Sunday, October 23, 2011

Phil's Horror Watch, Day 20: Phil watches the HATCHET double feature-October 20, 2011

My horror movie tribute to Halloween continues with Day Twenty! So as I've stated before oh so many times, modern horror films lack the gusto, the in-your-face scares, the immense buckets of blood and gore, the insane make-up and special effects that made the horror films of yesteryears so enjoyable to watch! However that all changed in 2008, when a small independent horror film caused so much hype that it marked the return of what has been dubbed "old school horror." So for tonight's viewing pleasure, I thought it would be great to treat myself to a HATCHET double feature! What's that you say? You've never heard of the films? Well then, sit back, relax, and let me tell you the legend of Victor Crowley...

Theatrical Movie Poster (2006)
The film HATCHET involves a group of tourists who take a midnight tour of the haunted New Orleans swamps of the local legend know as Victor Crowley. But when the the legend proves to be a reality, the group must do whatever it takes to stay alive.

This was writer/director Adam Green's first big commercial hit, and it ushered him as one of the new guns within the horror genre. Combining fun characters (Joel David Moore and Deon Richmond as best friends Ben and Marcus are hilarious while Tamera Feldman was simply amazing as the Crowley hunting Marybeth), a smart script, great production team, beautiful cinematography, clean directing style, and buckets of blood, boobs, and gore, the filmed herald the return to old school horror films. Relying on traditional special effects, latex rubber outfit, and no CGI in sight, the film also boasts the rise of a new slasher star as well as the return of horror film legend. Kane Hodder, known for portraying horror icon Jason Voorhees in FRIDAY THE 13TH VII-X, returned to the big screen with a vengeance with his portrayal the horribly deformed Victor Crowley. Tony Todd, who played the title role in the film CANDYMAN also has a bit cameo playing resident voodoo priest Reverend Zombie, but we would see more of his character again in the sequel.

The film was selected for countless film festivals, including the Hollywood Screamfest Horror Film Festival, the London Fight Night Film Festival, and Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival just to name a few. Upon the film's theatrical release, it was branded with the infamous NC-17 rating due to its extreme violence and gore. After some minor trimming to the film, it was finally released for its limited theatrical release. The film was released by Anchor Bay Entertainment on April 26, 2006, and was released on DVD in theatrical and uncut editions on September 7, 2007.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2010)
The sequel HATCHET II picks up exactly at the last few frames of the first film. Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) looks to finish off Marybeth (now portrayed by scream queen icon Danielle Harris, who took over the role from Tamera Feldman) but manages to escape her death. Upon returning to New Orleans, she meets with Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd once again) and learns the truth about her family’s connection to the hatchet-wielding madman. Marybeth then returns to the Louisiana swamps along with an army of hunters to recover the bodies of her family and exact sweet and bloody revenge against the infamous Bayou Butcher himself.

With the sequel, director Adam Green ups the kills, almost doubling it than the first film. The sets were built on a soundstage and looks incredible on film! When it looked like Green wasn't going to be able to bring back Feldman, Harris was brought in (which was Green's first choice to cast for the first HATCHET). As with all her roles, Harris is convincing, strong, and does an incredible job! Harris is most famous for her roles as Jamie Lloyd in HALLOWEEN 4-5 and as Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN 1-2. The fight to the death between Crowley and Zombie is awesome, with plenty of blood to go around. And the end scene with Marybeth and Victor, needless to say, I can't wait to see how HATCHET III will start!

As with the first film, the sequel played around the film festival circuit, before being released to theaters. And once again, Green faced the same problems with the MPAA ratings board. Fighting to keep his original vision intact, the film was released uncut, which has never happened before. The film played AMC Theaters as part of their AMC Independent program on October 1, 2010. The film was also released to theaters as well as Blu-Ray and DVD by Dark Sky Films. In March 2011,  the company already gave the green light for HATCHET III, however Green has turned over the directing duties to his cameraman from the first two films BJ McDonnell.

Both HATCHET I & II are amazing horror films that rank as the new horror classics of the new millennium.  Adam Green and his team have made horror film history by sticking to their guns, believing in themselves, and saying no to censorship from the MPAA (which have committed several censorship crimes against filmmakers and their art). This Halloween, take a trip down to the New Orleans bayou, and maybe, just maybe, Victor Crowley will greet you with open arms...and maybe a hatchet too.

HATCHET I & II are available on both Blu-Ray and DVD. Visit your local retailer to purchase you copies today or visit both and

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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