Filmmaker Tobe Hooper, best known for directing “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and Poltergeist,” died Saturday at his home in Sherman Oaks, the coroner’s office said Sunday.

Hooper, 74, was pronounced dead at his residence at 4:10 p.m. Saturday, said Investigator Rudy Molano of the coroner’s office.

“He looks to be a natural death,” Molano said.

Shot in six weeks for less than $300,000 in 1974, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” was banned in several countries for its graphic violence and was one of the most profitable independent films of the 1970s, featuring the character of  “Leatherface,” which was loosely based on serial killer Ed Gein.

“Poltergeist,” released in 1982, and written and produced by Steven Spielberg, became the eighth-highest grossing film of the year.

Hooper’s television adaptation of Stephen King’s vampire story “Salem’s Lot” in 1979 was also widely acclaimed.

In 2011, he co-authored “Midnight Movie,”  a post-modern horror novel in which he appeared as the main character.

Hooper, who is survived by two sons, was born in Austin, Texas on Jan. 25, 1943, and taught college before starting out in documentaries.

His directing career continued well into the 2000s, although his later films did not achieve the attention or acclaim of his early works.

–City News Service

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