Tom Holland (director)

Last updated
Tom Holland
Tom Holland director.jpg
Holland in 2008
Born (1943-07-11) July 11, 1943 (age 75)
Education Worcester Academy
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, producer, actor, model
Years active1964–present
Notable work
Psycho II
Fright Night
Child's Play

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, [1] directing the first entry in the long-running Child's Play franchise, [2] and writing and directing the cult vampire film Fright Night . [3] He also directed the Stephen King adaptations The Langoliers [4] and Thinner. [5] He is a two-time Saturn Award recipient.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Screenwriter writer who writes for TV, films, comics and games

A screenplay writer, scriptwriter or scenarist is a writer who practices the craft of screenwriting, writing screenplays on which mass media, such as films, television programs and video games, are based.

Actor person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.


Early life

Holland was born July 11, 1943 in Poughkeepsie, New York, [6] 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. [7]

Poughkeepsie, New York City in New York, United States

Poughkeepsie, officially the City of Poughkeepsie, separate from the Town of Poughkeepsie, is a city in the state of New York, United States, which is the county seat of Dutchess County. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 32,736. Poughkeepsie is in the Hudson Valley midway between New York City and Albany, and is part of the New York metropolitan area. The name derives from a word in the Wappinger language, roughly U-puku-ipi-sing, meaning "the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place", referring to a spring or stream feeding into the Hudson River south of the present downtown area.

Ossining (village), New York Village in New York, United States

Ossining is a village in Westchester County, New York, United States. The population was 25,060 at the 2010 census. As a village, it is located in the town of Ossining.

Worcester Academy private high school in Worcester, Massachusetts, United States

Worcester Academy is a private school in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is one of the country's oldest day-boarding schools, with alumni including H. Jon Benjamin, Edward Davis Jones, Cole Porter, and Olympian Bill Toomey. A coeducational preparatory school, it belongs to the National Association of Independent Schools. Situated on 73 acres, the academy is divided into a middle school, serving approximately 150 students in grades six to eight, and an upper school, serving approximately 500 students in grades nine to twelve, including some postgraduates. Approximately one-third of students in the upper school participate in the school's five- and seven-day boarding programs. Currently, there are approximately 80 international students enrolled from 28 different nations. The academy is mildly selective, accepting approximately 65% of all applicants.


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.

Lee Strasberg Ukrainian-born American actor, drama teacher, acting coach, theorist

Lee Strasberg was a Polish-American actor, director, and theatre practitioner. He co-founded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective". In 1951 he became director of the nonprofit Actors Studio in New York City, considered "the nation's most prestigious acting school," and in 1966 he was involved in the creation of Actors Studio West in Los Angeles.

<i>A Walk in the Spring Rain</i> 1970 film by Guy Green

A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970) is an American romantic drama film and Eastmancolor film made by Columbia Pictures, directed by Guy Green and produced by Stirling Silliphant, from his own screenplay based on the novel by Rachel Maddux. Location scenes filmed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Anthony Quinn American actor

Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca, known as Anthony Quinn, was a Mexican-born American actor, painter, writer and film director. He starred in numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful films, including La Strada, The Guns of Navarone, Zorba the Greek, Guns for San Sebastian, Lawrence of Arabia, The Shoes of the Fisherman, The Message, Lion of the Desert, Last Action Hero and A Walk in the Clouds. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor twice: for Viva Zapata! in 1952 and Lust for Life in 1956. In addition, he received two Academy Award nominations in the Best Leading Actor category, along with five Golden Globe nominations. In 1987, he was presented with the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.

In December 2009 Holland was cast for Adam Green's Hatchet II , [8] to star alongside Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, and R.A. Mihailoff. [9] He narrated the film alongside Green on San Diego Comic-Con International 2010. [10]

Adam Green (filmmaker) American film director, writer, and actor

Adam Green is an American actor-filmmaker known for horror and comedy films, including the Hatchet franchise, Frozen, and the television series Holliston.

<i>Hatchet II</i> 2010 film by Adam Green

Hatchet II is a 2010 American slasher film written and directed by Adam Green. It is the sequel to Green's film, Hatchet. Picking up right where the first film ended, Hatchet II follows Marybeth as she escapes the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling killer Victor Crowley. After learning the truth about her family's connection to the hatchet-wielding madman, Marybeth returns to the Louisiana swamps along with an army of hunters to recover the bodies of her family and exact the bloodiest revenge against the bayou butcher.

Danielle Harris American actress

Danielle Andrea Harris is an American actress, voice actress, and film director. She is known as a "scream queen" for her roles in multiple horror films, including four entries in the Halloween franchise: Halloween 4 and 5, as Jamie Lloyd (1988–89); and the Halloween remake and its sequel, as Annie Brackett (2007–09). Other such roles include Tosh in Urban Legend (1998), Belle in Stake Land (2010), and Marybeth Dunston in the Hatchet series (2010–17). In 2012, she was inducted into the Fangoria Hall of Fame.


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. [11] 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 [12] and outright banned in other countries. [13] It has since become a cult classic. [14] [15] [16]

<i>The Initiation of Sarah</i> 1978 horror film directed by Robert Day

The Initiation of Sarah is a 1978 American made-for-television supernatural horror film directed by Robert Day. It first aired on ABC on February 6, 1978 and starred Kay Lenz as a shy, withdrawn young woman who discovers that she has psychic powers after joining a sorority. The film achieved some controversy upon its initial airing on television as part of the film's plot involved Morgan Fairchild wearing a wet T-shirt after being thrown into a fountain, something that had not been previously shown in a made-for-TV movie.

Edward Levy is an American horror novelist with three books published. Came a Spider was written in 1978, and The Beast Within followed in 1981. Reprints of both books are available at He wrote The People Next Door in 1983, but copies are very scarce. Levy is currently revising The People Next Door and is also in the process of writing a new novel entitled Something Most Evil.

<i>The Beast Within</i> (novel) book by Edward Levy

The Beast Within is a horror novel written by Edward Levy.

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, [17] [18] but one of the greatest films of all time. [19] [20] [21] 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. [22] 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. [23]

Universal Pictures Major U.S. film studio owned by Comcast

Universal Pictures is an American film studio owned by Comcast through the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group division of its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal. Founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O. Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, Robert H. Cochrane, and Jules Brulatour, it is the oldest surviving film studio in the United States, the world's fifth oldest after Gaumont, Pathé, Titanus, and Nordisk Film, and the oldest member of Hollywood's "Big Five" studios in terms of the overall film market. Its studios are located in Universal City, California, and its corporate offices are located in New York City.

Alfred Hitchcock British filmmaker

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was an English film director and producer, widely regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as "the Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965).

<i>Psycho</i> (1960 film) 1960 horror film by Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho is a 1960 American psychological horror film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and written by Joseph Stefano. It stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles, and Martin Balsam, and was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who ends up at a secluded motel after stealing money from her employer, and the motel's owner-manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and its aftermath.

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 fame in its leading role. Despite positive critical reviews, [24] 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, [25] 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. [26] [27] The film was both financial and critical success, earning a rave review from Roger Ebert [28] 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 [29] and Leonard Maltin, [30] 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. [31] Their first feature film was the remake of Fright Night . [32] Holland is also reportedly scheduled to be writing and directing a feature-length anthology of horror shorts titled Twisted Tales. [33]

Personal life

He is the father of American actor Josh Holland. [34] [35]

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



YearTitle Director Writer Actor RoleNotes
1969 Changes YesRoommate
Model Shop YesGerry
1970 A Walk in the Spring Rain YesBoy
1972Josie's CastleYesLeonard Robbins
1982 The Beast Within Yes
Class of 1984 Yes
1983 Psycho II YesYesDeputy Norris
1984 Scream for Help Yes
Cloak & Dagger Yes
1985 Fright Night YesYes
1987 Fatal Beauty Yes
1988 Child's Play YesYes
1993 The Temp Yes
1996 Thinner YesYes
2010 Hatchet II YesBobUncredited
2011 Fright Night YesStory only
2014 Digging Up the Marrow YesHimself
2016You're So Cool Brewster! The Story of Fright NightYesHimselfDocumentary film
2017 Rock Paper Dead Yes
2019 In Search of Darkness YesHimselfDocumentary film


YearTitle Director Producer Writer Actor RoleNotes
1964 77 Sunset Strip YesAl KillianEpisode: "Lover's Lane"
Theatre of StarsYesVic BurnsEpisode: "Out on the Outskirts of Town"
1965-1966 A Flame in the Wind YesSteve Reynolds #2"American Soap Opera"
1967 Combat! YesPfc. Tommy BishopEpisode: "Entombed"
1968 Felony Squad YesLeRoy BakerEpisode: "Epitaph for a Cop"
1969 My Friend Tony YesEpisode: "The Hazing"
The Young Lawyers YesDavid HarrisonEpisode: "Pilot"
Medical Center YesJess YarnabyEpisode: "24 Hours"
1978The Initiation of SarahYesTV movie
The Incredible Hulk YesSteve SilvaEpisode: "Another Path"
1983 The Winds of War YesDevilfish Sub CaptainEpisode: "Into the Maelstrom"
1986 Amazing Stories YesEpisode: "Miscalculation"
1989-1992 Tales from the Crypt YesYesEpisodes: "Lover Come Hack to Me"
"Four-Sided Triangle"
"King of the Road"
1990 The Stranger Within YesTV movie
1991 The Owl YesYesYesYesMugger TV Pilot, appears uncredited in extended international version
1992 Two-Fisted Tales YesSegment: "King of the Road"
1994 The Stand YesCarl HoughTV miniseries
1995 The Langoliers YesYesYesNick Hopewell's employer
2006 The Initiation of Sarah YesTV movie
2007 Masters of Horror YesEpisode: "We All Scream for Ice Cream"
2008DrivenYesYesYesWeb short
5 or DieYesYesYesWeb short
2010 Team Unicorn YesGrandpaEpisode: "A Very Zombie Holiday"
2013 Twisted Tales YesYesYesWeb series

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes score
The Beast Within (1982)13% [36]
Class of 1984 (1982)75% [37]
Psycho II (1983)59% [38]
Scream for Help (1984)N/A
Cloak & Dagger (1984)64% [39]
Fright Night (1985)91% [40]
Fatal Beauty (1987)23% [41]
Child's Play (1988)69% [42]
The Temp (1993)29% [43]
The Langoliers (1995)50% [44]
Thinner (1996)16% [45]
Fright Night (2011)72% [46]
Rock Paper Dead (2017)N/A

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