A little over a week ago at Fantastic Fest I did an impromptu interview with Adam Green, Danielle Harris and Kane Hodder about HATCHET 2. No one had any idea of the controversy that would soon befall their little film, so if you’re expecting any revelations as to why exactly AMC pulled the film from their theaters during its opening weekend, you won’t find it here. (But you will find it at Cinematical.) What you will find below is an off-the-cuff chat with three very cool horror fans.
HND: If anything, what do you think is wrong with horror movies today?
Adam Green: I don’t think there’s necessarily ever anything wrong with horror. I think there’s room for everything. But for me personally, something that’s wrong with mainstream horror, the studio side of things, is that we’ve gotten to a place where the only movies that perform on the box office side of things are, for the most part, remakes. There is an exception here or there, but the originals, not so much. It’s almost gotten impossible for an original genre movie to get made by a big studio.
So as soon as you realize you’re doing a movie independently, your chance of a studio supported release on thousands of screens and a multi-million dollar and campaign are gone before you start. You know it’s not going to happen, which is why some of the best stuff comes from independents, especially horror. Because people are doing it because they love it and not just for the money.
For my tastes, I’m a little over the direness and the torture and the rape. Especially the festivals this year, London and now here –
HND: It’s a very nihilistic slate here this year.
Green: It is! And all I’m trying to do with these HATCHET movies is poke people and make them smile and go, “Oh, yeah, that’s right, there was a reason I got into this and liked it.” And people love villains and fun characters and elaborate set pieces and practical special effects and not CGI. I’m not doing anything new. So many people try to give me credit for reinventing, but I’m not reinventing anything. I’m just doing it my way.
But still, horror is alive and that’s a good thing. I just wish the fans would support the original stuff a little bit.
[At this point Kane Hodder enters the room and Adam repeats the question for him.]
Kane Hodder: What’s wrong…
Danielle Harris: 3-D has to stop. Once someone makes a good movie. Actually, I take that back. Once someone makes a movie that does well, everybody has to copy it. It’s just retarded and I’m so over it.
Hodder: I personally don’t even care for 3-D all that much, anyway.
Harris: Me neither, I can’t watch it all the time.
Green: I loved AVATAR…
Harris: Well AVATAR is fabulous.
Green: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON…
Harris: Animation is good. You feel like you’re a kid again, but… I just did a 3-D movie, but it was an animated movie and it was in the genre, so how cool is that.
Hodder: What was that?
Harris: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: ORIGINS. I played Barbara. It was weird.
Hodder: So it’s a voice over?
Harris: Yeah. She’ll look like me too, but she’ll be blonde.
Green: So she won’t look anything like you. She’ll be tall and blonde, but…
Harris: It’ll be my mannerisms, but she’ll look a little different.
HND: What about you, Kane? Any opinions on what’s wrong with the genre today?
Hodder: No, not really…
HND: Fair enough.
Harris: We kind of see everything and see it as being separate. I don’t think it should all be in the same group anymore, you know?
Green: Even things I normally wouldn’t appreciate, I’m liking more. I saw the I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE remake in London – and I’m not a rape person at all, I normally just shut it off and don’t like watching that stuff – but watching that with an audience and the pay-off at the end with the elaborate kills, I can definitely appreciate that they did a really good job with that movie.
So it’s hard to say what’s wrong, because there is a place for all of it, I would just like to see a little more variety and a little bit more fun. Or just plain old scary again. It’s kind of hard to scary now, though, since everything has been done, but we’re seeing people can do it. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, those of us who were lucky enough to see it before the hype and everything, it was extremely effective. Yeah, it’s kind of like BLAIR WITCH, but it doesn’t matter.
Harris: People have to stop trying to do so much with these movies. You don’t have to do so much. Go back to keeping it simple and that’s even scarier.
Green: I haven’t seen INSIDIOUS yet but I’m hearing great stuff.
HND: Weinberg loved the hell out of it.
Green: Yeah, he was saying it’s genuinely frightening with its POULTERGEIST type stuff. And I think James Wan is a fantastic director, so I’m really excited to see that. But yeah, scary and fun again would be nice.
HND: This is kind of a bizarre question, but it just popped into my head since I watched it the other day. Have you seen the NIGHT OF THE DEMONS remake?
HND: Is that Victor Crowley on the stairs?
Green: [With a very wide smile] Yes, that is Victor Crowley on the steps.
Hodder: [Surprised] What?
Green: There’s a Halloween party and there’s somebody wearing a Victor Crowley Halloween mask.
HND: Yeah, I had to rewind it because I was wondering if it was Kane, but it’s definitely not his body type.
Green: Yeah, it’s like a little guy with Victor Crowley’s Halloween mask.
Hodder: Really? I didn’t know that. That’s cool!
HND: Did you know they were going to do that?
Green: I did. They called and asked since the masks weren’t for sale yet, but we had a prototype. They called saying, “Look, we’re shooting in a week and we really want to put Victor Crowley’s mask in it.”
So we sent it, they shot it, and they put it right back in the box. That one is still the one I have.
Hodder: [Sounding a little offended] So there’s someone else who played Victor Crowley?
Green: [Laughs] No, they’re just in mask. They’re dressed like me, I think.
Hodder: The most fun I see now is the Halloween costume I saw last year: The Adam Green.
Green: Oh, yeah, that’s true.
Hodder: There are guys who go to Halloween parties as him!
HND: And what’s that costume look like?
Green: Unshaven, concert shirt, baseball hat backwards and holding like the hatchet or whatever.
Hodder: I’m not kidding.
Green: No, really. We see pictures of it sometimes. It’s kind of funny.
Harris: That’s what I’m going to be for Halloween.
Hodder: It’s flattering. I’ve never seen a Kane Hodder costume, so I think that’s pretty cool.
HND: Well are the Victor Crowley masks on sale yet?
Green: Yeah, we actually just sold out a few weeks ago. I don’t know when they’re doing another run. I don’t have much to do with that side of things, but I think the plan now is to ship it overseas and start making them a little more affordable because they’re actually made from the mold of his face. So the masks people have been able to buy are hand made, hand painted, hair punched, and you can either get the mask or the mask with the shoulders and the whole spine and everything.
And that’s like $265 to get it, but they’re not even making much money off of it that. That’s about what it costs to do it, so we’re going to try to send them overseas and get mass produced ones that are only like $60 that people can afford. But for collectors, that’s the one to get.
There’s a new Victor Crowley bust that’s coming out, too. You look so fucking cool. You look like a He-Man action figure holding the hatchet. Robert showed me the prototype for it.
Hodder: Did he do it?
Green: Josh did it. Remember the young kid on HATCHET 2 who was helping out? He just did it on his own.
Hodder: The guy I terrorized?
HND: I think there’s probably a lot of people that you’ve terrorized.
Hodder: There’s quite a list, but he in particular was always around while I was in the make-up chair and cranky.
HND: Well then, are there any crazy stories from the HATCHET 2 set of you terrorizing people?
Hodder: This time around our schedule was very demanding. There wasn’t enough time to fuck around as I had in the first movie, but I still managed to do a couple things. R.A. Mihailoff, the guy I have the big fight scene with, I tried to scare him twice within the studio and both times I broke a door doing it.
Green: [Laughs] He had to pay to fix the doors!
Hodder: I did! I had to fucking pull money out of my pocket.
Green: [Laughs] And the guy who managed the stage looked like Lando Calrissian!
Hodder: He said you can’t do that. What I did was kick the door trying to scare R.A., but I kicked a hole in it. And I said, “You can’t just patch that?” and he said, “Nah, I’ll have to replace the whole door for $125.”
So I said okay and gave him $125 and then I fucking smashed holes in it just so he wasn’t going to patch it and then keep my money. I made sure. I said, “You’re replacing this door?” he said, “Yes,” and I went Bam! Pow! Pow! And this whole thing was full of holes and said, “Now you really are replacing it.”
HND: So after HATCHET’s immediate talk of sequels, the production eventually shifted from Anchor Bay to Dark Sky, right? Or is Dark Sky just handling distribution?
Green: The interesting thing about HATCHET 1 was that we made it independently and then made a deal with Anchor Bay to distribute the film, but we still controlled the rights. So over the three years, when I wasn’t ready to do it yet, a lot of places sort of came knocking and saying, “We know this franchise is up in the air and we know you can go to a lot of places, but here’s why you should go with us,” and they’d lay out their plans.
I was able, and my producers especially, were able to sniff out who had the right intentions. Because some people would be like, “The first one is a huge hit, it’s a best-selling DVD and has a great following, but how do we broaden this out a little bit? How do we make it accessible to people who maybe aren’t die hard slasher fans? Maybe we scale back on the violence a little bit…” And we’d be like, “You don’t get it, that’s not what this is.”
But when Dark Sky came to us, they were real horror fans. And they were excited by the fact that I wanted to make a movie that catered to the first one. So if you didn’t like the first one, we don’t care. We’re not out to try to win you over, we’re out to please our fans. And a lot of people claim that, but they don’t really do that. With this movie it’s so obvious how little we care about any of the negative criticism for it because now we’re just celebrating what we did even more. The same crew came back; this is truly a labor of love.
Coming off of FROZEN, a lot of people said that was a mistake and to not do HATCHET 2 because I’m now up here in the mainstream. But I love it! And if anyone can’t see that this is all in good fun then they came in with some negativity toward it. We do this because we love it.
HND: Well I guess I’ll just end with the obligatory what’s next for everyone?
Harris: A vacation. I just did a movie with my friend Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc called THE VICTIM. My girlfriend produced it, so I’m still just working with friends. And I had another girlfriend of mine who is in the AFI women’s directing program, which I’m actually pitching myself for. I’d like to go do that as well, to go to AFI and see what I can learn. I want to direct and write stuff for myself, plus there’s other stuff in the works of course, so we’ll see.
Hodder: A few things I’m negotiating and things like that, but I’m also writing a book. I’m finally writing the whole story of my ridiculous life, so I’m concentrating on releasing it on May 13th,a Friday the 13th of May, which is kind of interesting because my first Jason movie came out on the Friday the 13th of May also.
Green: I just finished production on a movie called CHILLARAMA, which is like an anthology movie I’m doing with Adam Rifkin, Joe Lynch and Tim Sullivan. My segment is called THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTEIN.
Hodder: I forgot we can talk about that now, I’m so used to keeping it secret.
Green: Yeah, we kept it quiet until a few weeks ago in London, where we announced it and showed THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANKENSTEIN in its entirety because we wanted to really take people by surprise. It’s a black and white, 1940s movie, all in German with subtitles. Kane is in that, Joel David Moore plays Adolf Hitler. It’s very funny.
And then I’m writing KILLER PIZZA.
HND: Good, I was going to ask about KILLER PIZZA specifically. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since first reading about it.
Green: Yeah, it’s very MONSTER SQUAD, very GOONIES type of tone. I can’t say too much yet because I’m really just getting started writing it, but it’s really an honor to be asked to write something like that by the guy who is the best at it. Normally as a writer the worst part is when you finish a draft and you’re really happy with it and you have to give it to people who aren’t writers who start giving you notes and opinions…
I’m very good at knowing to not take it personally and to just go and process it, but knowing that Chris Columbus is going to give me notes… I can’t wait! I hope he has a note for every line in that thing because I’m going to learn a lot.