Many people think that 1974 horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was Tobe Hooper’s feature debut, emerging out of nowhere to rip the genre to shreds and leave audiences reeling.
Four years earlier, Hooper gathered together a ramshackle crew and an eager young cast, and made Eggshells – aka An American Freak Illumination, a surreal, psychedelic drama about University undergraduates sharing a house at the tail-end of the Sixties. For want of a better description, this is a film that defies easy categorization.
Hooper went on to direct dozens of films, TV shows and shorts including Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot (1979), the Spielberg-produced Poltergeist (1982 ), Lifeforce (1985) and Dark Skies (1996).
Lost for 40 years, the film has been immaculately restored by Watchmaker Films and is available for licensing in Australia and New Zealand.
“I’ve always described it as being a mixture of Andy Warhol’s Trash and Walt Disney’s Fantasia.”
– Tobe Hooper
“Eggshells makes explicit what many have long assumed — that Hooper’s sense of cinema is the defining characteristic that makes [The Texas Chainsaw Massacre] great. Eggshells is a true 1968 film, psychedelic and political” – Louis Black, founder of SXSW
“…a delirium fueled commentary on America’s narcotic comedown, a fever dream picture that concerns itself with the unconnected and frankly incoherent experiences of a group of counter-cultural types…” – John McEntee, Sound On Sight magazine
“It’s 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.” – Tobe Hooper
Travel back to the psychedelic sixties with this long-lost debut gem from a talented young Tobe Hooper, who would later take many members of this film’s cast and crew and produce The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Overflowing with creativity and positivity, full of Godard-like film trickery and playful pop art inflections, populated not only with nubile nudes but a “crypto-embryonic hyper-electric presence”, and scored with the music of Austin psych folk legends Shiva’s Headband, Eggshells is the headiest “head” film you’ve never heard of.
The film was beautifully restored by Watchmaker Films and is available for licensing in Australia and New Zealand for the first time.
Director: Tobe Hooper
Executive Producer: Louis Black
Producers: Tobe Hooper, David I. Ford, Raymond O’Leary
Script: Tobe Hooper
Cast: Ron Barnhart, Pamela Craig, Allen Danziger, Sharon Danziger, Mahlon Foreman, Kim Henkel, Amy Lester, Boris Schnurr, David Noll
Editors: Tobe Hooper, Robert Elkins Music: Spencer Perskin, Shiva’s Head Band, Jim Schulman
90 Min | Color | 1.85:1 | English | 1969
Australia/New Zealand: All rights available
Exciting news: Eggshells will be screening for the first time in Australia at the Sydney Underground Film Festival in September: see http://suff.com.au/2012/08/eggshells/