Tom Holland
Holland in 2008
Thomas Lee Holland[1][2][3]

(1943-07-11) July 11, 1943 (age 80)
EducationWorcester Academy
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles (B.A., J.D.)
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
  • actor
Years active1964–present
Notable workPsycho II
Fright Night
Child's Play
The Langoliers
Rock, Paper, Scissors

Thomas Lee Holland (born July 11, 1943) is an American filmmaker. He is best known for his work in the horror film genre, penning the 1983 sequel to the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho,[4] directing and co-writing 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. Holland made the jump into children’s literature in 2018 when he co-wrote How to Scare a Monster with fellow writer Dustin Warburton.

Early life and education

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 Actors 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.[citation needed]

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 title.[15] That same year, he wrote 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 in 1988 titled Fright Night Part 2, and a 2011 remake, Fright Night starring Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin. That remake also had its own sequel, Fright Night 2: New Blood, which was released in 2013. Holland was not involved in any of the sequels or the remake. On October 28, 2020, Holland confirmed that he is writing a direct sequel to the original Fright Night titled Fright Night: Resurrection and that his sequel would ignore the 1988 sequel and be a proper sequel to his 1985 film.[33]

In 1988, Holland directed the film Child's Play, which received positive reviews from Ebert[34] and Leonard Maltin,[35] 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 title.

Dead Rabbit Films

He and David Chackler founded the horror film company Dead Rabbit Films in 2009.[36] Holland wrote and directed a horror anthology webseries titled Twisted Tales,[37] which appeared on Fearnet in 2013 and was released on home media in 2014.[38]

Personal life

He is the father of American actor Josh Holland.[39][40]



Year Title Director Writer
1982 The Beast Within No Yes
Class of 1984 No Yes
1983 Psycho II No Yes
1984 Cloak & Dagger No Yes
Scream for Help No Yes
1985 Fright Night Yes Yes
1987 Fatal Beauty Yes No
1988 Child's Play Yes Yes
1993 The Temp Yes No
1996 Thinner Yes Yes
2011 Fright Night No Story
2017 Rock, Paper, Scissors Yes No

Short film

Executive producer

Year Title Notes
2016 You're So Cool, Brewster! The Story of Fright Night Documentary 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

Year Title Role Notes
1963 America America (voice) Uncredited
1969 Model Shop Gerry
Changes Roommate
1970 A Walk in the Spring Rain Boy
1972 Josie's Castle Leonard Robbins
1983 Psycho II Deputy Norris
2009 The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Charles Brewster Mockumentary short film
2010 Hatchet II Bob
2014 Digging Up the Marrow Himself
2015 Clowntown The Clown with No Name Short film
TBA The Tarot Uncle Walter


Year Title Director Writer Executive
1986 Amazing Stories Yes No No Episode: "Miscalculation"
1989-1992 Tales from the Crypt Yes Yes No Directed episodes: "Lover Come Hack to Me" & "King of the Road"
Written and directed episode: "Four-Sided Triangle"
1991 The Owl Yes Yes Yes Unsold pilot
1995 The Langoliers Yes Yes No Miniseries
2007 Masters of Horror Yes No No Episode: "We All Scream for Ice Cream"
2013 Twisted Tales Yes Yes Yes Web series (9 episodes)

TV movies

Year Title Director Writer Notes
1978 The Initiation of Sarah No Story
1990 The Stranger Within Yes No
1992 Two-Fisted Tales Yes No Segment "King of the Road"
2006 The Initiation of Sarah No Story

Web short films

Year Title Director Writer Executive
2006 Driven Yes Yes Yes
2008 5 or Die Yes No Yes

Acting credits

Year Title Role Notes
1958 Telephone Time Millsap Episode: "Trail Blazer"
1964 77 Sunset Strip Al Killian Episode: "Lover's Lane"
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Vic Burns Episode: "Out on the Outskirts of Town"
1965-1966 A Flame in the Wind Steve Reynolds #2 50 episodes
1967 Combat! Pfc. Tommy Bishop Episode: "Entombed"
1968 Felony Squad LeRoy Baker Episode: "Epitaph for a Cop"
1969 My Friend Tony Urknown Episode: "The Hazing"
The Young Lawyers David Harrison Episode: "Pilot"
Medical Center Jess Yarnaby Episode: "24 Hours"
1978 The Incredible Hulk Steve Silva Episode: "Another Path"
1983 The Winds of War Devilfish Sub Captain Episode: "Into the Maelstrom"
1991 The Owl Mugger Television pilot, appears uncredited in extended international version
1994 The Stand Carl Hough 2 episodes
1995 The Langoliers Harker 2 episodes
2007 Masters of Horror Funeral Guest Episode: "We All Scream for Ice Cream"
2010 Team Unicorn Grandpa Episode: "A Very Zombie Holiday"
2013 Twisted Tales Himself / Janitor Web series (9 episodes)
2015 20 Seconds to Live Bystander Episode: "Evil Doll"

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes score
The Beast Within (1982) 13%[41]
Class of 1984 (1982) 75%[42]
Psycho II (1983) 61%[43]
Scream for Help (1984)
Cloak & Dagger (1984) 64%[44]
Fright Night (1985) 91%[45]
Fatal Beauty (1987) 23%[46]
Child's Play (1988) 69%[47]
The Temp (1993) 29%[48]
The Langoliers (1995) 50%[49]
Thinner (1996) 16%[50]
Fright Night (2011) 72%[51]
Rock Paper Dead (2017)

Awards and nominations

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 Saturn Award Best Horror Film Child's Play Nominated
Best Writing
Shared with Don Mancini and John Lafia
1996 Saturn Award Best Television Presentation The Langoliers Nominated


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