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Tom Holland
Director Tom Holland and Fright Night Jerry Dandrige Bat- Lynne Peters 2015
Born July 11, 1943
Poughkeepsie, New York
Known for Fright Night
Occupation Director, Writer, Actor
Height 5'11"

Tom Holland is the writer and director of Fright Night and Child's Play. Today he's primarily known as a horror director but during the 1960s and '70s Holland acted under the pseudonym Tom Fielding. In addition to appearing in a handful of low-budget movies, he was familiar to TV audiences from soap operas, prime-time shows and hundreds of commercials.

BiographyEdit

Early LifeEdit

Thomas Lee Holland was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, the son of Lee and Tom Holland. During childhood, his father worked for a department store chain, which caused the family to frequently travel. "By the time I was two, I had been in almost every state," Holland revealed in a 1966 interview. "I've been in five schools and now I'm a transfer student at New York University."[1] During his youth he felt like an outsider, and this probably helped shape his career in the horror genre. "I always felt left out in school. I remember when I was in fourth grade, I felt everybody was on one side and I was on the other."[1] An only child, Tom's closest companion was his beloved dog Tippy, who comforted him when his parents were fighting. "They separated one year out of every ten, and there were times when my parents used to get at each other, by each complaining to me about the other."[1]

Things began to turn around for Tom in eighth grade when he received a love letter from a girl who gushed, "I need you, and I want you, and I love you! After that, I got admiration and acceptance and I felt better."[1] Although he had always been a fan of movies, the acting bug bit him in high school, when he performed in a number of school play. At 16, he spent the summer as an apprentice at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA, and enjoyed the experience so much that he considered dropping out of school and pursuing a career in the theatre. "My parents had a hell of a time getting me to finish high school and go to college. I'm glad they made me do it."[1]

1960's - '70s Acting CareerEdit

Holland attended Ossining Public High School before transferring to Worcester Academy where he graduated in 1962. He then entered Northwestern University as a drama major, before transferring to New York University. While in New York, he took drama classes at the Herbert Berghof Studio, studing under Berghof and his wife Uta Hagen, Irene Daily and Frank Casaro.[1] He also went to the world famous Actor's Studio and studied under the tutelage of the legendary Lee Strasberg.[2]

Despite his passion for showbiz, Holland found difficulties acting. "I had a bad time, emotionally. I was fired from an off-Broadway show."[1] At the behest of a friend, Holland landed a modeling gig which paid $7,000, an exorbitant salary in the early 1960s, so he decided to splurge on his mother. "I bought her some fine jewelry, and she said, 'Why didn't you buy me something practical like a transistor radio?' It took me two years to recover from that remark."[1]

In 1963, Holland landed a studio contract. "People with Warner Bros. took me to Jack Warner, and he picked me personally."[1] Unfortunately, the actor's union wouldn't permit him to use his real name, since there was another actor named Tom Holland, so he changed his name to Tom Fielding. His first job was dubbing dialogue for the Elia Kazan drama America, America. His television debut was on the short-lived Western Temple Houston, which he followed up with a spot on the popular 77 Sunset Strip. Holland didn't like the nature of Hollywood and realized work was more lucrative in New York, so he asked to be let out of his contract.[1] After appearing on the soap operas The Doctors and the Nurses and Love of Life, he landed a regular role on the struggling daytime series A Time for Us (previously titled A Flame in the Wind), replacing Gordon Gray.

After the series was canceled, Holland migrated back to California and began appearing in guest-starring roles in television shows such as Felony Squad, Combat!, Medical Center, and The Incredible Hulk. His film work was sparse and relegated to independent movies and bit parts, including A Walk in the Spring Rain alongside Anthony Quinn and Ingrid Bergman. His only leading film role was the 1972 dramedy Josie's Castle, in which he co-starred with Star Trek veteran George Takei, but the film suffered a variety of production problems and was ultimately re-edited and sold as a sexploitation film. To supplement his income, he also took roles in TV commercials, and amassed more than 200 commercial credits.

Holland was never entirely happy as an actor. "In the beginning I did everything, worked as a Grip, Loader, PA, what have you," Holland said. "In my mind I was always working toward directing feature films and so I decided early on that any job I could take on a working set would give me the tools to make my own films."[2] Worrying that his Hollywood career might not pan out, Holland attended the UCLA School of Law, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He also received his Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law. "I had just taken the Bar Exam and I was waiting for my results, which at the time took three months to post," he told B-Movie Nation.[2] "At the same time I received word that a treatment I had written had been optioned." As a struggling actor I had become used to being poor, so I decided to pursue my passion to create rather than litigate. And I've never really looked back." Holland did pass the Bar Exam on his first attempt and has been a member of the California Bar Association since 1973.


In December 2009 Holland was cast for Adam Green's Hatchet 2, who star alongside Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, and R.A. Mihailoff.[3] He narrated the film Hatchet II alongside Adam Green on San Diego Comic-Con International 2010. In an interview published in January 2011 with mondo-video.com, Holland shared some stories about his acting days, which included working with legendary actress Ingrid Bergman, and martial arts expert, Bruce Lee.

1970's - '80s: ScreenwritingEdit

Holland's first screenplay, The View from 30 was optioned for $1500 in 1972 by producer Dick Berg.[4] Although that film never materialized, Berg later used Holland's treatment for a 1978 movie of the week entitled The Initiation of Sarah, which owed a heavy debt to the previous year's smash hit Carrie. The movie got big ratings and became noted for a scene in which Morgan Fairchild wound up drenched in a fountain. "You could see her nipples," Holland howled.[5] "[It was] the first [program on American television] to have a wet T-shirt scene in it and it created a firestorm of controversy."[6] Holland continued to hammer out scripts and his first movie produced was the 1981 film The Beast Within. Financially it was considered a failure, but the aspiring director was so happy to have penned a feature that it gave him the confidence to tackle his next project.

Holland paired with Hitchock protegee Richard Franklin on made-for-TV sequel to the 1960 classic Psycho. "I never worked harder, that script was my life," he commented.[6] During that flourishing age of TV movies, it wasn't unusual for the networks to produce low-rent sequels like 1976's Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby for television, but Holland crafted the script with so much care that it attracted star Anthony Perkins. Once word began to spread that Perkins was set to reprise his iconic role, the status was changed from a movie-of-the-week to a full-fledged theatrical film. "That was the number one movie that summer, it did a $100 million world wide," Holland boasted.[6] He hadn't been asked to participate during the filming of The Beast Within, so Holland worked closely with Franklin to ensure his vision made it to the screen, even acting in a bit part in the movie as the Sheriff's deputy.

Holland's next screenplay, Cloak & Dagger, was a semi-remake of Hitchcock's Rear Window, this time with a child protagonist. Again Franklin directed. "It wasn’t a success when it came out, because the studio didn’t know what to do with it, because it was a family oriented film when they were making a lot of R rated films," Holland commented.[6] "But they played the shit out of it on cable and it became enormously influential." The source story, Cornell Woolrich's The Window, resonated with Holland and unintentionally became the model for his next three films as well.

The next screenplay to be produced was A Scream for Help, which was originally supposed to be directed by Franklin, but ultimately the directorial reigns went to b-movie legend Michael Winner. "It was unreleasable," Holland lamented.[7] "And then I started directing in a way of self-defense."

Dead Rabbit Films/DirectingEdit

He founded alongside his compatriot David Chackler the horror film company Dead Rabbit Films;[8] the first feature premiere film was the remake of Fright Night.

Holland also wrote and directed a series of anthology shorts for FearNet entitled "Tom Holland's Twisted Tales." The series was issued on DVD as a feature-length anthology.[9]

On directing, he would be famous for writing and directing twisted tales ordinary people facing the unknown and evil beings from beyond. He began by writing the scripts of the films The Beast Within and Psycho II, followed later by directing Fright Night, Child's Play, and the TV films The Stranger Within and The Langoliers. The only non horror film he made was the crime comedy-drama Fatal Beauty.

InterviewsEdit

GalleriesEdit

Fright NightEdit

Psycho IIEdit

Child's PlayEdit


Josie's CastleEdit

Model ShopEdit

A Time For Us (aka A Flame in the Wind)Edit

A Walk in the Spring RainEdit

Combat, "Entombed"Edit

The Incredible Hulk, "Another PathEdit

Twisted TalesEdit

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Director Writer Actor Role Notes
1963 America, America Yes Voice-Overs
1969 Changes Yes Roommate
1969Model Shop Yes Gerry
1970 A Walk in the Spring Rain Yes Boy
1972 Josie's Castle Yes Leonard
1982 The Beast Within Yes
Class of 1984 Yes
1983 Psycho II YesYes Deputy Norris
1984 Scream for Help Yes
Cloak & Dagger Yes
1985 Fright Night YesYes
1987 Fatal Beauty Yes
1988 Child's Play YesYes
Fright Night II Yes
1993 The Temp Yes
1996 Thinner YesYes
2010 Hatchet II Yes Bob Uncredited
2011 Fright Night Yes
2015 Killing Frank YesYes pre-production
The Ten O'Clock People YesYes pre-production

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Director Producer Writer Actor Role Notes
1963 Temple Houston Yes
1964 77 Sunset Strip Yes Episode: "Lover's Lane"
Theatre of Stars Yes Vic Burns Episode: "Out on the Outskirts of Town"
The Doctors and the Nurses Yes
Love of Life Yes
1965-1966 A Flame in the Wind

(aka A Time for Us)

Yes Steve Reynolds #2
1967 Combat! Yes Pfc. Tommy Bishop Episode: "Entombed"
1968 Felony Squad Yes LeRoy Baker Episode: "Epitaph for a Cop"
1969 My Friend Tony Yes Episode: "The Hazing"
The Young Lawyers Yes David Harrison Episode: "Pilot"
Medical Center Yes Jess Yarnaby Episode: "24 Hours"
1978 The Initiation of Sarah Yes TV movie
The Incredible Hulk Yes Frank Silva Episode: "Another Path"
1983 The Winds of War Yes Devilfish Sub Captain Episode: "Into the Maelstrom"
1986 Amazing Stories Yes Episode: "Miscalculation"
1989-1992 Tales from the Crypt Yes Yes Episodes: "Lover Come Hack to Me"
"Four-Sided Triangle"
"King of the Road"
1990 The Stranger Within Yes TV movie
1991 The Owl YesYesYes Yes CBS TV Pilot. Holland is credited as director in the American TV version. He revoked his directorial credit from the extended International version (which he appears in as an actor).
1994 The Stand Yes Carl HoughTV miniseries
1995 The Langoliers Yes YesYes British assassin's employer
2006 Driven YesYesYes
The Initiation of Sarah Yes TV movie
2007 Masters of Horror Yes Episode: "We All Scream for Ice Cream"
2008 5 or Die YesYesYes TV movie
2010 Team Unicorn Yes Grandpa Episode: "A Very Zombie Holiday"
2012 Twisted Tales YesYesYes Yes

Awards and NominationsEdit

Year Award Category Film Result
1984 Edgar Award Best Motion Picture Psycho II Nominated
1986 Dario Argento Award Best Film Fright Night Won
Critics' Award Special Mention Won
International Fantasy Film Award Best Film Nominated
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
Nominated}
1996 Best Television Presentation The Langoliers Nominated

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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