Cult Projections: Apart from Lon Chaney, who else inspired your move into the art of illusion?
Tom: Houdini, Jack Pierce, Dick Smith, Rick Baker, Rob Bottin.
CP: Looking back on your extraordinary career is there a particular period or collaboration that you’re especially fond of?
T: Yes, my collaboration with George Romero.
CP: Do you have a personal favourite of the movies you’ve worked on?
T: Creepshow, Day Of The Dead, and From Dusk Till Dawn.
CP: What has been the most grueling movie to work on? Why?
T: Creepshow. It was five little movies, and it was just me and my 17-year-old assistant Daryl.
CP: What were your first thoughts when you started to see special effects makeup being replaced by CGI in horror movies? How did you bridge this dramatic shift in the industry?
T: I love CGI when it is done well...it became a very useful tool. The best effects are a combination of CGI and practical.
CP: The horror movies of the mid-70s to the mid-80s are considered the golden age of the modern horror movie. And now many of those cult/classic films are being remade. You remade Night of the Living Dead back in 1990, and you have a remake of Nightmare City in the works, if you were given the opportunity to direct another remake of your choice, what would it be?
T: It would be what I intended to do with Night of the Living Dead.
CP: Zombies, werewolves, vampires, demons, beasts, mutilated bodies … Do you have a favourite creation?
T: No … they are all my children.
CP: Outside of your own work, name three special makeup effects sequences or creations that you consider benchmarks of the art.
T: Rob Bottin’s work in The Thing, Rick Baker’s on An American Werewolf in London, Dick Smith’s on The Exorcist.
CP: Any young, up-and-coming practitioners in the art of special effects makeup you would single out for their talent?
T: There are way too many.
CP: What is the most important element in a horror movie that a budding director should adhere to?
T: That the best scares come from suspense. Any idiot can jump up and yell “Boo!”
CP: If you had to pick three horror movies of the past fifty years to be put into a time capsule as representative of the cinematic genre, what would they be?
T: Frankenstein, The Exorcist, and Alien.
CP: How’s the Nightmare City remake coming along? Any other projects you're working on?
T: They are rewriting Nightmare City, and I just did six episodes of From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series.
CP: Thanks Tom!