In 1974 I was a film student at Sherwood Oaks Experimental College. Thanks to the mad visionary Gary Shussett there was finally a school where we could learn from the masters and those just beginning their careers.
Dan O’ Bannon fresh out of USC had made a film with fellow student John Carpenter called Dark Star. Dan was my 16mm editing teacher at Sherwood Oaks. Our first assignment…go see this low budget horror that’s opening this Friday. Dan said its “fucking brilliant.” So we all went to see The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
It WAS fucking brilliant!!
Not a slick fear flick but realistic, almost documentary, in its vision. Tobe Hopper was now officially the guy!
I saw everything he did after that. Loved it all from Billy Idol’s Dancing With Myself to The Funhouse to Salem’s Lot. Such a cool director.
And I heard all the wild stories about him thus had no idea what it would be like to meet him. Thanks to Mick Garris and his MASTERS OF HORROR dinners I finally got to meet the legendary Mr. Hopper. “Tobe,” he said warmly shaking my hand. When I introduced myself he turned on that infectious warm smile and began treating me like I was the celebrity.
He did that to all of us fellow directors. Tobe was always humble and genuinely gracious about any compliment about his work. His heart was bigger than the great state he came from. I will always love him for the warmth he shared. And I will miss his laugh and the goodbye hugs on the sidewalk after the dinners.
Tobe would always say, “See ya next time, Tom” in his soft gravelly Texas accent.
Today, I so wish I would have hugged him longer that last time. Never imagining it was the final one I’d ever get. That is…
“Until next time, Tobe.”
– Tom McLoughlin 8-27-17