On Saturday night, Tobe Hooper, one of the most important figures in the history of American independent cinema, passed away.

Tobe Hooper is most famous for writing and directing the iconic low-budget slasher The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Filmed in rural Texas, for a budget of $300,000, it shocked audiences with its rural (yet bloodless) brutality, and introduced the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface into the cinematic lexicon. The film shocked critics, but delighted audiences, and ultimately made back $30 million. Hooper would then remain a household name within in the realms of horror, directing Salem’s Lot, in 1979, and Poltergeist, in 1982. Countless directors have cited him as a profound influence, including Ridley Scott, Wes Craven and Rob Zombie.

Hooper died in Sharman Oaks, CA of natural causes. He was 74.