Tobe Hooper in the 1980s

Aug 12–20, 2024


Poltergeist. 1982. USA. Directed by Tobe Hooper. Image courtesy of Photofest
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1 The Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center

Presented in conjunction with our weeklong run of Tobe Hooper’s legendary The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), this series highlights the late director’s celebrated and controversial genre films of the 1980s: The Funhouse (1981), Poltergeist (1982), Invaders from Mars (1986), Lifeforce (1985), and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986). After starting the decade with the classical slasher The Funhouse (which earned him a chapter in Quentin Tarantino’s book Cinema Speculation) and a high-profile collaboration with Steven Spielberg on Poltergeist, Hooper turned to science fiction with a B-film-inspired remake of Invaders from Mars, followed by the bizarre, ill-fated space-vampire epic Lifeforce. Hooper closed out his ’80s run with the delirious sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which is considered by some superior to the original. Although he continued to challenge taboos—and decorum—on screen in the ’90s and into the 2000s, promising Hooper horror titles like Spontaneous Combustion, The Mangler, Night Terrors, and Toolbox Murders failed to impress critics or attract audiences.

Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Curator, and Sean Egan, Senior Producer, Department of Film.


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