Back in October, Hatchet 2 made history as being the first film to be released by a major movie theater chain (AMC) with no rating. Horror aficionados hailed the decision as breakthrough, now a horror movie could be seen as the director originally intended.
Their praise was cut short when the chain abruptly pulled the movie from their theaters before its opening weekend was over. There was a storm of controversy; fans cried censorship, and AMC blamed poor ticket sales.
No one knows the real story, but one thing is clear-Adam Green and the production crew got completely screwed over. Today, the movie finally comes out On Demand at several different outlets. I got to speak with director Adam Green along with stars Danielle Harris and Kane Hodder about the film earlier this year.
Green is a well-respected horror director, previously know for Hatchet, a film that introduced a new horror icon named Victor Crowley. He also directed the criminally underrated Frozen. Danielle Harris has been affectionately dubbed a scream queen for her appearances in Rob Zombies Halloween and Halloween 2, along with the television series Fear Clinic. Kane Hodder is nothing short of a legend in the business, having done stunts for over 72 well-known films, and acting in many as well.
Hatchet 2 continues the story of Victor Crowley, a killer who resides in a Louisiana swamp, and offed a bunch of tourists on a ghost tour in the first film. The movie is a gory mix of black comedy and horror.
The Flickcast (to Adam): From my understanding, Hatchet 2 picks up exactly where the first one left off. Is that correct?
Adam Green: Yes, the very same frame, so the movie starts with black and there’s a hard cut right where we left off, and it just keeps going.
FC: If I am remembering correctly, Danielle’s character (Mary Beth) is the only survivor from Hatchet, so tell us a little bit about the premise of this film.
AG: Well, it’s essentially the second part of one big movie, and that’s sort of the goal of this, as a franchise. However many more we end up making over the course of our lives, you could cut them all together into one long story. Nobody else has really done that exactly like that before.
FC: Did you know before you started the first film that you were going to do that?
AG: Yeah. In fact, we went through painstaking work and effort to make sure that we had a place to go with the second one. For instance, in the first movie Mary Beth tells essentially the quick version of the urban legend of Victor Crowley that she and every other kid has heard, but in this one we actually fill in all the holes in that. Why is Victor Crowley deformed, who is is mother, what is he? Is he a ghost? Is he a zombie? Did he never die?
So there’s a lot of things to answer, and I love it when there is a sequel with a purpose, and not just a cash-in where there’s a new group of tourists, and there boat breaks down…nobody wants to see that. So there’s that aspect of it, where we are going to learn much more about Victor Crowley and who he is, and this really kind of becomes his movie a little bit.
But also for Mary Beth, a character from the first movie who doesn’t really say much at all, she’s there basically as the person who knows what’s actually going on, and now this really becomes her journey and her story, because wants to get the bodies of her father and brother, but really what she wants to do is get revenge on Victor Crowley.
In the first one, we already knew where some of this was going, which is why we shot it the way we did, and now in this one when you learn that stuff you can go back and watch the first one and say, “wow.”
Even some of the weapons that Kane uses in this one, we already established in the first one. You can go back and watch (the first film) and see them already hanging in the background. So I think way more effort than what normally goes into a sequel went into this because we really wanted to deliver a great story, and I am confidant we did that.
FC: I’m glad to hear that. In horror movies, in particular, we don’t see the characters fleshed out enough.
AG: Well, its a 50/50 split though, because I can tell you we screened the movie in London; the best response of the entire festival, people were screaming and cheering, but with horror fans, there is a good portion of them who just want to see Kane kill people.
Every time there’s story or character development they’re bored. Then you can read the reviews where it’s like “Well, once the killing started it was great, but then there was all of this acting, and story, and…”
FC: Yeah, but those are hard core horror fans. I’m a movie lover who just happens to love horror movies.
AG: And we’re all the same way, I’d much rather error toward having a good story than just a sizzle reel of effects. Part of what makes those kills so fun is when you actually know who that person was that’s getting killed. Not that you want the audience to be upset and sad, but at least know who that guy was.
Some of the other sequels for the other franchises, you know that someone is going to die when it’s a minute fifty, and a random guy shows up and goes walking up through the woods with no character name. At least with Hatchet 2, there’s no way to predict what the pecking order is, or how people are going to go. That’s been really fun.
Kane Hodder: Also, talking to fans about both movies, what they like is exactly what he is saying, how Adam makes you at least care about that character. Every single character in the movie, you have some kind of feeling about at least, or you know something about them. That’s almost exclusively what the fans say about the characters.
FC: Especially your character. Of almost all the villains I can think of, he’s one of the most sympathetic, because of what happened to him.
AG: That’s what makes a true villain; the audience can also feel pity for you. It goes back to Frankenstein’s monster, I think he is one of the most sympathetic characters ever, because he was manufactured and made and does not want to be there and the ending of that movie is horrific and tragic and sad.
That’s always been sort of my holy grail of villains, so to speak. So to have a character like Victor Crowley who did not ask to be born this way, who suffered his whole life then dies because of a prank, and not even because someone killed him; because his own father…
FC: Not on purpose, though.
AG: With the sequel, we really go there emotionally. You saw how heartbroken Mr. Crowley was in the first one, but this one goes a little deeper. A lot of times you get pigeon-holed in this genre. People think, “Oh, you’re a horror person” and you don’t get opportunities like that, but some of the skills that it takes as an actor in this stuff is far beyond somebody who is on a sitcom on a tv show.
FC (to Kane): Knowing what he [Adam] just told me, when you were first approached for Hatchet, did he ask you to sign on for multiple movies? Did you know that was a possibility?
KH: I don’t think it was ever really mentioned that we would do more than one, at the moment that we met.
FC (to Adam): So were you nervous that you might not get Kane back?
AG: No, if you treat people right and the movie is good, and you have a good relationship, the actors will always come back. You also don’t want to get cocky too. Here’s this independent movie with no money, and you need to sign on for five of these. I wouldn’t do that.
FC (to Kane and Danielle): Both of you are kind of horror icons. Did either of you have any trepidation about doing another horror movie? To me, it’s cool because you have a built-in fanbase.
KH: No, I never hesitated at all, as far as doing another horror movie.
Danielle Harris: No, I’ve been wanting to work with Adam for a long time, we just couldn’t find the right thing to do together, and I knew it was going to come. I did not expect it to be the lead in this, at all.
Kane and I had just done Fear Clinic (a television series), and we have been friends for a long time too. No one has given me the chance to do a lead in a movie.
KH: I just wanted to say one thing about the family atmosphere working on Adam’s movies. A lot of people talk about it, but I’ve been doing this for 33 years, and I’ve done over 100 movies, never have I felt that much like a family together.
Even on the first movie, the first day of shooting, everybody, the chemistry and everything. So, whenever it is talked about, I just hope that people realize that it really is family.
FC: I sense no ego in this room.
AG: That’s the key to being a good director, you realize that you are not actually the one making the movie, it’s all of these talented people who have come together and you just sort of have to keep the train moving in the right direction and steer it, but you need to give credit where credit is due.
KH: I think it takes a secure director, secure in their own talents and abilities, to be able to listen to other people. There are other guys that don’t, and they are terrible.
DH: A good horror director does it for the fans, because they are a fan.
Hatchet 2 is available on Time Warner and Comcast on demand in its original uncut version today.