University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Tobe Hooper:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Hooper, Tobe, 1943-
Title: Tobe Hooper Papers
Dates: 1941–1983 (bulk 1967–1975)
Abstract: The Tobe Hooper Papers document the creation of director, writer, and producer Tobe Hooper's first feature-length films, Eggshells and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Papers include production notes, publicity documents, photographs, negatives, slides, clippings, serials, and props along with other professional and personal materials.
Call Number: Film Collection FI-014
Extent: 9 document boxes (3.78 linear feet), 6 oversize boxes (osb)
Language: English and French
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Biographical Sketch

Director, writer, and producer Tobe Hooper was born in Austin, Texas, on January 25, 1943. Hooper's parents were hotel managers who also owned a movie theatre in San Angelo, Texas, and Hooper became a fan of the cinema at a young age. He studied film at the University of Texas at Austin, and his early films included the short Heisters (circa 1963-1965) and documentaries on education (A Way of Learning, circa 1967), the demolition of a neighborhood home in Austin (Down Friday Street, circa 1970), and the folk group Peter, Paul, and Mary (circa 1970).

His first feature-length film was Eggshells: An American Freak Illumination (1970), an independent production that Hooper wrote and directed. Filmed in Austin, Eggshells was a mix of fantasy and reality aimed at the "bohemian segments of our society." The film won a gold award at the 1971 Atlanta International Film Festival.

Kim Henkel, a co-star in Eggshells under the pseudonym Boris Schnurr, would go on to collaborate with Hooper on his next film. Hooper and Henkel co-wrote a script loosely inspired by the story of the Wisconsin grave robber and murderer Ed Gein. Filmed with the working title "Leatherface," the movie would ultimately be called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Hooper directed the low-budget production, which was filmed on a compressed schedule outside of Austin in 1973. It was distributed by Bryanston Pictures, and although commercially successful, the film's release was marred by financial disputes. Initially receiving mixed critical reviews, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was screened at the 1975 Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival and has become an influential classic of the horror genre.

Hooper's long career in film and television since the Texas Chainsaw Massacre includes the critically acclaimed film Poltergeist (1982), the television adaptation of Salem's Lot (1979), and the sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986).

Scope and Contents

The Tobe Hooper Papers (1941–1983, bulk 1967–1975) document the creation of Hooper's first feature-length films, Eggshells and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Hooper Papers include production notes, publicity materials, photographs, negatives, slides, clippings, serials, and props related to the creation of these films. The collection also contains other personal and professional documents, including correspondence, materials from the 1975 Cannes Film Festival, and foreign film posters. The timespan documented in this collection is limited and does not encompass the entirety of Hooper's lifelong career in the film and television industry. The Papers are divided into three series: I. Films, 1970-1975, 1982, undated; II. Career and Personal, 1967–1983, undated; and III. Serials, 1941, 1966–1977.

The Hooper Papers, which were previously contained in a storage unit, arrived at the Harry Ransom Center with no discernable organization, arrangement, or (with one exception) labeled files. The collection was organized at the Ransom Center by subject, format, and importance, with items related directly to Eggshells and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre separated from other professional and personal materials. All file titles (other than folder 2.9, where Hooper's title was retained) have been created by the Ransom Center.

Series I. Films is divided into two subseries: A. Eggshells, 1970-1971, undated; and B. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1973-1975, 1982, undated. Subseries A. Eggshells contains production notes, film stills, slides, and publicity materials, along with a program and poster from the 1971 Atlanta International Film Festival. Subseries B. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre includes production notes, publicity materials, photographs, negatives, slides, clippings, and props. Some documents in Series II. Career and Personal are also related to the production of Eggshells and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and serials with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre articles and advertisements are located in the Serials and Publications series.

Series II. Career and Personal is divided into four subseries: A. Professional Papers, 1967–1975, undated; B. Screenplays by Others, 1973-1975, undated; C. Cannes International Film Festival, 1975; and D. Personal, 1972-1974, undated.

Subseries A. Professional Papers contains career-related documents, including correspondence, slides, scrapbooks, and foreign film posters. The correspondence folder includes letters related to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is also documented in this subseries with other materials, as is Eggshells.

Subseries B. Screenplays by Others contains eleven screenplays in alphabetical order by the name of the writer.

Subseries C. Cannes International Film Festival contains publications and publicity materials from the 1975 festival. Although The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was screened at the Director's Fortnight, there are no documents in this collection that relate directly to this screening.

Subseries D. Personal contains documents, negatives, and photographs along with other materials that are not directly related to Hooper's career.

Series III. Serials, 1941, 1966–1977, contains newspapers and magazines, some of which reference Hooper or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. These materials are in alphabetical order by title then by date. Some publications are incomplete.

The archive was purchased at auction and donated to the Harry Ransom Center.



Open for research

Index Terms

Hooper, Tobe, 1943 - .
Horror films--Production and direction.
Motion Pictures, American.
Motion picture producers and directors--United States.
Austin (Tex.)
Document Types
Black-and-white photographs.
Color prints (photographs).
Film negatives.
Film stills.
Moving images.
Serials (publications).
Sound recordings.

Related Material

The Ransom Center holds the papers of Warren Skaaren, the first executive director of the Texas Film Commission, who played an important role in the production of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Skaaren's papers include a screenplay for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Separated Material

More than 950 moving image items and associated sound recordings documenting Eggshells and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Hooper's Peter, Paul, and Mary documentary, education project, and other commercial and documentary work were transferred to the Center's Moving Image and Sound Recordings Collections.

A Leatherface mask from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was transferred to the Costume Collection. Access to the mask is restricted for preservation purposes and available only with curatorial permission.

Savage Cinema by Rick Trader Witcombe (Bounty Books, 1975) was transferred to the Ransom Center Library. The book includes a brief commentary on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Administrative Information


Gift, 1995

Processed by:

Katherine Kapsidelis, 2015


Macor, Alison. Chainsaws, Slackers, and Spy Kids. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.

Muir, John Kenneth. Eaten Alive at a Chainsaw Massacre: The Films of Tobe Hooper. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2002.

Container List

Series I. Films, 1970-1975, 1982, undated

Subseries A. Eggshells, 1970-1971, undated
1.1 Production notes, circa 1970
1.2 Film stills, undated
Cold Storage Slides, 1970
1.3 Atlanta International Film Festival materials, film pressbooks and small poster, 1971
osb 1.1 Poster, circa 1970
Subseries B. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1973-1975, 1982 undated
1.4-7, 2.1 Production materials, 1973-1975, undated
2.2 Slaughterhouse photographs, 1973, undated
Cold Storage Photograph negatives, film production and location research, 1973, undated
Slides, film production, 1973
osb 1.2 Set illustration and Bryanston Pictures Pressbook, 1974, undated
2.3-5 Publicity materials and clippings, 1973-1975, undated
osb 1.3 Ritz Theater Poster, 1982
2.6 Publicity flyer of Marilyn Burns, undated
2.7 Photographs of Dottie Pearl [make-up artist for TCM], undated
2.8 Season's Greetings cards, undated
4 Small bones, undated

Series II. Career and Personal, 1967–1983, undated

Subseries A. Professional Papers, 1967–1975, undated
2.9 Parallel Productions Education Project, 1967
2.10 Footage notes, undated
2.11 Publicity photographs and film stills, 1973, undated
3.1 Mona Lee Fultz, note to Tobe Hooper, resume, headshots, circa 1975
3.2-4 Correspondence, financial documents, and other materials, 1974-1975
3.5 Filmex 1974 program, promotional advertisements and brochures, 1971–1974, undated
3.6 Deluxe general, West Coast Price List; Beaulieu manual, 1971, undated
3.7-9 Screen Actors Guild, employee paperwork and agreements, 1967, 1971, 1974, undated
Cold Storage Slides, 1971, undated
4 Scrapbooks with film sequence photographs, undated
osb 1.4-5 Foreign film posters, 47, 1976–1983, undated
Subseries B. Screenplays by Others, 1973-1975, undated
5.1 Bloom, Jeffrey. The Arisen, 1973
5.2 Carson, L. M. Kit. Double Eagle, 1975
5.3 Case, Allen and Bob Porter. Character and Storyline Treatment, John Hurd, undated
5.4 Case, John. Now I Lay Me Down to Die, undated
5.5 Fehr, Grant. Spooks, 1974
5.6 Feigelson, J. D. Final Printout, undated
5.7 Jackson, Donald G. and Jerry Youngkins. The Demon Lover, 1974. Includes correspondence and Finders Keepers zine, Winter 1973
5.8 Lamb, Bernadette. Bury the Dead, undated
5.9 Ritchey, Lloyd F., Jr. Night of the Electric Death, 1973
Teller, Ira
6.1 Death Machines, 1975
6.2 Fear in Dark Places, 1973
Subseries C. Cannes International Film Festival, 1975
6.3 Cinema Australia publicity materials, 1975
6.4 Cinema Canada publicity materials, 1975
6.5 CinemaTV Today, Cannes 75 Festival Special, 1975
6.6 Le Film Francais, 1975
6.7 The Hollywood Reporter, Cannes Special Issue; Paris Côte d'azur, Special Festival, 1975
6.8-7.1 UniCinema, 1975 (2 copies)
7.2 Film programs and press kit, circa 1975
7.3-4 Publicity materials, postcards, personal note, and other documents, circa 1975
Subseries D. Personal, 1972-1974, undated
7.5 Photographs, undated [Negatives moved to cold storage.]
7.6 McGovern and Shriver campaign leaflets, clipping, 1972, undated
7.7 Children's drawings, undated
7.8 Programs, hotel ephemera, and other documents, 1973-1974, undated
osb 1.6 Reefer Madness poster, undated
4 Personal effects: cigar (partial), airgun pellets, lens, rubber tripod feet, undated

Series III. Serials, 1941, 1966–1977

7.9 ARX Literary Monthly, August 1969
Austin American Statesman, Show World section
osb 2 March 1, 1970
September 8, 1974
September 29, 1974
October 6, 1974
October 13, 1974
October 20, 1974
October 27, 1974
December 1, 1974
December 15, 1974
January 5, 1975
March 23, 1975
April 13, 1975
November 2, 1975
Austin Citizen
osb 2 October 3, 1974
October 5, 1974
October 12, 1974
October 17, 1974
Austin People Today
7.9 October 1973 (2 copies)
November 1975
Austin Sun Newspaper
osb 2 August 7– 20, 1975
October 2–15, 1975
October 24–30, 1975
Back Stage, March 15, 1974
7.9 Boxoffice, February 10, 1975
Cavalier Magazine, April, 1968
Continental Film Review, circa 1975 (vol. 22, no. 9)
7.10 Creem, November 1975
Daily Texan
osb 3 October 10, 1974
October 11, 1974
October 14, 1974
October 16, 1974
Pearl, December monthly magazine supplement, 1974
December 9, 1974
December 10, 1974
September 4, 1975
September 5, 1975
October 23, 1975
November 3, 1975
November 6, 1975
East Village Other
7.10 November 15-December 1, 1966 (vol. 1, no. 24)
April 15-May 1, 1967 (vol. 2, no. 10)
osb 3 Entertainment Today, November 1, 1974
8.1 Esquire, March 1970
Excalibur (York University Community Paper)
osb 3 March 13, 1975
March 20, 1975
Filmmakers Newsletter,
8.1 January 1972 (vol.5, no. 3)
2.3 August 1975 (vol. 8, no. 10) (2 copies)
8.1 Films in Review, February 1973
Free & Easy (Central Texas)
osb 3 September 15–October 15, 1974
November 15–December 15, 1974
Houston Post Spotlight section, October 13, 1974
Japan Times
osb 3 March 2, 1975
March 5, 1975
8.2 Life, May 19, 1941
osb 3 LPO (Libertarian Party of Oklahoma) News, State Fair Special Edition, 1976
8.2 New York, September 8, 1975
osb 3 New York Post, November 1, 1974
New Yorker
8.3 August 4, 1975
September 22, 1975
September 29, 1975
October 6, 1975
8.4 October 13, 1975
October 20, 1975
October 27, 1975
8.5 Rag (Austin, TX), June 15-22, 1970 (vol. 4, no. 29)
Sight and Sound
8.5 Autumn 1975
Spring 1977
Texas Monthly, March 1974
Time, March 3, 1975
Variety (New York edition)
osb 4 May 8, 1974, 17th International Film Festival Annual
May 15, 1974
June 5, 1974
September 4, 1974
October 9, 1974
October 16, 1974
October 30, 1974
November 6, 1974
osb 5 November 13, 1974
November 20, 1974
November 27, 1974
December 4, 1974
December 11, 1974
December 18, 1974
February 12, 1975
August 13, 1975
September 24, 1975
October 1, 1975
October 8, 1975
October 15, 1975
November 19, 1975
November 26, 1975
Variety (Hollywood edition)
osb 6 May 17, 1974
May 21, 1974
May 22, 1974
June 5, 1974
November 5, 1974 (Marilyn Burns' subscription)
Variety, Anniversary Edition
osb 6 69th Anniversary, 1974
70th Anniversary, 1975
Village Voice
osb 6 October 13, 1974
September 22, 1975
8.6 Whole Earth Catalog, Fall 1969