Masters Tribute Roundtable: George A. Romero & Tobe Hooper

Recently three filmmakers currently making their mark in horror genre, sat down online to discuss and honor the work of two of horror’s most influential masters, George A. Romero & Tobe Hooper, who both passed away in 2017.

Christopher Paul Garetano

Christopher Paul Garetano:  In Christopher’s own words, “I’m a moviemaker. I grew up with a profound love for horror movies and cinema in general. My parents owned a video store when I was a kid so movies are and always were a major part of my life. I studied practiced special effects makeup from the age of five.  I was a film major and I’m a graduate of the School Of Visual Arts.


I agreed to do this roundtable with Terry and Patrick because not only are they great guys, but it’s also because of my undying respect for the mighty Tobe Hooper and George A. Romero.

Christopher Paul Garetano on set

I’m the writer and creator of the screenplay/graphic novel, South Texas Blues (published in Fangoria Magazine in 2012) that tells the tale of a thirty-year-old Tobe Hooper while making the infamous Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Screengrab from Montauk Chronicles

Also, After I made Horror Business, George Romero contacted me and supported its DVD release by offering a quote for the box and inviting me to the set of Diary Of The Dead where I was lucky enough to spend time with one of the most wonderful human beings ever to grace the earth.

Screengrab from Montauk Chronicles

My schedule is insanely busy so please excuse my brevity. There isn’t enough I could ever write about either of these amazing men.

I’m also the director and creator of the documentary Horror Business (Image Entertainment 2005) as well as the 2015 docudrama Montauk Chronicles.

Recently my network TV special “The Dark Files” premiered on The History Channel.  I am the executive producer, host, and director of recreations.  We’re busy working on THE DARK FILES series.  I’m currently working on several other movies and network TV projects, including my first feature-length horror movie OFF TO THE WITCH.

Patrick Rea

 Patrick Rea is a prolific, award-winning independent filmmaker recognized for his innovative storytelling and creative directing style in horror and suspense.


Screengrab from Nailbiter

His feature film, “Nailbiter” was released on May 28, 2013 through Lionsgate Home Entertainment on DVD/VOD, Redbox and Digital Downloads. It has since aired on FearNet, NBC/Universal’s Chiller Network and The Horror Channel UK.

Patrick Rea on set

Rea’s stylized short films have screened in over a hundred film festivals around the world. In the summer of 2008, Rea’s short film “Woman’s Intuition” won a Heartland Emmy Award. In 2009, Rea was co-director on the “Jake Johanssen, I Love You” comedy special, which aired on Showtime throughout 2010. Rea won his second Heartland Emmy Award with the short “Get Off My Porch“. He has also been nominated for two Mid-America Emmy Awards.

Screengrab from Arbor Demon (Formally Enclosure)

Other directorial efforts include the recent 6 part docu-series on Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital titled “Inside Pediatrics” narrated by Paul Rudd, which received a 2015 Mid-America Emmy Award. His 2010 short film “Do Not Disturb” was featured in the “The Invoking 2” which was released in the Redbox on Oct 6th, 2015 through Image Entertainment.

Screengrab from Arbor Demon (formally Enclosure)

Rea’s latest horror feature “Arbor Demon” (formally “Enclosure”) starring Fiona Dourif and Jake Busey had its World Premiere at FrightFest in the UK and was released on February 3rd, 2017 in North America through Gravitas Ventures.

Screengrab from Arbor Demon (formally Enclosure)

The film is currently on Hulu.  Rea has also completed directing principal photography on the family drama titled “Belong to Us” due for completion in 2017.

Terry R. Wickham

Terry R. Wickham is a New York based award-winning Writer/Director. Terry’s first feature film was 132-minute feature film drama Out of Touch (1995).  In the urban horror film Evil Streets (1998), Terry directed the rape-ghost story revenge segment “The Downfall of Johnny Garrett” and “Stalk” starring busty beauty SaRenna Lee.  Evil Streets was self-distributed in 1998 by Wickham and his two partner’s companies, making a profit for them all.

Terry R. Wickham on the set of “Stash”

In 2003, Wickham’s film Washington Road was selected as the Grand Prize winner of the International ThreeMinute Chillers Contest @, sponsored by Apple.  This led to Wickham signing a deal to have his film be part of a proposed TV series from

Screengrab from Hair of the Dog

That year Wickham also directed Hair of the Dog for Writer/Producer Tim Clark, which was a critically acclaimed film about a blonde bombshell female serial killer nicknamed “Bloody Mary.”

Screengrab from “The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound)

Since 2013 Wickham has never been busier.  During in the four years since, he’s directed four horror films “Stash” (2014), “The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound)” (2015), “Abandoned” (2016) all part of Devil’s Five feature film and “Gruesome Threesome” (2017).

Screengrab from “Stash”

Plus Terry made two teaser trailers; one for the psychological thriller XXistence (2015) and the other the gangster film Whatever It Takes (2017).  Terry also directed a TV infomercial for Super Punch and Kick Target (2015) and the Music Video “Again” off Veronica Freeman’s solo album Now or Never (2015).

Screengrab from “Abandoned”

October 22, 2017 Devil’s Five celebrated it’s Red Carpet World Premiere. Wickham’s other latest feature film, currently is beginning post-production, is a webcam rooted horror film called Gruesome Threesome (2017), which will make “The Downfall of Johnny Garrett“, “Stalk“, “Hair of the Dog” available for public to see and a new wraparound sure to please the most ardent horror fans worldwide.

What is your favorite George A. Romero movie and why?

Christopher Paul GaretanoDay Of The Dead. It’s probably one of the most boldly macabre motion pictures ever made. It has this dark black exterior with no hope in sight and then eventually it graces us with this beautifully warm ending, laced with hope.

Screengrab from Day of the Dead

It didn’t project to me to be a tacked on ending either. It wasn’t designed to placate the weak of heart.  The ending to Dawn Of The Dead was changed from Fran committing suicide to a more upbeat ending.

I think that Sarah, John, and Billy (in Day Of The Dead) were always destined to get away.  The movie is the creation of a genuine soul of a man who simply just wanted to exit this awful place.  George saw how messed up our society was and expressed that in his movies.  The current political climate is as dark as ever and it’s a fucking shame George isn’t around to tell another tale.  That’s our job now I suppose.

Screengrab from George A. Romero’s 1985 second living dead sequel

These days this type of cinema is completely in-vogue but back then it was a financial risk (because of the MPAA) as well as a unique combination that had quite a limited audience. I feel like this was the peak of all Romero movies. It encompassed all of the best of Romero’s work up until that point.  And people also need to respect and realize that The Walking Dead would not exist if it wasn’t for Day Of The Dead in particular.

Patrick Rea:  I would have to say that my favorite Romero film has always been “Creepshow”.   The film has had a big influence on my career since I’ve spent a lot of time making short films.  There is something about the tone of “Creepshow” that I have always loved.  It blends humor, a feeling of child-like innocence and horror almost effortlessly.

Screengrab from “Something to Tide You Over” segment from Creepshow

My favorite segments from “Creepshow” include “Something to Tide You Over” and “The Crate”.  Both vignettes have an emphasis on suspense, but contain some really intelligent dark humor.

Leslie Nielson in “Something to Tide You Over”

Leslie Nielson’s performance in “Something to Tide You Over” is menacing, but also tongue firmly in cheek.  He makes you almost forget that he’s the same actor who plays the bumbling Frank Drebin in the “Naked Gun” series.

“Billie” (Adrienne Barbeau) gets what’s coming to her in Creepshow

The Crate” showcases stellar performances by Hal Holbrook and Fritz Weaver, but it’s Adrienne Barbeau that steals the segment by playing one of the most annoying wives ever captured on celluloid.

Screengrab from Creepshow

I have often fantasized about making a film like “Creepshow” in the near future, and I’m hoping someday I can achieve that.

Terry Wickham: My favorite George A Romero film is Dawn of the Dead.  I don’t think there’s another movie like it.  Dawn of the Dead has the unique combination of social commentary, humor, drama, suspense and all out gore.  It just really floored me when I first saw it.  I watched it probably three years after it’s initial release, when as a high school student, I caught it at a special showing on the big screen at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington.  I wasn’t prepared for what the film delivered.

Tom Savini’s Special Make-Up Effects explode in Dawn of the Dead

The Special Make-Up Effects work done by Tom Savini was obviously groundbreaking and hard to forget. The throbbing music score by Goblin was very memorable.  Dario Argento’s support of helping Romero doing his film way in conjunction with Richard Rubinstein’s production assistance proved to be historically significant.

George A. Romero on the set of Dawn of the Dead

All the technical Pittsburgh crew behind the film, just really gave it a distinct voice for an American film that together makes it stand out. You can feel the passion the effort the crew made by the way film plays.  The work behind the film exudes heartfelt honesty and not a hint of Hollywood BS.

Small airport in George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead

I love the Pittsburgh locations; the apartment building in beginning, the small airport, open grassy fields with National Guard, Pittsburgh skyscraper with lights going up with Helicopter taking off all left lasting impressions on me besides the Monroeville Mall.

Romero had a lot to say about our consumer driven society in Dawn of the Dead

The analogy Romero captures of the American Consumer within the shopping mall is obviously telling and honestly brilliant.  Dawn just has so many great set-pieces, locations, memorable actors (including Savini in a show stopping role) that I just truly love it and can watch it over and over again.

What is your favorite Tobe Hooper movie and why?


Garetano: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is mine for sure with a close second being Salem’s Lot.

Screengrab from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the stuff of pure cinematic genius on every level. It works entirely and it’s rarely matched by other horror movies. It’s a partial reflection of the end of the Vietnam era in the Southwestern United States.

Tobe Hooper on the legendary set of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The set and making of was intense and it was created like a piece of intense American folk art than a bunch of pompous wannabee movie makers trying to relive their childhood pizza parties.

An authenticity of texture and an honest nuance was captured and it went untainted by typical production constraints, boardroom committees, and egotistical screenwriters. It’s something that I think every real moviemaker worth their salt attempts to achieve but rarely accomplishes. It’s real, yet not exactly reality. It could happen. It avoids manufactured story beats and chapters and it allows you into its dark world and it remains the driver.

Screengrab from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

It’s a surreal nightmare that’s possible and has probably happened. Think about what a night in Ed Gein’s farmhouse was really like and you might understand what I mean.

So as a horror movie it’s untainted by modern nerd sensibilities and has a way of exhibiting a nightmare from some other dimension directly to your cerebral cortex.

Rea:  Probably my favorite horror film of all time is “Poltergeist”.  It has influenced every film I’ve tried to make in some capacity, from shot choices to lighting.  My feature “Nailbiter” was heavily influenced by this film in terms of creating a believable and likable family dynamic.  Jerry Goldsmith’s score for “Poltergeist” is one of the best ever written for a horror film and I used it as an example of what I was looking for in the “Nailbiter” score.

Tobe Hooper on the set of Poltergeist

I know that there have been rumors for decades that Hooper didn’t direct the film and that Spielberg had a major hand in it’s style.  Some of this is apparent in it’s visual similarities to E.T.  However, I do believe that Hooper deserves credit for directing the film.  He clearly has his stamp on the film, despite it having a more Spielbergian feel.

Screengrab from Poltergeist

In fact, when you see a film like Hooper’s “The Funhouse”, you can see comparisons in style to “Poltergeist” from the lighting to camera work.  Even his later films, “Invaders From Mars” and “Lifeforce” have shots composed that echo “Poltergeist.”

Wickham:  My favorite Tobe Hooper movie is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I first watched the movie on VHS in that format’s early infancy.  I actually saw it the first time with one of my early girlfriends and I thought it was absolutely relentless.  It felt dangerous watching it because of it’s horrific thrust.

Tobe Hooper inside the “Van Scene” of TCM

Hooper really develops of palpable atmosphere of tension, which is aided by not only those beautiful shots that he accomplished with DP Daniel Pearl, but the odd music, scorching Texas locations and of course all the terrifying situations he put all his characters in.  Especially actress Marilyn Burns.

Why are all these cars hidden under camouflage cover in TCM?

Like any horror classic, it has countless moments not easy to forget; the dead armadillo cooking in the road at beginning, the tense encounter with the hitchhiker in the movie’s opening van scene, daddy-long legs in frenzy in the ceiling corner of house, finding all the camouflaged automobiles outside the Sawyer home, Leatherface emerging out the sticker bushes at night illuminated by flashlight, the putrid dinner table scene and of course Leatherface swinging his running chainsaw at sunset closing.

Dinner at the table is madness in TCM

At that time, I had never seen a movie that was so unforgiving in its depiction of physical madness.  That’s a real credit to the late filmmaker because he brilliantly engineered the cinemascape.  I’m also always fascinated & impressed how the title of the movie makes most people think it’s an utter bloodbath, when it’s really not.

Not the sort of person you want to meet in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Though Hooper created some fantastic work after TCM like The Funhouse, Poltergeist and Lifeforce, I don’t think he ever topped The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

This is why it’s my favorite of his legacy and easily one of the best genre landmark films ever made.

What do you feel is technically is George a Romero’s crowning achievement or technically best made film and why? (Obviously it may be different than your favorite Romero film)

Garetano:  Hands down it’s Day Of The Dead. Everything from its zombie apex of Savini-land makeup, which rivals any zombie portrayal that’s been made since. Also Cletus Anderson’s production design.

DP Michael Gornick & George A. Romero on the set of Day of the Dead

This was made by Romero’s perfected band of brothers and sisters.  The Michael Gornick photography is solid; monochromatic laced with dark red and black grue, and it’s symmetry and editing reminds me of the great masters of cinema.

Rea:  “Dawn of the Dead” I believe is Romero’s crowning achievement.  While this isn’t my favorite Romero film, I think it’s the one that holds the most influence.  It is a follow-up to Night of the Living Dead, and I believe it ups the ante in terms of style, effects, action and characterization.

Dawn of the Dead is not for the faint of heart

I have one very fond memory of this film.  In high school I was doing a report for one of my health classes on whether horror films affect people’s blood pressure.  I used my sister as my guinea pig and sat her down in front of the television.  I played five minutes of “The Little Mermaid” and took her blood pressure.  I then found one of the gorier and most intense scenes in “Dawn of the Dead” and played it for her.  It made her blood pressure noticeably higher.  Thankfully, I got an “A.”

Wickham: I believe that George a Romero’s crowning achievement is Creepshow. It’s was not easy to come to this decision because of my love of Dawn, my appreciation of Night of the Living Dead and even the tremendous appeal of Day of the Dead.

George A. Romero and Stephen King on the set of Creepshow

But I do think if you look at all possible factors, Romero was totally in his prime on this movie. It included his Pittsburgh staff of technicians and crew who made him the best he could be. I believe that even Stephen King’s involvement was a positive thing, as not only did King star in “The Lonesome Death of Jody Verrill” but King wrote the script.  The whole picture has both of their fingerprints all over it.

Tom Savini created “Fluffy” for “The Crate”

I think that Tom Savini took his art as a special effects makeup artist, especially with “Fluffy” in “The Crate“, to another level.

“Father’s Day” is celebrated a bit different in Creepshow

The acting was just incredibly good.  Whether you’re talking about Ed Harris in “Father’s Day” or Ted Danson and Leslie Nielsen in “Something to Tide You Over”. Of course, Fritz Weaver, Hal Holbrook and Adrienne Barbeau in “The Crate” were equally impressive. But EG Marshall probably steals a whole show “They’re Creeping Up On You.”

Just think, if you look at the animation combined with live action, there was so many things that could have gone wrong with the movie.

But when you put it all together with John Harrison’s atmospheric music and the stylish cinematography by Michael Gornick. It’s funny, it’s dramatic, and it’s got twists, turns and all kinds of fun. I just think it’s Romero’s best film overall, though my favorite of his would be Dawn of the Dead.

What do you feel is technically Tobe Hooper’s crowning achievement or technically best made film and why?  (Obviously it may be different than your favorite Hooper film)

Garetano: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre!!!!!! Once again it finds a purity and a simplistic realism to its horror.

Tobe Hooper taking a break on the torrid set of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Nothing needs to be explained however its depth can be analyzed and studied forever.   It’s not forced or strategically designed. It was made with a primal and cosmic connection to the universe.


Rea:  I honestly think that “Lifeforce” is in many ways his technical achievement.  The film tanked when it was released, but it has since grown to have a cult following.  I think there has never been another movie like it since.

Matilda May is wickedly beautiful in Lifeforce

The film blends sci-fi and horror and isn’t entirely successful.  The story meanders and the tone is all over the place.  The acting is often uneven, but always watchable.  However you have to admire it’s sheer ambition.

Lifeforce is super-charged with stunning cinematography, Special Make-Up & Visual FX

The cinematography is amazing, the score fantastic and the special effects still hold up to this day.  It’s a vampire film, space opera and zombie flick all wrapped into one.    It’s one of those films I watch whenever it’s on television even though I have it on VHS and Blu-ray.

Wickham:  Tobe Hooper’s crowning achievement is Poltergeist.

I know some people have accused Steven Spielberg of directing the movie, but I can say first hand that I was dared to ask Poltergeist actor James Karen (in person at a Chiller Convention back in 1995) if Tobe Hooper actually directed the movie. After I nicely asked him, he jumped down my throat with such a strong reaction, it proved to me who is actually behind the helm of that film.

Screengrab from Poltergeist

I think if you look at the shots, the visual flow of the movie, though it’s set in a Spielbergesque environment, I think there’s no doubt that it was Hooper.  Tobe Hooper was at an age and a period of his career where he was in full command of his talent. With Spielberg’s production support, Hooper was given the right tools, money and conditions to flourish.

Poltergeist was a very scary movie when I saw it in the theater during its initial release. I know it was a worldwide success, which may make many people forget how frightening the movie actually was.

The clown doll in Poltergeist is definitely something to fear

I will never forget the audience’s reaction when we were all squirming in anticipation when that clown doll came up behind the girl on the bed. The way that unforgettable sequence was visualized by Hooper, edited, sound effects and music score by Jerry Goldsmith was just amazing.

Don’t go in the pool in Poltergeist

Add the chair sliding across the dining room floor, creepy tree at the window, the skeletons in the muddy pool behind the house, guy ripping his face off in the mirror in the bathroom, creepy images on the TV set, all that stuff was just money in the bank in terms of horror film effectiveness.

For all these reasons I believe Poltergeist was Tobe Hooper’s the pinnacle accomplishment of his directing career.

What is the most interesting film George A Romero ever made and why?  (Obviously it may be different than your favorite Romero film or his crowning achievement)

Garetano:  Day Of The Dead.  Because of all of the above and below.

But as a second:

Bruiser, Martin, and Knightriders equally.

George A. Romero’s Dark Half : Cinema 1-Sheet Poster

Rea:  That is a difficult question.  I was half tempted to say “Monkey Shines” for it’s oddball story, but I would have to say that “The Dark Half” was always the most interesting film to me.

THE DARK HALF, Director George A. Romero, (far left), on set, 1993. (c)MGM.

I enjoyed the book as well, and found that the film was actually a little under-appreciated at the time of it’s release.  I vaguely remember it being shelved for a couple years because Orion was in bankruptcy and when they finally released it, it wasn’t well advertised.

Screengrab from The Dark Half

I did get to see it opening weekend, and the first scene where we see the twin’s eye open inside his brain was terrifying.  There hasn’t been another film like it really, as far dealing with duality in a supernatural way.  I also think Timothy Hutton’s mad-cap performance is highly under-rated.

Wickham: The most interesting George A. Romero film would have to be Martin.

Not all is what it seems in George A. Romero’s Martin

Martin is such an unusual, personal, distinct vision of a story that combines a guy who’s almost delusional thinking he’s a vampire or wanting to be a vampire, with Old World vampire rules.

Martin has a unique visual look attained by Michael Gornick

The way Martin was shot by Michael Gornick, which was the first time he worked with Romero, almost seems like a black and white film. It’s muted, almost devoid of color and just has a really bleak feel amongst the industrial landscape of Pittsburgh.

“Tada Cuda” (Lincoln Maazel) is not your normal vampire adversary in Martin

The music score by Donald Rubenstein certainly contributes to this movie’s quality.  It features small instrumentation that provides a real intimate portrayal that’s wonderfully acted out by John Amplas as “Martin Mathias” and the religious character “Tateh Cuda” played by Lincoln Maazel.

Special Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Savini begun his legendary team up  with George A. Romero on Martin

One must also consider it was the first-time Special Make-Up Effects artist Tom Savini collaborated with Romero and their teaming would turn out to be one for the ages.

Martin is a movie that’s hauntingly powerful. For these reasons I can understand why it was George A. Romero’s personal favorite film.

What is the most interesting film Tobe Hooper ever made and why?  (Obviously it may be different than your favorite Hooper film and his crowning achievement)



Rea:  I would have to stick with “Lifeforce” for this as well.  I like to introduce new people to that film whenever I can.  I still haven’t gotten my wife to watch it yet though.

Lifeforce has all kinds of sci-fi/horror goodies

I think the film always holds my interest because of how its story switches direction.  It starts off in outer space with an epic feel, then it becomes a vampire movie on Earth, then a chase film as they try to track down the Space Girl and finally an apocalyptic zombie movie in the third act.

Wickham:  Though I’m tempted to say Eaten Alive with that foggy hotel and the big alligator in the swamp behind it, which was really has a fascinating feel but I have to go with The Funhouse.

Screengrab from The Funhouse shows how brilliantly the Hooper’s movie was lit by Cinematographer Andrew Laszlo

There’s such a palpable texture in The Funhouse that comes from the combination of the stunning cinematography by Andrew Laszlo carrying out Tobe Hooper’s atmosphere-drenched vision. Their use of anamorphic lenses and those two high-crane shots are breathtaking.

“Who will dare to face the challenge of the funhouse? Who’s brave enough…? Who is mad enough to enter that world of darkness? You will scream with terror. You will beg for release, but there will be no escape…for there is no release from the funhouse.”

There is also the Miami funhouse setting itself, the carnival having all those people and weird characters, that it makes for just a movie-going experience you can’t easily forget.

I have to include the tremendous musical score from John Beal, which is huge part of the movie’s unmistakable atmosphere.  I think Beal’s score is criminally underrated .

Rick Baker’s monster creation for The Funhouse

Rick Baker’s monster, that’s covered in a mask for most of the movie, gets a super exciting reveal at the the last quarter of the film.

Terror creeps up on you in Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse

You have a nail biting climax with large gears turning, the chained hooks traveling around, the large fan blade spinning near the girl in that little claustrophobic tunnel area. The Funhouse just has so much going for it.

It didn’t hurt to learn later about how when they were shooting it in North Miami they had to endure the real life Scarface Wars going on, where bullets we’re flying about the set and there was a tense Teamster War going on during the making the movie. I think all of that really contributes to the overall dark texture the radiates on the screen.

Anomalies are abound in The Funhouse

It’s one of those rare movies where it’s not so much about the story or actors but rather the look, feel and mood stays with you long after watching the movie, even if you’ve only seen it once.

Your favorite shot ever in any George A Romero film?

Zombies run amok in George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead, which proceeded The Walking Dead by 2 decades

Garetano:  Once again, Day Of The Dead has a very Kubrickian feel to it. Michael Gornick didn’t make these decisions alone.  It’s clear that George Romero’s mind was an in a very serious place. So, it had the symmetry of a Kubrick movie.

The master filmmaker fits right in with his environment

I think George was extremely serious and ambitious making Day Of the Dead. Whereas maybe there was loose fun and madness on the set of Dawn Of The Dead.

Like Romero’s approach to all his Dead films, “Bub” brought an intelligence level we had not seen before in a zombie movie

It seems to me that Day Of The Dead was Romero lashing out at the establishment with passion.  He was “John”, George’s solution to the mess that surrounds us was to simply turn his back on it all.
They’re all dead and time is all we have left.

Helicopter Zombie from Dawn of the Dead

Rea:  I always loved the shot in Dawn of the Dead where the zombie gets the top of his chopped off by the helicopter propellers.

Wickham:  My favorite shot in the George A. Romero movie actually is two shots. Both of them come from Dawn of the Dead.

The first one is the motorcycle gang’s perspective looking through the binoculars and seeing the helicopter on top of the mall. It’s not so much the technicality of the shot, or the binocular filter bordering the outside of the frame. but rather how this shot carries a lot of dramatic power, because our protagonists are discovered and their makeshift home/commercial paradise, is going to be violated by this group of thugs.

The other shot is the long lens rifle scope perspective “Peter” (Ken Foree) sees to shoot the gangster riding on the back of the three-wheeled motorcycle driving away at the tail end of the gang’s invasion of the mall. Again it’s not so much the technical aspect of the shot, but rather the payoff and satisfaction we get as audience to have these Ruffians not escape unscathed.

Your favorite shot ever in a Tobe Hooper film?

Garetano: This is difficult to answer as I’m more fond of completed scenes than particular shots, but I’ll give several scenes:  in Salem’s Lot, especially the Hospital scene, is a master display of horror and suspense.

Death slowly rises up in Salem’s Lot

When Ben Mears (David Soul) is praying and taping two tongue depressors together to make a crucifix, and as the vampire is slowly rising from the gurney is one of the most suspenseful scenes in all of horror history (skip forward to 6 minute 37 seconds to view this scene).

There’s not a horror movie in the last thirty years that has matched it.

Rea:  The final shot of Texas Chainsaw with Leatherface swinging the chainsaw is iconic.

Wickham: It has to be the under-the-swing dolly shot in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  What Tobe Hooper did so brilliantly how he set this incredible shot up with the lateral dolly shot at the beginning of this scene that proceeds it.  This is where the camera moves laterally over past the tree to show the audience the swing set.  As we look through it at “Kirk” (William Vail) and Pam (Teri McMinn) first visit Leatherface’s house, it makes it seem as they are kind of safe at first.

But then Hooper and DP Daniel Pearl are amazing are ratcheting up the tension by alternating contrast between Paul entering the shadowy house, with Texas sun blowing out the background out of the door (I never forgot those trees blowing in the wind behind him) and Pam relaxing by sitting on the swing set.  The fact there’s no music here only intensifies the suspense.

After Kirk meets Leatherface at that metal doorway in the house, they cut back to Pam who says, “Kirk” then she gets up, they cut back to a low angle shot behind the swing and then the camera MOVES forward under the swing, following behind Pam’s beautiful backside (

This dolly shot has so much power not only because of Pam’s obvious qualities, but as the wide-angle lens gets closer to the Sawyer home, it makes the house get bigger and bigger as we MOVE towards it.  At this point we already know there’s something very dangerous inside.  Absolutely knock-out work by Tobe Hooper and cinematographer Daniel Pearl.

Best acting performance in George A. Romero movie ever?

Lori Cardille as “Sarah” and Howard Sherman as “Bub” standout in Day of the Dead

Garetano:  Howard Sherman and Lori Cardille in Day Of The Dead

E.G. Marshall as “Upson Pratt” in Creepshow

 Rea:  I would have to say that E.G. Marshall’s performance in the segment of “Creepshow” called “They’re Creeping Up On You,” is probably my favorite.  He oozes evil yet doesn’t chew the scenery.  His character is so despicable that you are actually cheering for the cockroaches.

Wickham: George Romero had some incredible performances in his films over the years.  I actually couldn’t choose one so instead I have a tie between E.G. Marshall’s performance as “Upson Pratt” in “They’re Creeping Up On You” from Creepshow and also Richard Liberty as “Doctor Logan” in Day of the Dead.

E.G. Marshall as “Upson Pratt” in Creepshow

E.G. Marshall’s performance in Creepshow was so multi-layered and dimensional that he made you despise him, yet you felt sorry for him, you laughed with him, he was just pulled off such a varied, super-controlled expressionistic performance that nobody can ever forget.

Richard Liberty as the mad scientist “Logan (aka Dr. Frankenstein)” in Day of the Dead

Richard Liberty portrayed such an eccentric odd character in ” Doctor Logan (aka Dr. Frankenstein)” that it’s amazing he really made you care about both him and “Bub”, his lead zombie.  I just felt that he brought credibility to such an outrageous farfetched situation and for him to be able to do that, proved how great of an actor he really was.

The business lost two great actors when those men passed away.

Best acting performance in a Tobe Hooper movie ever?


Garetano: Marylin Burns, Jim Siedow, and Edwin Neal in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Jobeth Williams as “Diane Freeling” and Craig T. Nelson as “Steve Freeling” in Poltergeist

 Rea:  Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams tie for best performance.  Both are fabulous in “Poltergeist”.  Some may argue that it was Spielberg who directed them, but he was rumored to not have been there for all of production.  There isn’t a single false moment with them in the film, therefore credit should be given to Hooper.

Wickham: This was kind of difficult because there wasn’t an obvious choice right off the bat though there were some standout performances over the course of Hooper’s filmography.

I considered the family from Poltergeist, who I really liked and cared about. But the one that stood out the most is Bill Moseley as “Chop Top Sawyer” in the sequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

His portrayal was at times a little bit over-the-top, but he made such a threatening presence when he went from the comedic madness aspect to the aggressive attacker mode.  Especially those scenes within the radio station that were so indelible and powerful I just had to choose him because he felt like someone to be afraid of.

For more info on each filmmaker please visit their websites:

Christopher Paul Garetano

Patrick Rea

Terry R. Wickham