Tom Savini

Early Life

Tom Savini
Tom Savini

Tom Savini was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 2, 1946. He was raised Catholic and graduated from Central Catholic High School. His fascination with horror began very early on. In his youth he looked to Lon Chaney Sr. as an inspiration and first sparked his interest in creating special makeup effects. He started out experimentation by practicing on himself and later applying his makeup techniques on friends. Around this time he also discovered his desire to act.

He attended Point Park University for three years before joining the U.S. Army, serving as a combat photographer in Vietnam. After his tour he studied at Carnegie-Mellon University. He was the first undergraduate to he awarded a full fellowship in the acting and directing program.

Early in Savini's career, Dick Smith (The Exorcist) became his inspiration and mentor. His first breakthrough project would be working with George Romero on Martin (1978) and Dawn of the Dead a year later.

The 1980's brought about several movies that would assert Savini as a master of horror makeup artistry. Friday the 13th (1980) would be the first of the decade, expanding his work in bloody and gory effects. Movies that followed such as Maniac, The Burning, and The Prowler earned him the title, "The Sultan of Splatter." He went on to work with Romero again on Creepshow (1982), Day of the Dead (1985), and even making a cameo appearance in Land of the Dead (2005). The 1990's would bring his feature film debut Night of the Living Dead (1990) and his appearance in From Dusk Til Dawn (1996).

Savini continues to work in horror, scaring fans still with his legendary nightmarish craft. He is currently working on a remake of Nightmare City (1980) as director and makeup effects artist.

Movies Known For

Martin (1978) Dawn of the Dead (1978) Friday the 13th (1980)
Maniac (1980) The Burning (1981) The Prowler (1981)
Creepshow (1982) Day of the Dead (1985) Creepshow 2 (1987)
Night of the Living Dead (1990) From Dusk Til Dawn (1996) Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Grindhouse (2007)

BrainDid You Know?

His stunt work is inspired by Jackie Chan.

He turned down the chance to direct Pet Sematary (1989).

He owns a haunted attraction in Pittsburgh, Terrormania, in which his students perform and work.

He was originally set to do the makeup effects in Night of the Living Dead (1968), but was drafted to Vietnam before filming started.

His favorite performed special effect is the helicopter zombie from Dawn of the Dead (1978).

One of his favorite films is Black Christmas (1974).