Tobe Hooper movies were a part of my growing up: Salem’s Lot was on TV when I was a kid and I cycled home on a dark and stormy night from my friend’s place faster than the Wicked Witch of the West. It was the scariest thing I had ever seen. I still can’t sit through it for more than a few minutes. Not long after that we were taken to the big city with her college-age siblings who took us to the kinda thing no kid should see – that late night horror flick, The Funhouse. I could not remember a thing about it afterwards I had closed my eyes so frequently. Carnivals were never quite the same attraction for me after that experience. My friend’s brothers jumping at us from lamp posts right after it didn’t help. And then there was Poltergeist, produced by Steven Spielberg. It’s a pretty perfect film with just the right amount of terror in suburbia cushioned by the conventions of family life to make you think, That’ll never happen in my neighbourhood. And that was part of the point of the Hooper signature – the terror lurking in the ordinary, the slow build to unrelenting fear, the calm before the release of Grand Guignol-style horrors that are never far beneath the surface. There were rumours Spielberg himself had directed Poltergeist but a shot-by-shot analysis disproves that theory. Of course I had to be over 18 to rent Texas Chainsaw Massacre which pre-dated Hooper’s advance on the mainstream by several years. Growing up on the edge of the countryside made me nervous anyhow but the sound of chainsaws sends me back to that particular brand of cannibalism in perpetuity. Horrifying. Awesomely so. Those guys spawned their own progeny – well inbreeding is kind of a rural preoccupation, ain’t it?! Hooper took a producer role on the sequels. The Cannon films – Lifeforce and Invaders from Mars – were of course more normalised 80s-style horror/sci fi but I liked the latter enormously. It was beautifully made and sent me back to the original. He may have fallen off my particular charts aside from his TV episodes and movies, in an industry that became dispersed and driven more by quickly made video releases but those crucial early films with their stunningly controlled worlds which seemed rather closely related to my own lived reality make him a legend. RIP.