Tom Holland (director)

Last updated
Tom Holland
Tom Holland director.jpg
Holland in 2008
Thomas Lee Holland [1] [2] [3]

(1943-07-11) July 11, 1943 (age 77)
Education Worcester Academy
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles (B.A., J.D.)
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, producer, actor, model
Years active1964–present
Notable work
Psycho II
Fright Night
Child's Play

Thomas Lee "Tom" Holland (born July 11, 1943) is an American screenwriter, actor, and filmmaker best known for his work in the horror film genre, penning the 1983 sequel to the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho, [4] directing the first entry in the long-running Child's Play franchise, [5] and writing and directing the cult vampire film Fright Night . [6] He also directed the Stephen King adaptations The Langoliers [7] and Thinner. [8] He is a two-time Saturn Award recipient.


Early life

Holland was born July 11, 1943 in Poughkeepsie, New York, [9] to Lee and Tom Holland. He attended Ossining Public High School in Ossining, New York before transferring to Worcester Academy, where he graduated in 1962. After graduating high school, Holland attended Northwestern University for one year before transferring to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated in 1970. [10] He later graduated from UCLA Law School with a Juris Doctor. [11]


Acting career

Holland trained as an actor at the Actor's Studio under Lee Strasberg. Throughout the 60s and early 70s Holland appeared under the moniker of Tom Fielding in several supporting and guest star roles for both television and film, including A Walk in the Spring Rain alongside Anthony Quinn and Ingrid Bergman.

In December 2009 Holland was cast for Adam Green's Hatchet II , [12] to star alongside Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, and R.A. Mihailoff. [13] He narrated the film alongside Green on San Diego Comic-Con International 2010. [14]


Holland made his screenwriting debut with the 1978 made-for-television film The Initiation of Sarah . He made his feature film writing debut in 1982, adapting the Edward Levy novel The Beast Within into the film of the same name. [15] That same year, he wrote the Class of 1984 , an urban thriller film centered on juvenile delinquency and punk subculture. The film proved controversial upon release and was heavily censored in the United Kingdom [16] and outright banned in other countries. [17] It has since become a cult classic. [18] [19] [20]

Holland was hired by Universal Pictures to write a sequel to the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho, which since its initial release had been acclaimed as not only a seminal and iconic horror film, [21] [22] but one of the greatest films of all time. [23] [24] [25] Lead actor Anthony Perkins, who had previously displayed apprehension at appearing in a sequel, agreed to do the film after being impressed by Holland's screenplay. [26] The film, directed by Richard Franklin and co-starring Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia, and Dennis Franz, opened at No. 2 at the box office (behind Return of the Jedi ) and went on to gross $34 million. [27]

Holland re-teamed with director Franklin the following year on his next film, Cloak & Dagger. Unlike their previous film, Cloak & Dagger was a spy film aimed at a younger audience, and starring Henry Thomas of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in its leading role. Despite positive critical reviews, [28] the film was a financial failure, grossing $9,719,952 off of a 13 million dollar production budget.


Holland's directorial debut came in 1985 with the vampire horror film Fright Night . Holland first conceived of the premise during the writing of Cloak & Dagger, [29] of a horror film fan who learns that his neighbor is a vampire. He chose to direct the film himself after being disappointed with Michael Winner's direction of his screenplay Scream for Help. [30] [31] The film was both financial and critical success, earning a rave review from Roger Ebert [32] who wrote "Fright Night is not a distinguished movie, but it has a lot of fun being undistinguished." The film spawned a sequel, and a 2011 remake starring Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin.

In 1988, Holland directed the film Child's Play, which received positive reviews from Ebert [33] and Leonard Maltin, [34] spawned a long-running franchise consisting of six sequels, and helped elevate its antagonist Chucky to a pop culture icon. He directed three episodes of the horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt, and returned to television films with The Stranger Within. He wrote and directed a 1996 ABC miniseries adaptation of the Stephen King novella The Langoliers, and the following year adapted King's novel Thinner into a film of the same name.

Dead Rabbit Films

He and David Chackler founded the horror film company Dead Rabbit Films. [35] Their first feature film was the remake of Fright Night . [36] Holland is also reportedly scheduled to be writing and directing a feature-length anthology of horror shorts titled Twisted Tales. [37]

Personal life

He is the father of American actor Josh Holland. [38] [39]

Awards and nominations

1984 Edgar Award Best Motion Picture Psycho II Nominated
1986 Dario Argento Award Best Film Fright Night Won
Critics' Award Special MentionWon
International Fantasy Film Award Best FilmNominated
Saturn Award Best Director Nominated
Best Horror Film Won
Best Writing Won
1990 Best Horror Film Child's Play Nominated
Best Writing
Shared with Don Mancini and John Lafia
1996 Best Television Presentation The Langoliers Nominated



Filmmaking credits

YearTitle Director Writer Notes
1982 The Beast Within NoYes
Class of 1984 NoYes
1983 Psycho II NoYes
1984 Cloak & Dagger NoYes
Scream for Help NoYes
1985 Fright Night YesYes Directorial debut
1987 Fatal Beauty YesNo
1988 Child's Play YesYes
1993 The Temp YesNo
1996 Thinner YesYes
2010To Hell with YouYesNoShort film
2011 Fright Night NoStory
2017 Rock, Paper, Scissors YesNo

Executive producer

2016You're So Cool, Brewster! The Story of Fright NightDocumentary film; also creative consultant
What Is Fright Night?Documentary short films
Tom Holland and Amanda Bearse Talk Fright Night
Tom Holland: Writing Horror
Roddy McDowall: From Apes to Bats
A Beautiful Darkness: The Look of Regine

Acting credits

1963 America America (voice)Uncredited
1969 Model Shop Gerry
Changes Roommate
1970 A Walk in the Spring Rain Boy
1972Josie's CastleLeonard Robbins
1983 Psycho II Deputy Norris
2009 The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Charles BrewsterMockumentary short film
2010 Hatchet II Bob
2014 Digging Up the Marrow Himself
2015ClowntownThe Clown with No NameShort film
TBAThe TarotUncle Walter

Television and web

Filmmaking credits

YearTitle Director Writer Executive
1978 The Initiation of Sarah NoStoryNoTelevision film
1986 Amazing Stories YesNoNoEpisode: "Miscalculation"
1989-1992 Tales from the Crypt YesYesNoDirected episodes: "Lover Come Hack to Me" & "King of the Road"
Written and directed episode: "Four-Sided Triangle"
1990 The Stranger Within YesNoNoTelevision film
1991 The Owl YesYesYes Unsold pilot
1992 Two-Fisted Tales YesNoNoTelevision film (segment: "King of the Road")
1995 The Langoliers YesYesNoTelevision miniseries (2 episodes)
2006 The Initiation of Sarah NoStoryNoTelevision film
DrivenYesYesYesWeb short film
2007 Masters of Horror YesNoNoEpisode: "We All Scream for Ice Cream"
20085 or DieYesNoYesWeb short film
2013 Twisted Tales YesYesYesWeb series (9 episodes)

Acting credits

1958 Telephone Time MillsapEpisode: "Trail Blazer"
1964 77 Sunset Strip Al KillianEpisode: "Lover's Lane"
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Vic BurnsEpisode: "Out on the Outskirts of Town"
1965-1966 A Flame in the Wind Steve Reynolds #250 episodes
1967 Combat! Pfc. Tommy BishopEpisode: "Entombed"
1968 Felony Squad LeRoy BakerEpisode: "Epitaph for a Cop"
1969 My Friend Tony UrknownEpisode: "The Hazing"
The Young Lawyers David HarrisonEpisode: "Pilot"
Medical Center Jess YarnabyEpisode: "24 Hours"
1978 The Incredible Hulk Steve SilvaEpisode: "Another Path"
1983 The Winds of War Devilfish Sub CaptainEpisode: "Into the Maelstrom"
1991 The Owl MuggerTelevision pilot, appears uncredited in extended international version
1994 The Stand Carl HoughTelevision miniseries (2 episodes)
1995 The Langoliers HarkerTelevision miniseries (2 episodes)
2007 Masters of Horror Funeral GuestEpisode: "We All Scream for Ice Cream"
2010 Team Unicorn GrandpaEpisode: "A Very Zombie Holiday"
2013 Twisted Tales Himself / JanitorWeb series (9 episodes)
201520 Seconds to LiveBystanderEpisode: "Evil Doll"

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes score
The Beast Within (1982)13% [40]
Class of 1984 (1982)75% [41]
Psycho II (1983)59% [42]
Scream for Help (1984)N/A
Cloak & Dagger (1984)64% [43]
Fright Night (1985)91% [44]
Fatal Beauty (1987)23% [45]
Child's Play (1988)69% [46]
The Temp (1993)29% [47]
The Langoliers (1995)50% [48]
Thinner (1996)16% [49]
Fright Night (2011)72% [50]
Rock Paper Dead (2017)N/A

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