Over 40 years after leaving his mark on the world of cinema with his breakout horror hit The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, filmmaker Tobe Hooper passed away this weekend, with some of the biggest names in contemporary horror taking to the internet to share their connection to the director. While some took to Twitter and others took to Instagram, Rob Zombie had an incredibly personal connection with Hooper's work, which he shared with Rolling Stone.
While many horror fans can remember exactly when and where they were when first seeing Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Zombie's experience began with the film's commercial. Zombie claims to have first encountered the footage when he was nine years old, explaining, "We were watching television when suddenly it happened: a commercial for the movie that would change my life came onscreen. I couldn't believe what I was seeing – and unfortunately, neither could my friend. He immediately started to cry. He was so freaked out by the images he'd just seen that his Mother had to rush over to retrieve her shell-shocked child."
Zombie's first film, House of 1000 Corpses, took a page from Hooper's playbook, as that film featured a group of travelers on a road trip who crossed paths with the sadistic Firefly family, falling victim to the psychopaths. Similarly, Texas Chain Saw Massacre features a group of characters on a road trip who come across the Sawyer family, becoming the victims of the cannibalistic clan.
The filmmaker went on to describe not just the impact Hooper's film made on horror films, but the impact his movie had on a regularly used power tool.
"As soon as Leatherface appears in that open doorway in front of that blood red wall decorated with animal skulls ... it was all over," explained Zombie. "And by the time he slams that metal door shut 17 seconds later, we knew Tobe Hooper had made something that would change the course of film history forever. Before this film, who the hell was even thinking about chainsaws as anything but a power tool for Lumberjacks? Now you can only think of one thing when you hear the word 'chainsaw.' Pure terror. It altered the culture."
Early in the piece, Zombie recalled an interview he read in which Orson Welles claimed, "Well, you only need one," in regards to the amount of good films one makes in their career. Zombie assured Hooper would be remembered for how he changed the culture of horror with TCSM, reminding, "Orson Welles was right. You only need one."