Born today in 1946, Thomas Vincent “Tom” Savini is known throughout Hollywood and the horror world for his outstanding special effects makeup. Called “The Sultan of Splatter” and the “Godfather of Gore,” Tom’s interest in FX makeup began as a child. Lon Chaney inspired him, and he experimented on himself and any friends willing to serve as test subjects.
After graduating from Central Catholic High School in Oakland, Pennsylvania, Savini attended Point Park College in downtown Pittsburgh for three years before enlisting in the Army. He served in Vietnam as a combat photographer. In a 2002 interview with the Pgh Post, he described the haunting images. He said, “To cope with it (the hideous reality of war), I guess I tried to think of it as special effects.” When he returned from his tour of duty, Tom Savini attended Carnegie Mellon University.
Tom Savini acted and served as a stunt man in many films, including “Martin (1977),” “Dawn of the Dead (1978),” “Knightrider (1981),” “Creepshow (1982),” “Monkeyshines (1988),” “From Dusk Til Dawn (1996),” “Planet Terror (2007),” “Machete (2010),” “Django Unchained (2012),” and “Machete Kills (2013).” He also produced makeup effects for many of these films. Additionally, Jason Vorhees from “Friday the 13th I and IV” and Leatherface from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” are his creations. He directed the remake “Night of the Living Dead (1990)” and three episodes of “Tales from the Darkside.”
He’s written two books, “Grand Illusion” and “Bizarro” (the second with George A. Romero and Stephen King) on special makeup effects, and he heads a school for FX Makeup outside of Pittsburgh. Additionally, Tom Savini is an accomplished fencer and gymnast.