘Salem’s Lot (which I remember being banned from watching, but I still snuck down to the top of the stairs to hear what was going on…). He made entertaining low-budget stuff like The Funhouse and Eaten Alive, and gave us the wildly entertaining Texas Chain Saw sequel; Dennis Hopper’s scene where he buys the two chainsaws from a shop will never cease to make me laugh…
Hooper was a bonafide master of horror. His place in the pantheon of greats would have been assured with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre alone, but the rest of his body of work is no less impressive, no less entertaining. It’s no exaggeration to say that there’s no one working in horror today quite like Hooper – nor that his work touched and influenced many of those who came after him. Rest in peace, Tobe. We’ll miss you.
Go behind-the-scenes in this new Leatherface featurette — We’re less than a month away from the world premiere of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s Leatherface – the latest film to try to capture the magic of Tobe Hooper’s original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Normally, I’d not be too excited – but Bustillo and Maury have a compelling horror film track record (which includes the French extreme horror classic Inside), so I’m genuinely curious to see what they do with this distinctly American franchise.
You can get a sneak peek at what’s coming your way next month in this new behind the scenes clip. Enjoy – and remember, the saw is family.
Wes Craven’s Summer of Fear finally coming to Blu-ray – Craven collectors can rejoice as Doppleganger Releasing has announced plans to bring the master of horror’s cult classic Summer of Fear to Blu-ray. The film, which is nearly 40 years old, is one of Craven’s more obscure efforts – but features scream queen Linda Blair in a leading role.
Based on a Lois Duncan novel (as you may recall, the author was also the inspiration behind I Know What You Did Last Summer), the film will be available on DVD, Blu-ray, and various VOD services on October 10. Read on for the official plot synopsis and the trailer.
A chilling cult classic, Wes Craven’s Summer of Fear (1978) follows a country family of five who take in cousin Julie (Lee Purcell), whose parents recently died in a car crash. While the rest of the family and those around them are completely charmed by Julie, teenaged daughter Rachel (Linda Blair) grows suspect that her cousin has an alternative agenda, one that possibly includes witchcraft.
Watch this proof of concept short for Apocalypse Now Now – Charlie Human’s Apocalypse Now Now is a gritty urban fantasy that often feels like one part Harry Potter, mixed with one part Neil Gaiman, with a healthy dollop of David Wong’s John Dies at the End mixed in for added flavor. It’s one of the more entertaining books I read last year, so imagine my surprise when I found this new proof of concept video designed to raise funds for a full-length feature film.
This seven-minute clip introduces the book’s main characters – moody and street-smart teenage prodigy Baxter Zevcenko and drunken monster bounty hunter Jackie Ronin. The book follows the duo as they cut a swath through Cape Town’s supernatural underworld in order to save Baxter’s girlfriend.
No word yet on where the production goes from here, but this is a strong proof of concept video. Let’s hope someone sees it and decides to fund the feature.
Horror on the Horizon
Don’t look now, but it’s almost September – which means we’re just 30 short days from the greatest time of the year!
With summer now fading away like a sketchy hitchhiker in your rearview mirror, we can expect more genre offerings in the theater. Fall still gets its fair share of horror films, although it often feels like January through March has become the place where studios really like to dump their fright flicks.
September 1 doesn’t offer us anything that’s straight horror, but there is a re-release of Stephen Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This is a great opportunity to catch one of Spielberg’s best films on the big screen.
That’s great and all, but many of us have had September 8 circled on our calendar for months – because it’s the release date for the first film in a two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s It.
Early buzz for the film has been overwhelmingly positive, so if you were worried this adaptation was going to wind up like The Dark Tower, it seems like you can probably relax.
Horror on Home Video
The next two weeks sees a ton of great new releases on DVD and Blu-ray, so let’s just dig in.
September 5 brings us a 4K release of cult classic The Cabin in the Woods, along with the 12th season of The CW’s hit series Supernatural.
However, the real highlight is the release of A Dark Song, an indie chiller that garnered a lot of praise from the horror community after its debut earlier this year. Check out the trailer.
September 12 is packed with releases, including a new 2-Disc Blu-ray for Dario Argento’s Phenomena, Jordan Peele’s explosive Get Out, and an uncut Friday the 13th Blu-ray.