Eggshells review

Tobe Hooper has become an icon in his own right by directing such horror legends as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and the Steven Spielberg-produced Poltergeist, but you never hear about Eggshells, do you? Well that's because it was his first ever feature film and, until last year when a print was found, was thought to be lost.

The fact that it's from the final year of the '60s makes complete sense as Eggshells is a perfect example of hippie film-making. It's totally unconventional and makes little sense, but has some nice ideas. The film is telling of how Tobe was experimenting at the time with his craft and putting his abilities into motion for his next feature five years later, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

There isn't a whole lot to the plot as, quite frankly, there isn't much of one. For reasons unknown, a kind of transparent bulb, presumably from space, appears in the basement of a house and begins harvesting an incomprehensible power that affects the rowdy, dope-smoking residents. The bulb emits an incredible light show that alters their minds and changes the way they think. Whether or not mundane conversations in bathtubs about communism are down to the influence of the mysterious bulb is up to you, but driving for miles, veering onto a field, setting the car on fire, taking your clothes off and running away before it explodes is definitely, definitely down to the bulb.

Some of the editing is impressive and very, very trippy, so who knows what kind of extracurricular activities Tobe intended his audience to dabble in at the time. And what was the man himself smoking when he made Eggshells? Or is the whole film just a metaphor for the effects of drugs? It's such a strange film that could be interpreted in countless ways, and it's exactly that ambiguousness that will put many audiences off the movie, but more than anything it's certainly interesting to take a look at this long forgotten piece of Hooper's long, hit-and-miss career.

Eggshells at IMDb

Eggshells screens at the Film4 FrightFest – check out our full coverage of the festival

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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