Tom Holland discusses working on Hatchet II, director Adam Green, Cloak and Dagger and much more
If you look closely during scenes of Adam Green's sequel Hatchet II, the keen horror fan will notice a number genre luminaries making smaller appearances in the movie. One of those is Tom Holland, who directed such horror classics as Fright Night, Child's Play, and he even had hits outside of the genre, writing one of my childhood favorites, Cloak & Dagger. Tom Holland portrays Bob in Hatchet II, the uncle of Danielle Harris' Marybeth, who is trying to steer her clear of the nefarious Dr. Voodoo, played by another horror legend, Tony Todd.
Hatchet II was just released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 1 and I recently had a chance to speak with Tom Holland over the phone about his experience on this fantastic sequel. Here's what he had to say below:
I was actually at the Hatchet II at the Egyptian. That was quite an event.
Tom Holland: Oh yeah, right! What that showed you was the good feeling that surrounds the genre and surrounds Adam too.
Definitely. The first movie really seemed to take the horror world by storm. I was curious about what your reaction was to the first Hatchet and when you first started talking to Adam about the sequel?
Tom Holland: Adam is sort of at the head of this growing comedy/horror sub-genre that's coming up. You saw retro coming back big time with Hatchet. This whole generation were kids back in the 80s and now they're doing their versions of movies they liked back in the 80s and, especially with someone like Adam, they're doing them with heavy comedic tones. Adam and I became friendly at the Masters of Horror dinners, which is a thing that Mick Garris has had going where horror directors get together about three or four times a year. That's where Adam and I met and became friendly. I liked his work, Spiral and Hatchet. We just became friendly and I was encouraging because he had talent. My wife and I had him over for dinner one night and he said he wrote a part for me. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I hadn't acted in 28 years. The last time I had worked professionally was a mini-series called The Winds of War in 1982.
I talked to Kane Hodder the other day and he talked about how Adam is constantly challenging him. He had a sex scene in Hatchet II and, I guess in Chillerama he's going to be dancing. Every time Adam comes to him with a script, it's something he had never done before.
Tom Holland: Well, there you go. I believe that. It's hard to imagine Kane dancing, isn't it? (Laughs) That was the other thing. Adam created a really fun and safe environment for all the creative people. That movie had a friendly feel. There was no anxiety, everybody liked everybody and it was a joy to do. Very seldom are movies totally without friction or their ups and downs, but there weren't any on that one.
He really assembled this horror dream team, with the main cast members and even those with smaller roles. Was it kind of like going to a horror convention but you're actually working on a movie?
Tom Holland: Yeah, that was what it was like. What was lovely about it was I wasn't directing so I didn't have any of that responsibility, so I could hang out with the actors and get to know the people I was working with. They were really a nice group of people. You really can't get any nicer than R.A. (Mihailoff) and Kane. They're huge guys and they're pussycats.
Adam seems to be one of the few directors out there that really takes these kills up to a new level, in both this one and the original. As a director yourself, what is it like to watch him work and come up with these really inventive kills?
Tom Holland: Oh, it's fun. What it does, also, is it plugs me into what's happening in the moment. Popular culture tends to recycle every two to three years, so unless you're living it, it's almost impossible to keep up. So the experience of working with Adam and Hatchet II, brought me in very close touch with all of the younger people who are working now, and made me aware of the various directions that horror is going in. In other words, it's good to have younger friends.
Is there a favorite kill of yours in Hatchet II? It seemed like every one was more outrageous than the next.
Tom Holland: I don't know if I had a favorite, but they were funny. They were amusing. You wondered how he did some of them, and I happen to know. The best one, I think, was the curbing of R.A.'s head. The eye blind is what made that work, and that's where the laugh is. It's not played for terror, it's played, literally, for a wink.
Sadly I was one of the very few that got to see it in a theater. I was wondering what your take on the whole MPAA controversy was? It was very sad to see that happen.
Tom Holland: Yes, it was. They can say it will create a furor that will hopefully raise the sales, but it was a terrible blow if you were there and you saw it happening. Not to me, but I felt very bad for Adam and everyone else who worked so hard on it, because they thought they had a chance for a theatrical release. AMC was going to do that thing and they totally caved.
I really do hope that it does take off on Blu-ray and DVD now.
Tom Holland: I hope it does too, for Adam and for all of them. I think it's a very good movie and I think it's fun. This will sound silly, but it has a nice positive vibe, you know. The gore is so over-the-top that it's funny and it's meant to be that way. It feels to me that the MPAA is living 20 years ago as well.
Yeah, because Hatchet II was probably the fourth or fifth controversial thing that had happened with the MPAA last year. It really seems like it's become this archaic institution.
Tom Holland: So there has been trouble with other movies too then?
Yeah. There have been a lot of appeals from studios who got ratings they didn't think they deserved.
Tom Holland: I had trouble with a movie I did years ago called Fatal Beauty, with Whoopi Goldberg. They said it was the violence, but I think it really was the use of the word "motherf*&%er." We had to go to appeal and everything. They did have you by the short hairs back then, because you couldn't advertise if you were X-rated. No newspaper would carry it. Now the internet has changed that, but I don't know how much.
Tom Holland: No, but Universal is brain-dead. They have been forever, but maybe that will change with Comcast taking over. That was a hugely popular movie. It's a terrific film, it's a favorite of mine and it affected several generations. They played it recently at the New Beverly and I went down to do a Q&A afterwards. I looked at the audience and, yes, there were a few girls there - and it was packed, by the way - but it was almost all male. I would say that the males were about 30 to 38 years old.
Yeah, that sounds about right. I'm 34 so I fall right into that demographic. I watched that movie over and over again when I was a kid.
Tom Holland: That whole generation did because it was all over cable. That would be a film that would be prime for remake, and I don't think that Universal even knows that it has it, or that it's a fan favorite. The major corporations are really so out of touch with their fanbase. The Beast Within has its own cadre of admirers, so does Class of 1984. That is another very good movie that could be remade. Personally, Cloak & Dagger is a favorite of mine. I'd love to see that re-done.
If it actually does happen, who would you like to see cast in a remake of Cloak & Dagger?
Tom Holland: You know, I don't know. You know, I always thought to myself that Kevin Kline could have played the father. It was a terribly influential film that many don't seem to know about, but at the same time, you can feel how much it's affected people. When I looked around that audience at the New Beverly, and I saw it was all male and young, I knew that generation who saw it on cable was really affected by it. It was very satisfying.
I'm also curious about your thoughts on the Fright Night remake are? Were you involved in the production at all?
Tom Holland: No, not at all. I wish them the best, sure. It's a nice complement, if nothing else.
Is there anything that you're currently writing or looking to direct that you can talk about?
Tom Holland: Yes, I do, and I cannot say anything because we're in negotiations. If you see a press release on it in a month or so, contact me and we can talk about it. We're going to do the deal. The lawyers are talking, so how long could it take? By the end of February, the announcement should be out.
Excellent. I'll definitely be looking forward to that. Just to wrap up, what would you like to say to anyone who is curious about Hatchet II or didn't get to see it in theaters about why they should pick up the Blu-ray or DVD?
Tom Holland: Because it was a great group of people and because Adam Green is a very talented director and a very, very nice human being. For all of the actors involved, it would be very nice to have their work seen. It has some of Danielle Harris' best work and some of the best work Tony Todd has done as well. You want to support nice people and that's what they are.
I would totally agree. Well, that's about all I have for you, Tom. Thank you so much for your time and best of luck with that new project of yours.
Tom Holland: Thank you very much.