Older horror fans may not know who Adam Green is, but for the better part of the last decade the filmmaker has written and directed some of the very best in slasher horror. Known primarily for his Hatchet series, Green also directed Frozen (2010″¦ not that one), Digging Up The Marrow (2014), and the TV series Holliston on FearNet. In 2006, Green wrote and directed Hatchet, a throwback to ’80s-style guts and gore slashers, starring everyone’s favorite Jason, Kane Hodder as the gigantic unstoppable monster, Victor Crowley. Not only did Green get a horror legend to play his lead villain, but icons Robert Englund (Freddy) and Tony Todd (Candyman) also appeaed. With the sequels, more and more horror legends showed up and soon Green amassed an army of Hatchet fans, both in and out of the industry. This week, the fourth film in the franchise, Victor Crowley, debuts on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, and VOD. I was able to get some time earlier this week to speak with Green about the film as well as its place in horror history…
Geeks Of Doom: With Victor Crowley coming out next week, we heard rumors about this last summer and now it’s ready to debut. Why was this whole production kept so under wraps?
Adam Green: There’s several reasons for that. The main was just to surprise the fans and make it as exciting as possible for them. I think the fact that the announcement was by showing a finished film to fans who had no idea they were about to see it, and then immediately starting the tour the very next day was something I haven’t seen before. I think movies nowadays get ruined. There’s an announcement that it’s in development, or its being made and there’s casting news and production stills, and teaser trailers and teaser posters; by the time the thing comes out, you already know the whole movie and you’re over it and on to something else. So we experimented with this at first with Digging Up The Marrow back in 2014. We said we were making a film called Digging Up The Marrow, but that it was an art documentary. That way no one would care or be interested in it and we could be left alone. For that one it was more out of necessity because for that one, trying to pitch or even put out a log line for that movie, a year or two in advance; that movie took four years to make. When you say it’s a documentary, but it’s not. Part of it’s real and part of it isn’t; we’re playing ourselves, but Ray Wise is playing someone else, people would’ve just been like “What the fuck is this?” They would’ve jumped to conclusions that it’s a terrible idea that wouldn’t work before they ever saw it. It was better there to just make it and then show it to people. It was also the first time I had experience touring with a film. So that really set the stage for this one. It’s kind of funny when people say that Victor Crowley pulled a Blair Witch. Blair Witch kind of pulled a Marrow, and everyone knew because Bloody-Disgusting had already said what that was a year before. It’s not something I’m going to start doing all the time, but it was really liberating to get to make a movie completely off the radar where there was no interference or expectation or need to be promoting it while I’m making it. No Facebook Live things from the set and posting pictures. This was an ambitious movie to make in and of itself. If I was going to resurrect this and come back to it again it better be good. If I had done this and it sucked, what a disaster. So we really just wanted to be on our own little island where we could focus on it.
Geeks Of Doom: I think what horror fans love about the Hatchet series can be narrowed down to three things: you have Kane Hodder, a horror superstar as Victor Crowley, and you’ve managed to have all these amazing horror and genre cameos in each of the films. Then it’s the amazing kills and the practical effects. So let’s start at the top, how were you able to get all these genre icons to appear in the Hatchet series?
Adam Green: Well, the only real cameo was Robert Englund because everyone else had really good roles, which is what they responded to. With Tony Todd, in the original movie, I had already told him how massive his role would get in the second one and he was only being introduced, which was a huge gamble in case there never was a second one. That was one where effort needed to be put in because I was a nobody with nothing to really show for myself other than short films and commercials and writing assignments. So it was really just wearing my heart on my sleeve and convincing them I knew what I was doing and was going to pull this off. With Kane, I think we came into each other’s lives at the right time. He had just been unceremoniously dumped as Jason a few years earlier with no explanation why. His mother had just passed away and he was at a crossroads. One option was retiring. And then I come along with this new character, which was a great opportunity for him. There were six other guys who had played Jason before him, but he’s the Jason you think of. That said, the role doesn’t belong to him. This was a chance to own the character from the ground up. As long as I am making Hatchet movies, Kane will always be Victor Crowley. Unless he decides it’s time to step down. You have to remember he’s like 130 years old now.
With all the sequels, now that everyone had seen the first one every convention I’d do would be a receiving line of actors saying, “Hey, put me in, how do I get in on this?” So it’s been really fun. I don’t know if it’s a conscious thing, but between the Hatchet movies and Holliston, I love showing off what these people are capable of as actors. They’re much more than that one role they’re famous for. I mean look at Felissa Rose in Victor Crowley. It’s one of the best roles she’s had a shot at playing. For 30 years now, people have just thought of her as Angela from Sleepaway Camp. And even though she’s done a hundred other movies, it’s usually little cameo parts. It’s never usually been something of this high quality that she can get excited about and show how funny she actually is. That’s what a lot of the actors who show up on Holliston appreciate, getting to do comedy. In a million years they never thought they’d ever do a sitcom. And they’re great actors. Look at Kane. This opened so many new doors for him and he’s now playing leading roles not under heavy makeup. He’s gotten a chance to cry on screen and do emotional scenes, dance in Chillerama, making fun of himself. There’s a whole storyline in season 2 of Holliston where he’s trying to kill himself every time someone brings up Freddy vs. Jason, I was nervous running that by him, because that wasn’t a funny subject. That was a very touchy thing. As someone who’s so close to him now, I told him if you do this, you’ll own this thing. It diffuses the whole thing because you’re making fun of it. That’s how I handle my whole life, because I’m always shitting on myself and it helps. It changed the way he looks at that now. There are still more I want to put in when it’s the right part. It’s a very small community especially when you’re doing the conventions. It’s like a traveling family. We’re very close behind the scenes.
Geeks Of Doom: Is there anyone you tried to get and couldn’t? Or someone we haven’t seen that we may see in a future film?
Adam Green: So far there’s only been”¦ well there are two stories of times I’ve been told no. The first was Sid Haig, who originally I had gone to be Sampson, Marybeth’s father in the first one. His agent said no. Years later when I asked Sid to be Hatchet 3, he was like, “Thank you for finally asking me, I was wondering when I’d get to be in one of these!” And I said, “You passed on the first one.” He didn’t, his agent did and he never even knew. So that was interesting. The only other time was when I asked Angus Scrimm to be one and by that time he was so sick and frail that he couldn’t travel. Aside from that everyone has enthusiastically said yes. If we do get to move forward and make more of these in the future, which is the hope, I don’t want to spoil anything, but we’ll be seeing some that we haven’t seen yet.
Geeks Of Doom: You’ve hit actors from almost every horror franchise at this point.
Adam Green: The goal is to kill all the other icons. At this point we have because we finally got a Michael Myers at the very beginning of this one. That was the last one we were waiting on. We finally got Michael Myers. We’ve been picking them off one by one, Victor Crowley killed Freddy, he killed Jason, he killed Candyman, it’s just been a fun little side project.
Geeks Of Doom: I’ll go this question next since you said the word “icon.” What’s it mean to you as a writer, director, and obviously a horror fan that you’ve created a true horror icon in Victor Crowley?
Adam Green: I was always pretty resistant to that word until this film when it was Romero who guided me back to this. When the first one came out there were critics and people saying, “This is the next icon of horror.” I mean that was on the poster. And I was uncomfortable with that because there are people who think when they read a review or a quote that it’s the filmmaker saying that and that’s a bold statement. As a fan myself I’m constantly wearing both hats, that hat of a fan and the hat of an artist. For the UK release of Hatchet, the quote on the poster was “The Holy Grail of Slasher Films,” which when Hatchet was released on Blu-ray in the States, that’s what they put on it. I’m like dude, come on, Halloween is the Holy Grail of slasher films, don’t even joke. So I was actually getting offended by the praise that Victor Crowley was getting. But now that he’s on his fourth film and it’s ten years later; the fact that at Monster-Mania, a convention in New Jersey, there were people cosplaying as Victor Crowley. That is something you start taking note of. I mean these are cult movies. Compare that to like the remake of Prom Night, which did gangbusters in box office it’s first weekend, but never again in life will you hear anyone say anything about that movie. No one will ever get a tattoo from that movie or dress up like anyone in it.
Geeks Of Doom: Unless they lost a bet.
Adam Green: Yeah, that’s the great thing about this genre, the fans decide who gets to become an icon, not the studios or the marketing team, nobody else can make that decision. I always say, with horror you have to give it ten years. Are fans still talking about it? So now we have Victor Crowley Halloween masks and comic books. It’s not that the merchandise makes something an icon, but that fact that the fans want the merchandise that long after the original came out. I’m finally coming into my skin with that because I was very resistant till recently. I still don’t think, and I think Kane would agree with me, that he’s still not at the level of a Jason, Michael Myers, or Freddy. But he is a modern-day icon just like they were the modern-day icons compared to Dracula, Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s monster. The only difference is right now there really aren’t any others. There’s Jigsaw, but he’s not a slasher, he’s not a monster or some unstoppable force. He’s very different. I still have high hopes for Leslie Vernon, especially since Victor Crowley and Leslie Vernon exist in the same world. I made the nod to Leslie Vernon in Hatchet 2 and in the script for the Leslie Vernon sequel there’s a nod to Hatchet. At some point those two are gonna meet and I want it to happen. I just love Behind the Mask way more than I love Hatchet, I know I’m not supposed to say that. I love Scott Glosserman, he’s such a good friend. What we can do, man I really hope that movie gets made.
Geeks Of Doom: Me too, I think most horror fans would agree.
Adam Green: But they didn’t step up when they did the Kickstarter and that’s the problem.
Geeks Of Doom: Well I know Behind the Mask is on Amazon Prime, so hopefully people watch it and it starts trending again.
Adam Green: Well speaking of trending, the new trend among younger fans is to not pay for entertainment. With Digging Up The Marrow, not a day goes by with fans asking for a sequel, and I’d meet people at conventions and ask them how they saw it and they’d admit to my face that they watched it on YouTube or I torrented it and I think that’s why I can’t do a sequel. We never get that much of any of it, but anytime people watch anything the legal way, it helps.
Geeks Of Doom: My final question, what’s your favorite kill of the Hatchet series and what’s Kane’s favorite kill of the series?
Adam Green: For both of us it’s still Mrs. Permatteo getting her face ripped in half in the first one. That’s been the kill I’ve been chasing. One of the lessons I learned making the first film was the kills need to keep topping each other, and as popular as the belt sander was on Jenna (Joleigh Fioravanti) later in the movie, that was the defining moment of that film. In the second one I thought it was between Reverend Zombie getting cut in half or the double chainsaw kill, or my god the sex scene with the beheading. I was so sure we would beat the Mrs. Permatteo kill, but there were still fans going back to that one. I don’t think there’s any in the third film, but in this one coming out, the cell phone kill, I don’t want to spoil anything but it’s pretty good and those are our picks.
Geeks Of Doom: That’s awesome. I really loved the one in Part 2 where the guy gets his head split in two across the table and his eyes keep blinking.
Adam Green: Yeah, Right! Because in American History X you don’t get to see it and so I’m so like I want to see a “curbing” since we’ve never seen one. I was so proud of how we pulled that gag off. The hardcore Hatchet fans, most of them thought Part 2 was their favorite until this one. In 2, the kills were really front and center and topped each other. We tried to go back to that in this one. It’s just fine to go back and hit the reset button because 1, 2, and 3 are one film. There’s a beginning, middle, and end. That’s why we didn’t call this Hatchet 4, even though it’s a direct sequel — it’s ten years later, not taking off exactly where we left off. It’s a movie where you don’t need to have seen the first three to enjoy it. On the first wave of the tour we met so many people who had never seen a Hatchet movie before and they loved it as much as the people in the Hatchet Army.
Adam Green is as cool a guy as you can talk to in the horror industry having literally worked with actors from nearly every great franchise in the past 30+ years. Victor Crowley is out on Blu-Ray/DVD/VOD on February 6th. The Hatchet trilogy is available on Amazon now, Parts 2 and 3 streaming free on Prime. Digging Up The Marrow is available on horror streaming service Shudder. Support Indie Horror and keep these movies coming! Keep up it here for a Blu-ray review of the film and follow me on the Stardust app at DrZaiusGoD.
Follow me on Twitter.