It's been a year without you, TH.
This Sunday, August 26th, it will be one year to the day since Tobe Hooper passed away. It was a Saturday that he died, but I didn't learn the news until Sunday morning when Erika woke me up to tell me. That was a hard day. It's the hardest I've ever been affected by the loss of a celebrity or someone I didn't know, which, again, I think has a lot to do with how underappreciated he was in life. It will be sad when someone like Steven Spielberg passes away, because it's (almost) always sad when someone passes away and because it means no more Spielberg in the world. But he's the most celebrated filmmaker maybe ever, and he got to see his work rack up billions and win Oscars and be beloved by everyone on the planet, meaning he can die knowing the effect he had on the lives of millions and on cinema as an art form. I don't know for sure that Tobe Hooper ever got that. Shit, even the stupid Oscars left him out of their "In Memoriam" montage this year. The guy who directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, one of the best and most influential horror movies ever made, overlooked by the Academy. No fucking respect.
It's this desire to keep talking about him and to keep his name in the mouths of horror fans that made me want to organize the live tribute this Sunday, August 26th. I know the prospect of listening to a group of people praise and discuss a single filmmaker -- in particular one who so many failed to fully appreciate when he was alive -- may not sound the best way for you to spend a Sunday. I get it. But I also hope that you'll tune in and give it a chance, because it will hopefully be a really fun, really cathartic day that will shine an even brighter light on a great filmmaker and celebrate a bunch of cool movies. When I die very soon, my only contribution to the world of film criticism and discussion is that I have gotten a few people to either check out more Tobe Hooper movies or to at least revisit his work with more of an open mind. My incessant championing of him as a filmmaker has hopefully inspired up to 10 people to find a new appreciation for his movies beyond Texas Chain Saw and Poltergeist. That's a legacy I'm ok with.
I'm still sad all the time about losing TH, for reasons I've talked about in the past: sad that he lived so underappreciated, worked in the shadow of a bullshit controversy, died with more movies in him still left to make. I'm sad that I'll never meet him, never hear his Texas drawl in person, that I'll never get to tell him just how much I love his work and how much it means to me. That last one sounds so stupid, I know, because it seems like I'm making his death about me or that I think for one second that my telling him what a fan I am would be different than any of the thousands of people who said that very same thing to him in his lifetime. It's the height of narcissism to think that my saying it would be different, or even that my thinking it is different. The truth is that it's not. Me telling Tobe Hooper that he's my favorite director and that I obsessively love his movies might make him smile and he would thank me politely, then have the same conversation with the next person waiting to say something similar. But it would mean something to me to say it, and since I won't ever get the chance, this live tribute is the next best thing I can do. Hopefully somewhere, Tobe will be smoking a cigar and drinking a Dr. Pepper and listening, smiling and thanking me politely.
I love you, Tobe. This week's for you.