Interview with Tom Holland

Tom Holland is well known in the horror industry for his work throughout this fantastic career. He wrote the script to for “Psycho II”, the sequel to one of horror’s beloved films. Tom has also written and directed such great films such as “Child’s Play” and “Fright Night”. Tom was recently featured in Robert Galluzzo’s must see documentary “The Psycho Legacy” which chronicles his work on “Psycho II” and celebrates one of horror’s greatest series. Movie Mikes was able to chat with Tom about his fantastic career and his return to acting in the recently released “Hatchet II”.

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Mike Gencarelli: You wrote the script for “Psycho II”, you must have been nervous creating a sequel to one of the most beloved horror films?
Tom Holland: I was a nervous wreak. I may have never been scared in all my life. I have also never worked so hard in all my life on a script. You knew walking in the reviewers were going to kill you no matter what. Everyone was saying at the time “How can you make a sequel to the greatest horror film ever made?”. I did everything I could to remain faithful to the original. I think that there is nothing in the sequel that doesn’t logical fit in with the original. We wanted to do something intelligent. It was based on creating a part for Tony Perkins that allowed Norman Bates to be sympathetic at the same time he was a serial murderer. We couldn’t have gotten it made without Tony. It started out as a cable movie for Oak Communication in San Diego.  Since we got Tony Perkins to say “Yes”, the worldwide publicity was so high it convinced Universal to make it into a feature film. This was done before they had all these sequels or remakes or anything like that. We were doing an original movie standing on the shoulders of the greatest film in the horror genre. It was an enormous success and spawned two sequels. It has grown and grown over the years on cable and DVD. It has really been an amazing experience.

MG: Tell us about revisiting “Psycho” in Robert Galluzzo’s “The Psycho Legacy” documentary?
TH: You have someone like Rob Galluzzo who comes along and has this amazing love for the “Psycho” series.  This is really a brilliant documentary. It is also an act of love on Rob’s part. I think he spent four or five years working on this film.  He really did such a beautiful job. The editing on the project is amazing, it was done by a guy named Jon Maus. It is a real labor of love.

MG: Most of the films you directed also came from your own scripts i.e. “Fright Night” and “Child’s Play”, did you find it easier to direct from your own scripts?
TH: Yes, if you write a strong script you have already taught yourself so much about what you will have to know to direct it.  You have already fought half the battle but it all depends on if the script is strong.  That is a key factor.

MG: How do you feel that “Fright Night” appeals to even non-horror fans?
TH: Fright Night is really an homage. It is a love letter to horror films. I think that people pick up the warmth, the good feeling and the humor from the film. I think it is a horror film about horror films.  I am glad that it is able to appeals to people outside the genre.

MG: How do you feel that your films “Fright Night” and “Child’s Play” are now being remade?
TH: OH, God bless them. What do I say at this point. I think it is terrific and I will take it as an homage. If not to be personally then to at least to my commercial instincts. On the other hand, I think it is bankrupt creatively. I would rather them do originals. This is where we are right now and this is how they lessen the risk. I feel that if you keep on doing these reboots or sequels, it doesn’t offer as much room for new guys coming up.

MG: You recently are in front of the camera in “Hatchet II”, how was it working on that film?
TH: Adam Green met and I became friends at the Mick Garris’ “Masters of Horror” dinners. Since the show went off the air, a bunch of us get together for an occasional dinner at Mick’s behalf. Adam asked me if I would want to act in “Hatchet II”. I was a fan of his work.  You could have knock me over with a feather. I started out as an actor, but I haven’t had a paying acting job since “The Winds of War” in 1982. I’ve done some cameos but this is the first time in 28 years that I had a real part. I had a ball doing it. I was terrified during the big dialogue scene but I had Danielle Harris to get me through it. I felt much more confident acting in the action scenes because as a director, I know what Adam needs to cut it together.

MG: Tell us about being honored at the 2010 Reaper Awards?
TH: I won a Grimmy for Lifetime Achievement. I want to thank Steve Barton, Dread Central and Home Media Magazine. They did a beautiful job at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. You go to a horror function and everyone is very supportive and wonderful, it is so different from normal Hollywood events. It was a really pleasant experience for me.

MG: Are you currently working on any projects now?
TH: Yes, I am currently working on “Tom Holland’s Twisted Tales”. I am actually working on it with Rob Galluzzo. In one story, we got William Forsythe and Danielle Harris. In another I have A.J Bowen, who is becoming a big genre star. I like casting within the genre. We are in production now and hope to have them distributed some time next year.
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