Saturday, January 5, 2013

'Texas Chainsaw' Man: My Interview with Tobe Hooper

'Texas Chainsaw' man: Director Tobe Hooper on Leatherface, 'Lifeforce,' and more

Austin native Tobe Hooper is best known for writing and directing one of the most influential horror movies ever made, 1974's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." In conjunction with the release of "Texas Chainsaw 3D," the latest entry in the controversial franchise, Hooper sat down with the Austin Classic Movies Examiner to discuss the new film, his career, and his beginnings as a filmmaker in the late '60s.

"I was in Austin, making a lot of TV commercials, PSAs, documentaries. We had a little company called Film House, about five of us. We could even do post-production, although we had to get the 16-millimeter film developed in Dallas or over at channel seven. We did Farrah Fawcett's first professional work...We made a film called 'Eggshells' [a restored version screened at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival], a true hippie film, from the sandals up! It was about the beginning and end of a subculture."
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was banned in several countries upon its release. England banned the film for 23 years. The visceral terror evoked by the movie comes not from explicit gore and violence, but from Hooper's use of POV, the power of suggestion, and his creation of an all-encompassing atmosphere of dread. In the wake of the Newtown school massacre, film violence has once again become a hot-button issue. Hooper is not sold on the connection between screen violence and the violence endemic in American society: "I don't know how to respond. It's all a part of the same thing. The dark side of human nature...I don't think a horror movie is going to inspire a copycat, certainly not one running around with a chainsaw..."


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