Hooper’s work shows that there’s always room for experimentation.
The word genre is usually accompanied by the distant sound of cage bars descending and locking into place. Horror films have rules. Science fiction films have rules. Romantic comedies have rules. But do they?
Hooper’s ‘The Mangler’ is, rather than a late-night mental snack, a tour-de-force.
In his newest video essay in the “Unloved” series for RogerEbert.com, Scout Tafoya shows, with his characteristically nuanced and incisive commentary, that Tobe Hooper, known most for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and perhaps least for the subject of this piece, The Mangler, knew how to bust open the boundaries of whatever genre he might be working in—usually sci-fi or horror—and create something new that stayed new. He did this primarily through technique—camera angles, bizarre color sense. In so doing, he demonstrated by example that there is always room, regardless of what genre a filmmaker might be working in, for experimentation. Watch Tafoya’s video and read our genre-defying points from Hooper’s work that any filmmaker might appreciate below: