Is There Really a Hype Machine for Hatchet?

Posted by Peter Hall - August 13th 2007 @ 7:42 pm
Hatchet Poster

Scott Weinberg, horror regular of Cinematical and contributor to God knows how many other sites, has upped a lengthy chat with Hatchet director Adam Green regarding the current trends of horror and the long awaited September 7th theatrical push of the aforementioned slasher throwback by none other than champions Anchor Bay.  Reading through it, I couldn’t help but chuckle over the vast difference between Green and Eli Roth and the fact that, unless I’m missing something, Hatchet isn’t nearly as anticipated as Green seems to think.

Remember when Roth wrote on his MySpace page begging people to go see Hostel II during its second weekend?  The man may not have been down on both knees, but the desperation was palpable.  He addressed horror fans directly, well, the ones who read MySpace at least, and pleaded they go see his film.

Green, on the other hand, talks about the merits of his film with such brooding confidence that one can’t help but want to see it.  After reading the interview, bank on seeing it opening day, but that was a logical course of action for me, someone who watches all these flicks regardless, before ever reading anything Green had to say about Hatchet.  I gave the flick shit for its poster way back when – I still don’t have any love for the tag line – but other than that, I really haven’t been hearing any ‘buzz’ surrounding Hatchet.

Sure, there were news bits here and there about its battle with the MPAA over an NC-17, but other than that no electric air has yet to tingle this skin.  So, really just how accurate is this quote from Green:

"Everyone in Hollywood is watching Hatchet to see what it does. The suits are all floored that this little movie actually has NO real marketing dollars behind it — yet everyone knows about it. They’re all scratching their heads and trying to figure out how we have so much buzz- with no money to buy that buzz.
They’ll be in their Monday morning meetings looking at their slate of 10 million dollar PG-13 remakes and 30 million dollar marketing campaigns and saying "oh sh*t." They’ve declared R-rated original horror dead. Maybe we’ll show them differently?"

Really?  My apologies if I am completely wrong on this front, but is Hatchet really being talked about by anyone more than enthusiasts?  Is its success really more of a crucial release than Halloween?  And a week later, no less?  Are any suits other than those who bank rolled the film worried about its release?  I’m doubtful.

But, this is how the hype machine works, no?  Like flecks of fish food in a 30 gallon tank, insignificant posts like this dedicated to small time movies crop up across the intertubes and all of a sudden there is the appearance of some kind of feeding frenzy; an impression of hype.  I’m sorry, but Hatchet is no Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang that everyone was openly falling in love with despite the fact that so few could even see it theatrically.  It’s not even an AICN step-child like Cabin Fever was.

I want Hatchet to succeed.  I wager it’ll be worth my money, but I am downright allergic to the idea that Hollywood is on the edge of their seats waiting to see the mid-day numbers roll in.  Eyes will be glued to Rob Zombie’s numbers for the week prior and they’ll be crunching the percentage drop the week of Hatchet’s release, but unless I am completely oblivious to popular opinion, I don’t think anyone but a fistful of suits (and Adam Green) are expecting anything but a child’s handful of numbers to come back from the thimbleful of fans who even know what Hatchet is.

But what do I know, I suck the heads off fish!

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  1. August 14th, 2007 | 7:02 am | #1

    What the fuck is Hatchet?

  2. August 14th, 2007 | 7:10 am | #2

    Case and point.

  3. August 14th, 2007 | 1:28 pm | #3

    Oh, oh yeah.

    “It’s not based on a Japanese one.”

    I remember mocking that poster now.

  4. Karen Taylor
    August 14th, 2007 | 11:45 pm | #4

    Top 10 films of the year on Aint It Cool. Top 10 films of the year for MTV. 2 best picture awards. Way better reviews than Cabin Fever ever got. Small underdog release opining on limited theaters with no marketing behind it? I think it’s got more riding for it than you want to give it credit for. Bitter, bitter. I’m seeing it for sure.

  5. August 15th, 2007 | 5:40 am | #5

    I’m perfectly eager to give it credit and will definitely be buying two tickets opening day. I’m confident it is going to be good movie, but I still don’t see where the actual hype is at.

    For example, John above, who I know reads movie sites on an exponentially more frequent basis than even most theater goers, didn’t even remember what it was.

  6. Buzz
    August 15th, 2007 | 11:48 am | #6

    If you look at any of the horror websites they all have stories and banners for Hatchet on them. I’ve been hearing about this movie since Tribeca last year (which I sadly missed). A lot of my friends caught it there and loved it. Nothing insanely new- just a revamped, better made slasher film from what everyone says. For what it’s worth, they’re all planning on going again when it opens- so it must be decent.

  7. August 15th, 2007 | 1:26 pm | #7

    Again, I’m not doubting it is going to be a good movie. I just doubt that, as far as box office business is concerned, anyone outside Anchor Bay and the Hatchet crew itself have its success or failure on the mind.

    This is Serenity all over again, but on an even smaller scale and without nearly as large a fan base. Great reviews from a variety of places, people like us know all about it and will be there opening day, but I don’t think anyone outside of fans and the type of person who actually knows what Tribeca is knows that a movie called Hatchet even exists on planet earth.

    I’m not hypothesizing it is going to tank at the box office or that it is going to be a Greek Wedding hit, I have seen zero evidence to indicate that,

    “Everyone in Hollywood is watching Hatchet to see what it does. The suits are all floored that this little movie actually has NO real marketing dollars behind it — yet everyone knows about it. They’re all scratching their heads and trying to figure out how we have so much buzz- with no money to buy that buzz.”

    It’s not buzz if it is only audible to one lunch table in the cafeteria. They’ve got another few weeks to justify that kind of talk – and I wouldn’t put it past some last minute marketing tactics to push it over the edge – but as of yet, I don’t think it is real.

  8. rach
    August 15th, 2007 | 11:24 pm | #8

    I went to fangoria in Burbank this summer and there were more people in the Hatchet panel than Hostel 2 or Halloween. Every horror fan I know is talking about this movie and even my Dad asked me if I had heard about it. (Apparently there are TV spots running now in NY.) With the way the current torture/remake trends are falling flat- I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of eyes on Hatchet in Hollywood. However, despite it being Harry Knowles favorite film and winning awards- does it really matter when you have Anchor Bay at the helm? This movie is going to start out so small that it will never even have a chance to make a difference box office wise. Not to be a downer on it at all. I cheered my little pretty head off at the panel at Fango and Adam green has to be one of the nicest, sweetest guys I’ve ever met. I only hope a miracle happens for this film – cause Anchor Bay does not know how to properly release a movie. Behind The Mask anyone? regardless, I will be at Hatchet at least once opening weekend and I hope people support it. Even if it’s not as good as everyone says it is- Green is so sweet I’m gonna see it twice. Please don’t compare him to Eli. That’s so insulting.

  9. lyle 90
    August 15th, 2007 | 11:59 pm | #9

    Seen it at Fantasia. Absolutely loved it. But must agree with “rach” that with Anchor Bay at the helm this thing will start on 20 screens tops and doesn’t have a chance. Cabin Fever had 15-20 million in marketing and started on thousands of screens- that’s why it did so well at the box office as an indie. If Hatchet had that it would kill Cabin Fever’s records- but it’s not gonna have the same chance. Oh well, quicker to DVD for me.

    Oh- and from the montreal Q&A- the festival poster’s tagline “not a remake, not a sequel..” was lifted off an actual rejection letter from the script. A studio person wrote that as the reason why the movie would not get made in today’s market. I actually think that’s brilliant- to make your rejection your slogan. But if you’ve seen the actual movie poster now it’s got Harry Knowles quote on it now- not that. Too bad.

  10. August 16th, 2007 | 2:33 pm | #10

    Well damn, maybe I am underestimating the buzz surrounding Hatchet if a 3rd of the commentators on this post alone have already seen it and are surely giving it good mouth…

    Lyle 90, as for the tag line, thanks for pointing that out as I had no clue. That does make me love its usage, but without that knowledge it just sounds awkward.

  11. lyle 90
    August 16th, 2007 | 2:59 pm | #11

    No prob. But I do still agree that no matter how good this movie is it doesn’t stand a fighting chance with Anchor Bay putting it out. If it had been with Lionsgate it could have killed like Cabin Fever did. I’m just glad I saw it when I did because I bet you no one else is even gonna know where it’s playing- if it’s playing near them. So you’re right on about the buzz not mattering.

    By the way- found this site by doing a google search for Hatchet. Cool site! Love the primevil review.

  12. August 16th, 2007 | 3:16 pm | #12

    Thanks, always glad to have a new reader (and how they got here).

  13. sean
    October 20th, 2007 | 8:29 am | #13

    Wow, is this a joke movie? I’m being serious, because I can’t decide if it was terrible, or funny.

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