In a second blow to the horror fandom within a week, we bring you the sad news that director Jeff Burr passed away of a suspected stroke October 10th 2023.
Right out of the gate it seemed Burr was destined for great things with the completion of his film-school project Divided We Fall. The civil-war drama premiered in 1982 and immediately made waves on the festival circuit.
Following this, Burr co-wrote and directed the 1987 anthology horror From a Whisper to a Scream. For the project, Burr was able to recruit quite the cast of names, including Vincent Price, Susan Tyrell, Lawrence Tierney, Clu Gulager, Cameron Mitchell, and Terrence Knox. Released as The Offspring, the film would earn Burr his next job.
In 1988, Burr was brought aboard the slasher sequel The Stepfather 2 by the infamous Weinstein brothers. With a cast including Meg Foster, Terry O’Quinn, Jonathan Brandis and Caroline Williams, Burr again hit acting gold. Unfortunately, the experience would be a bittersweet one, as Burr highly disagreed with studio-mandated reshoots of gore and violence, so walked away from the project.
However, his work on The Stepfather 2 was enough to bring him aboard New Line Cinema’s ambitious third chapter of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre series. Similarly, Leatherface: Texas Chain Saw Massacre III would be a production dogged by issues, including studio interference, an X rating, and multiple reshoots. Problems were so numerous that Burr demanded his name be removed from the film, however, it stayed as it was the only reel printed without any changes.
Following the failure of Leatherface, Burr next tried his hand at comedy with Eddie Presley. He then found a comfortable niche in low-budget horror fare, beginning with Puppet Master 4 and its 1994 sequel.
Burr’s other credits include Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Night of the Scarecrow, Phantom Town and 2004’s Straight into Darkness. His final project was the direct to DVD Puppet Master spin-off Puppet Master: Blitzkrieg Massacre.
Known as a warm man willing to chat for hours to fans of his work, Burr has initiated an outpouring of social media tributes, including from former colleagues Caroline Williams and William Butler.
Rest in peace, Jeff.