Book Excerpt: Cinemaphagy: On the Classic Psychedelic Form of Tobe Hooper by Boy Scout Tafoya | Features

Cinemaphagie is the study of an artist’s professional life, his abundant creativity, his ardent cinephilia, his prolific career in film and television, his lasting influence beyond the saw. Horror filmmakers are too often labeled as suppliers of the macabre, but in truth, Hooper was one of the most daringly experimental genre filmmakers in the game, fusing Texan psychedelia with serious classic style gleaned from years of watching. classic movies. Hooper’s life and work are like four years of film school, and every film he made, no matter how thankless, no matter how ridiculous the task on paper, has become a rich, bubbling text on the political underside of the American cinema. No one has made films about cinema with less ostentation and with more love. Films with sinister titles like “Spontaneous Combustion” and “The Mangler” hide essays on labor history, Cold War iconography, and the corrosive legacy of a culture based on lies. Hooper is still too often portrayed as a man with a monolithic heritage, creator of a great movie and nothing else. It is long past time that the depth and breadth of his obsessions and gifts were discussed by a culture that ignored its years of hard work. “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” is literally just the beginning of one of the most exciting, free and expressionistic works in American cinema.

Poltergeist (1982)

There is some controversy over the individual contributions to the film made by Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Hooper, best known as the directors of The Texas Chainsaw. [sic] Massacre. I have no way of telling who did what, although Poltergeist seems much closer in spirit and sensibility to Mr. Spielberg’s best films than to those of Mr. Hooper. ~ Vincent Canby, The New York Times, June 4, 1982

To the sounds of a slightly garish version of “The National Anthem”, the credits appear and disappear in the incomparable Police Citizen Kane. He and Poltergeist both talk about the corrupting influence of money and the media, and Hooper was set to become the Orson Welles of the genre film. Fighting spirit is less overly literal than Kane, but it is no less powerful, although there is a slightly better allegory in Welles’ corpus. In Welles’ 1946 film The foreigner, a perfect suburban family is shattered when they realize that one of them is a Nazi to steal their daughter. In Fighting spirit, a perfect suburban family is shattered when a ghost invades their home and steals their daughter. The connections between Welles and Hooper are everywhere once you notice it. There’s the fact that the two have been judged their entire careers relative to their iconic debut success. Welles’ work with cinematographer Greg Toland seems to define Hooper’s relationship with the camera. Salem Lot and The foreigner have the same story rhythms and New England setting. In 1951, Welles adapted Othello, which is about a man driven to kill by a manipulative puppeteer, reminiscent of Leatherface and the Carny Mutant from The Funhouse working for their evil father figures. The trial persecuted Josef K and The Funhouse Amy Harper both spends the third act fleeing from malicious forces in an expressionist light. The decaying Welles family tree The magnificent Amberons throw leaves everywhere in Hooper’s filmography, especially in his Texas Chainsaw movies. Texas Chainsaw 2 even has a deranged spin on the Ambersons balloon, that movie’s famous centerpiece.

Fighting spirit begins by tackling the neuroses of the filmmakers of the 1950s: the emergence of television. Film after film (Whatever the sky allows, it should happen to you, Sunset Boulevardetc.) were concerned that the small screen would usurp the big screen, that people would not leave their homes if they could look at a hole in a box in the corner of the den. Have done Salem Lot for CBS and having grown up in the 1950s when television began to make its way into American homes, Hooper understood the allure and downsides of television. Poltergeist’s The first image is of the blurred lines of a very close-up television screen. Cinematographer Matthew F. Style resurrected for nostalgia by Douglas Slocombe for the Indiana Jones films). The national anthem playing as the family dog ​​gives us a view of the house says it’s the new American dream under Ronald Reagan. The television puts everyone to bed. Leonetti follows the dog away from its sleeping owner, giving us a glimpse of Funhouse beginning and end, of the head of the family, Steve (Craig T. Nelson) installed in his chair like a gargoyle, the light of the TV like the sparks of the murder of the mutant and the fortune teller. The dog finds his wife / mother Diane (JoBeth Williams) sleeping alone and a bag of chips under his sleeping daughter # 1 Dana (Dominique Dunne), then licks the hand of his son Robbie (Oliver Robbins) and daughter # 2 Carol Anne (Heather O ‘Rourke), which wakes her up. With his dozens of Star Wars movie posters and toys, Robbie is almost one of Hooper’s archetypal and precocious ones. But his expertise in all things science fiction is never put to good use (which says more about Spielberg’s script than Hooper). Carol Anne walks over to the television, drawn by a strange force of appeal, seeing models through static electricity like a junior Max Renn. “Helloooo? What do you look like? Speak louder, I can’t hear you. As she screams on TV, Michael Kahn’s montage takes us upstairs where Diane is awakened by Carol Anne’s voice, the sound transition montage is identical to that used by Hooper. Texas Chainsaw, Egg shells, and The Funhouse, maintain continuity between the different areas of the whole and connect them by character. The whole family comes down to watch her commune with the television, not knowing what to do or say.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: