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The working title of EGGSHELLS says it all: AN AMERICAN FREAK ILLUMINATION. Tobe Hooper's debut feature could only have been made in the 1960s. It was born out the creative maelstrom of the Austin/Berkeley nexus that was fueled by the anti-war movement and student protests. Ostensibly it is about an Austin phenomenon of the time, squatting in houses in semi-suburban neighborhoods. But in fact it is a record of the times and Austin, circa 1969. Hooper is joined by Kim Henkle who appears on-screen and whose influence can be felt in the free-form, beat poetry he writes/recites in the film. Then there is the ectoplasmic entity living in the basement in a surreal parallel universe to the main story that is populated by ghosts and other worldly powers. EGGSHELLS gives Hooper a chance to try out some experimental film techniques that show up in the rest of his films to follow. What is interesting is that EGGSHELLS did have a handful of screenings when it was finished but made no money. Hooper had his head in his hands wondering how he would ever have a career in film when a friend suggested that he see a low-budget horror film call NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. He did. And when he came out he said, "I can do that." Hooper and Henkle put their heads together and Hooper's next feature was THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Louis Black and Mark Rance have restored EGGSHELLS at 2K from the only known 35mm print in existence; the negative was lost long ago.

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