There’s no data to back this up, but most of the people making horror movies – like horror movie fans – are some of the nicest people on the planet. Our friend Tobe Hooper (along with his writing partner Kim Henkel) created one of the most iconic horror characters of all time: Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Ah, but there’s so much more to Chainsaw than just Leatherface. Just as there was so much more to Tobe Hooper.
How did a mild mannered college professor and documentary cameraman end up a horror movie icon? It started with talent. Tobe hit the ground with an amazing eye. While making a horror movies was a calculated decision, once Tobe committed to making a horror movie, he brought every bit of A game he had.
Before Texas Chainsaw Massacre, movie monsters were mostly supernatural (like vampires or werewolves) or back from the dead in some way (like Frankenstein’s monster). Chainsaw led the charge in making humans the monster. That changed the horror business. And that, in turn, changed the movie business.
Our guests in this episode are people who’ve worked with Tobe and fans who adore his work. Gil and I worked with Tobe on a couple of projects. “Haunted Lives” was a supernatural true crime pilot that we did for CBS. “Tales From The Crypt” needs no introduction. We’ll talk to Kim Henkel, Tobe’s writing partner on Chainsaw and several other features. Also we’ll talk to cinematographer Levie Isaacks.
Levie worked on Chainsaw but not as its camera person. At that point in his career, Levie was a news reader at a radio station in Texas. Tobe and Kim hired Levie to read the news copy at the top of the movie. In time, Tobe and Levie’s working relationship would flourish.
Gil also has some great Tobe stories. They were good friends up until Tobe’s untimely, unexpected passing.
So – curl up and get comfy with this one – we promise not to try and scare you (much).