Starting Friday, Hollywood horror fans can enjoy HATCHET – an homage to ’80s slasher films – at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood. The film will be playing in approximately two dozen other cities around the country; Anchor Bay is basically using this limited, platform release of the R-rated version of the film as a way to drum u interested for the unrated version that will eventaully show up on DVD. Robert Englund and Tony Todd make cameo appearances. FX expert John Carl Beucler provided the copious carnage.
I have an interview with writer-director Adam Green, which I will be posting in its entirety at Cinefantastique Online. Meanwhile, here is a short excerpt, in which Green explains why he sought inspiration in a sub-genre that’s been out of fashion for over a decade:
I think horror goes in cycles, and every time somebody says something’s out, eventually somebody figures out a fresh way to do it and bring it back again. Even more so than the ‘80s movies that the formula definitely comes from for HATCHET, over the past decade we’ve lost the Boogey Man, and we don’t really have villains anymore. That’s what horror was really based on, even way, way back with Dracula and Frankenstein. My generation had Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers. Now everything is a remake, or it’s this contest of depravity, where each movie is just trying to out-sick and out-gross the next one in how far they can step over the line. When I got into this stuff, it wasn’t to see women being realistically raped and people being tortured. I don’t get off on that; it’s really not fun for me. I respect those films; they’re obviously accomplishing what they set out to do, but I think even general audiences have had it at this point. So my idea with this was just to go back to what made it fun in the first place. As much as the formula is an ‘80s slasher, the tone of this is extremely different from those. I always try to describe it as if John Landis made a slasher film back then. It’s very AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and not a lot of people pick up on that. It’s so easy to gravitate to the FRIDAY THE 13TH thing because Kane [Hodder]’s in it and because Buechler’s doing the effects and it’s a monster in the woods killing people. Some of the reviews I’ve read say, ‘This movie is a rip-off of FRIDAY THE 13TH. It’s nothing but teens doing drugs, having sex, and getting killed one by one.’ There’s no teens in the movie. They don’t have sex. There’s no drugs. And they get killed in twos! But the whole beginning is so inspired by AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. If you watch the two back to back, it’s like the same shots. That was really my inspiration for this. To me, that was the first film that used comedy and still had a scary movie. A lot of times when you start putting comedy in a horror movie, the comedy leaks into the villain, and then the villain’s not scary anymore, and the violence isn’t scary any more, and you sort of lose your audience.
It’s so pathetic to say, but all I did was make the movie that I wanted to see and that my friends wanted to see. That’s why the [behind the scenes] story of HATCHET is so great, because when my agent first sent the script out, it got rejected by everybody. One of the first rejections from a major studio said, ‘The writing is brilliant, but this film will never get made because it’s not a remake; it’s not a sequel; and it’s not based on a Japanese one.’ I actually turned that into the tag-line for the poster on the festival tour, because that’s so funny. That is what they think right now. Once again, this weekend, HALLOWEEN’s already made $10-million yesterday; now they’re going to make 50 more remakes of everything. The fans get online afterwards and say how much it sucked and why do they keep making remakes, but the fans keep paying to see it – that’s the problem. But we made the movie we wanted to see. It’s not what they’re doing today. It’s not current, but it’s working because the audience is really responding to it. It’s winning awards; the reviews have been great. I’ve got to admit – I’m lucking out with the reviews, because if I had made this five years ago or five years later, it might not have been treated the same way, but a lot of the critics are my age, and they remember this stuff fondly and they’re happy to see it again. So I feel like I’m striking a chord with today’s generation of critics. Ten years from now, it’s going to be critics who like URBAN LEGEND and VALENTINE and stuff like that.