Tobe Hooper (USA, 1943) debuted with the hippie semi-documentary movie
Eggshells (1969) and became a master of the horror genre with
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
Eaten Alive/ Death Trap/ Brutes and Savage (1977) is a more predictable
and sometimes cartoonish
slasher film in which the serial killer is a psychotic redneck in a setting
reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960).
The television miniseries Salem's Lot (1979) is an adaptation of the
Stephen King novel.
The Funhouse (1981) is a moderate thriller, with nods at
haunted houses and monsters of the
Tod Browning and
James Whale era,
four teenagers trapped in an amusement park after hours.
Poltergeist (1982), written and produced by Steven Spielberg (his first script written for another director and his first job as full-fledged producer),
is a classic of horror cinema.
(DeepL translation of my original Italian text)
A model family in suburban America, parents and three children, live a quiet middle-class life. The little girl, however, is different, sometimes seeming to communicate with the television set. One stormy night the little girl sleeps in bed with parents, but gets up in the middle of the night to watch the television set lose picture. She hears a voice talking to her and then it makes the whole room vibrate.
The next day the mother sees the dog on the bed seemingly obeying orders from above. She is cleaning in the kitchen, turns around for a moment and finds the chairs one on top of the other on the table-the only one present is the child. When the father comes home, the mother has her perform a series of experiments in the presence of the father. There and then the parents are not too concerned, but one day all hell breaks loose in the house, and the little girl disappears in a tornado that swiftly drifts away into the sky. The house is completely demolished, the pool drained, the saplings torn down. The parents search everywhere for the little girl without finding her, until the brother hears her voice coming--from the television set.
The parents call experts in parapsychological phenomena to observe the strange phenomena occurring in the house, particularly in the little girl's room, where all objects float in the air continuously. The experts conclude that this is a poltergeist phenomenon: the little girl is alive and is still in the house. The only way to communicate with her seems to be the television set. Experts try to make her materialize but fail as the house is shaken by violent turbulence. The experts stand guard day and night with their equipment. One night everyone sees a spirit coming down the stairs, and cameras have captured dozens of them.
The father is invited by his employer to visit the site where they are going to build new houses and thus discovers that the entire area had once been a cemetery-the graves were moved to make way for houses. The experts then bring in a dwarf exorcist who engages in a demonic struggle with the spirits and manages to bring the little girl back to the world of the living. Serenity seems to have returned to the house, and the father prepares to move out.
But a few days later the spirits return. The mother is taking a bath and the children are already in bed. A toy pounces on the little brother under the child`s unyielding gaze. An invisible being grabs the mother and flies her across the room. A monster throws her down the ladder. The mother comes out of the house to seek help in the rain but slips into the pool, which has turned into a mud puddle and is infested with skeletons. The mother, aided by a neighbor, returns to the house and enters the child`s room, which is in the grip of a hurricane. She saves the children just a moment before the monster sucks them away.
When her father arrives, the house is shrouded in lightning and the floors of the rooms are torn up by skeletons. He realizes that the builder, when he moved the cemetery, merely moved the headstones, and left the dead where they were. The family jumps into the car and flees as skeletons emerge from all the houses in the neighborhood, uprooting entire houses.
He then turned to science fiction with
the sci-fi horror
Lifeforce (1985), adapted by Dan O’ Bannon from Colin Wilson's novel "The Space Vampires" (1976) and with an Henry Mancini soundtrack, his most
visually arresting film.
A spaceship commanded by Carlsen is exploring a comet when they stumble upon a giant abandoned artificial asteroid and find two men and a beautiful woman, naked, hybernating inside crystal caskets. The men of the crew are mesmerized by the beauty of the hybernating woman. Then silence: the crew stop communicating with Earth.
A rescue mission is sent to investigate and finds the all crew turned into
desiccated corpses. It is impossible to identify the bodies.
The astronauts bring back to Earth the three hybernating aliens.
Meanwhile, astronomy fans are excited that the comet is approaching the Earth,
as announced on television news.
The woman is taken to the London laboratory of scientist Hans Fallada.
One day the guard cannot resist and touches the beautiful naked
hybernating woman. She wakes up and kisses him, but her passionate kiss turns into an electrical discharge that drains the man of his blood.
Another guard who has witnessed the killing on a camera is approached by the
woman, still naked, who invites him to use her body.
Fallada arrives in time to avoid the worst but she escapes.
She wanders naked around the laboratory killing other humans and then breaks
a glass wall and disappears in the streets of the city.
A colonel, Caine, is placed in charge of the operations.
The two hybernating men are kept in a separate room of the laboratory.
They wake up too but they are destroyed by soldiers who shoot them with
no hesitation and even throw grenades.
Fallada orders an autopsy on the desiccated body of the guard,
but the guard wakes up and emanates an electrical discharge that drains the doctor of his blood and restores his (the guard's) body as it was before the incident.
Soldiers capture him, sedate him and lock him in a cell, but he dies a horrible death in the cell.
A girl is killed by the female vampire in a park.
The dead bodies of the doctor and of the girl explode.
The missing commander of the original spaceship, Carlsen, is found alive.
He explains that,
the deadly power of the aliens, he set fire to the spaceship, and then ejected himself from the
spaceship (and somehow ended up landing on Earth).
Carlsen dreams that he has wild sex with the female vampire amid an electrical
storm and wakes up screaming.
Under hipnosis Carlsen can see that she is now a sexy woman named Helen and
locates her to a psychiatric clinic, but Carlsen realizes telepathically
that she has migrated into the body of the clinic's director.
She now tries to enter Carlsen's body, he resists her, and a psychic storm
devastates the clinic. She is loose again. Meanwhile in the lab Fallada discovers
more bad news:
the two male vampires have not been killed but simply migrated into the bodies of the soldiers who "killed" them.
The only good news is that Fallada finds a way to kill them by piercing their hearts with a sword: the same way that legends say to kill vampires.
Carlsen now confesses what he knows: that this alien race visited Earth before and Earth's vampires are their descendants.
Carlsen now confesses what happened on the spaceship: he couldn't resist and woke her up from hybernation, the woman killed all the men by luring them into sex with her, and only he survived. He is now haunted by the mystery of why he was spared.
Just then Caine and Carlsen hear a radio broadcast: people infected by the woman have become vampires, infected others, creating more and more vampires, and there is chaos in the street of the city, and martial law is declared.
Caine and Carlsen are summoned by the prime minister, but they see that the
prime minister himself has become a vampire.
They barely escape on a helicopter and can see explosions all over the city.
The city is isolated by the military to stop the "plague" and generals are
about to nuke London.
The alien spaceship (the giant asteroid) is now standing right on top of the city. Carlsen and Caine see a blue light emanating from the city and soaring towards the alien spaceship: all the energy absorbed by vampires and channeled through the female vampire.
Carlsen can still sense that the alien wants him and leaves the quarantine area
to find her. Carlsen and Caine drive through streets infested by vampires
and turned into burning ruins.
Carlsen's car is constantly attacked by mobs of vampires but he gets rid of them
and heads towards the blue light, hearing the sensual voice of the woman in his head.
Carlsen climbs steps full of dead bodies and enters St Paul's Cathedral.
Caine, searching for Carlsen, stops at Fallada's laboratory, where everybody except Fallada is dead.
Caine realizes that Fallada is infected too and shoots him dead.
Light blue bursts out of his dead body.
Caine takes Fallada's sword and leaves while the lab catches fire.
still looking for Carlsen, runs through the streets, avoiding explosions and mobs of screaming vampires, in an apocalyptic cityscape, following the blue light.
Meanwhile, Carlsen finds the woman lying on the altar of the cathedral, the blue light emanating from her body.
Caine reaches the steps of the cathedral and is confronted by a male alien.
Caine kills him and the alien turns into a giant bat.
Caine enters the cathedral and witnesses Carlsen and the woman having sex.
A desperate Carlsen asks the woman why he cannot resist her and she reveals that he is one of them, an alien.
Caine throws the sword to Carlsen who impales both himself and the woman.
They explode and soar into the sky towards the spaceship, that finally drifts away from Earth.
Invaders from Mars (1986) was a remake of William Cameron Menzies' sci-fi thriller Invaders from Mars (1953) about hostile and malevolent aliens.
Spontaneous Combustion (1990) is another science fiction movie, although without aliens, more like a superhero movie influenced by "Tales from the Crypt".
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) is a lame sequel to his classic.
Night Terrors (1993) is about a porno-sadistic-psychedelic cult.
The Mangler (1995) is a tedious adaptation of a Stephen King story.
Crocodile (2000) is a silly monster film.
His last films were:
Toolbox Murders (2004),
Mortuary (2005) and