I recently got the chance to talk to iconic horror writer and director Tom Holland about his role in ‘Hatchet II’. Here, Tom talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on the project and which of his own horror films is his favourite…
Hey Tom. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your role in ‘Hatchet II’ – which has just had it’s DVD premiere in the UK on 27th August 2011.
What can fans of ’Hatchet’ expect from this installment?
I had so much fun doing it. It’s a riff on the slasher films of the 80’s. The humor is in knowing the form. Also, the gore is over the top, so you grin. It’s a terrific edition to the horror/comedy genre which is really coming into its own.
How did you get involved in the franchise in the first place?
Adam Green asked me to do it. We had become friends through the ‘Masters Of Horror’ dinners. I thought ‘Spiral’ and ‘Frozen’ were terrific films. I never expected Adam to cast me in anything. Last time I worked professionally as an actor was the 1982 mini-series, ‘Winds Of War’. So it had been 28 years between acting jobs, I think. LOL. That doesn’t include walk-ons, like in Mick Garris’ ‘The Stand’.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Uncle Bob. He’s the one nice guy in the film and the last to die. Even better, his death takes place off-screen, so I didn’t have to be sprayed with blood.
As a writer and director of horror films yourself, how would you say this franchise tries to be different?
In ‘Hatchet II’, you can see Adam Green’s growing command of the horror/comedy genre. The film is very solidly put together and well edited by Ed Marks.
The film stars Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder and Parry Shen – with Adam Green onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
They were all terrific. I’m not just being polite either. It was an extraordinary circumstance because Adam had control over the casting. Everybody was a friend of his. The warmth and sense of fun carried into the shooting. Will Barratt shot it. He had worked with Adam since their time together in Boston. It was a film with a family feel. It was about the work, not ego. It was lovely.
Let’s talk a bit about you Tom. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I started in the summer of my 16th birthday. I apprenticed at the Bucks County Playhouse in Pennsylvania. I had wanted to be a writer as a kid, but someone told me actors met more girls. They were right. LOL.
As we’ve mentioned, you’re also a writer and director – (in fact, you wrote the screenplays to both the 1985 and 2011 versions of ‘Fright Night‘ – and you even directed ‘Child‘s Play‘ in 1988). Is it hard juggling all of these jobs, or is it just a normal day at the office?
It’s hard. Of course, I also directed the original ‘Fright Night’ and a number of other movies and TV shows as well. It’s been a mixture of elation and heartbreak, but always rewarding. I think the thing about film/media/video is that you never stop losing. The technicals don’t change that much, but popular culture washes and rinses every two years. Keeps you on your toes.
Out of all the screenplays you’ve written, which is your favourite and why?
‘Fright Night’. ‘Wait’, ‘Psycho 2’. ‘No’, ‘Cloak And Dagger’ and ‘The Beast Within’. LOL. They are all my children, especially the failures, ‘Scream For Help’ and ‘The Temp’. Nobody ever mentions their failures, but that’s how you learn.
What advice would you give to anyone writing or wanting to write a screenplay?
You’ve won if you type “The End.” Also, you have to love the process, the work, and not just the result. In fact, you can hate the result, and you will, but you’re safe and you will grow if you enjoy what you’re doing.
What is your favorite horror movie?
Depends on the time in my life. The one that first blew me away? ‘Psycho’. Hands down. Changed horror, montage, and finally film.
If you could invite three historical guests to a dinner, who are either living or dead – who would you choose and why?
- Alfred Hitchcock, to ask him how he thought of so many things.
- John Ford, to find if he was really that crankie.
- Howard Hawks, to ask him why he made the “The Thing’ when he had such a different catalogue of movies to his name, such as ‘Red River’ and “Bringing Up Baby’.
In your opinion, what has been the most important invention of the 21st century?
I get my centuries mixed up: the internet.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
A feature and a Fearnet series, but they haven’t been announced yet, so I can’t say anymore.
Thanks for the interview!