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Tobe Hooper, ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ director, dies at 74

Tobe Hooper.
Tobe Hooper. Ludovic Kazeba/REX/Shutterstock

LOS ANGELES – Tobe Hooper, the horror-movie pioneer whose low-budget sensation The Texas Chain Saw Massacre took a buzz saw to audiences with its brutally frightful vision, has died. He was 74.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office says Hooper died Saturday in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. It was reported as a natural death.

READ MORE: ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ star Marilyn Burns dies at 65

Hooper and contemporaries like George Romero crafted some of the scariest nightmares that ever haunted moviegoers. He directed 1982’s Poltergeist from a script by Steven Spielberg and was behind the 1979 miniseries Salem’s Lot, from Stephen King‘s novel.

READ MORE: 13 horror movies for Halloween that are actually scary

But Hooper was best known for 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Made for less than $300,000, the tale of the Texas cannibal Leatherface inspired an entire genre of horror films.

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A host of directors expressed their sadness on Twitter upon hearing the news.