Tobe Hooper, 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' director, dies at 74

In this file photo dated Aug. 27, 2010, film maker Tobe Hooper in London. 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, died aged 74, Saturday Aug. 26, 2017, according to Los Angeles County coroner's office. (Ian West/PA FILE via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - 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 on Sunday said Hooper died Saturday in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. It was reported as a natural death.

Along with contemporaries like George Romero and John Carpenter, Hooper crafted some of the scariest nightmares that ever haunted moviegoers. Hooper directed 1982's "Poltergeist" from a script by Steven Spielberg, and helmed the well-regarded 1979 miniseries "Salem's Lot," from Stephen King's novel.

Hooper was a little-known filmmaker of documentaries and TV commercials when he made his most famous work: 1974's "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre." He made it for less than $300,000 in his native Texas, and yet it became one the most influential films in horror: a slasher film landmark.

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