Watch Tobe Hooper’s “The Heisters”
In late 2010, a panel of judges that included John Carpenter, Wes Craven, John Landis, George Romero, Guillermo del Toro and Eli Roth put The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) at the top of Total Film’s list of the “Greatest Horror Movies Ever Made.” But five years before Tobe Hooper would carve his signature on the genre, leaving a proud and permanent scar, he made a feature for $100K called Eggshells — which, for decades, was believed to have been lost. But in 2009, a print was discovered and presented at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Hooper’s hometown, and it’s since seen the occasional festival screening — but never a full-blown release. Until now.
MUBI’s proud to be teaming up with Watchmaker Films to present a proper worldwide release later this month of what Hooper himself describes as “a real movie about 1969, kind of verite but with a little push, improvisation mixed with magic. It was about the beginning and end of the subculture. Most of it takes place in a commune house. But what they don’t know is that in the basement is a crypto-embryonic hyper-electric presence that managed to influence the house and the people in it. The presence has embedded itself in the walls and grows into this big bulb, half-electronic, half organic. Almost like an eye, but like a big light, it comes out of the wall, manipulating and animating. I’ve always described it as being a mixture of Andy Warhol’s Trash and Walt Disney’s Fantasia.”
Tobe Hooper will have more to say about Eggshells when we host a Q&A — do come and bring your Qs! To whet your appetite for Eggshells, we’re presenting The Heisters, a short Hooper made five years before, in 1964. It’s a “10-minute color comedy about three medieval outlaws who get into an absurdly escalated Road Runner-cartoony fight over their stolen booty,” as LM Kit Carson describes it in a profile of Hooper for Film Comment. “It won awards at the Tours, Cannes, and San Francisco film festivals.”
Watch it now! The Heisters.