Adam Green on Hatchet Unrated, the Horror Genre & Why He Doesn’t Believe His Own Hype

By Heather Wixson

Success stories like Adam Green and Hatchet are hard to come by these days in Hollywood.  After a successful limited release, Green is offering independent horror fans a little more blood and splatter in the unrated version of Hatchet, set to be released on DVD December 18th. 

The version of Hatchet being released on DVD is Green’s original version of the film before the ratings board had its say over it.  The death scenes are more gory and fun, and according to Green, this film was his love letter to the 80s slasher films he grew up on.

“My older brother took me to see Friday the 13th Part 2 and I thought that was the coolest thing as a kid,” said Green during my recent sit-down with the young director. “Slasher movies just weren’t scary anymore and I wanted to make a movie that didn’t necessarily improve on the films of the 80s, but served as homage to them.”

The story of Victor Crowley, better known in the film as Hatchetface, was one that Green learned as a kid during summer camp.  For Green though, the counselors’ story wasn’t scary enough, so he doctored it up and freaked enough kids out at camp to warrant a call to his parents.  From there, the legend of Victor Crowley was born and took a long time to finally reach the theaters.

“There’s been such a lack of really scary monsters in movies these days that I thought that the idea of bringing in a new killer was important,” explained Green.  And Victor Crowley couldn’t have come along at a better time either- in the recent trends of torture porn, Japanese remakes as well as remakes of beloved classic horror films; Hatchet was a breath of fresh air into a slowly stagnating film genre when it originally came to theaters in September.

But it wasn’t easy for Green to get his vision onto the big screen.

“I had to create a mock trailer for Hatchet for literally $4 and it consisted of a young girl talking over some swamp footage about the story of Victor Crowley,” said Green. “I made it to show investors but what I didn’t expect was the insane amount of internet support my mock trailer generated, especially with the help of Dread Central.”

Once Green got investors involved in May 2005, he had to film Hatchet under ridiculously hard conditions in 14 days.  The result though was a witty, fun, slasher pic hoping to rejuvenate a dying part of the horror genre.

Hatchet was picked up by Anchor Bay Entertainment, which has been a recent champion of horror releases, and even though Green would have preferred a smaller release than the 78 screens that Anchor Bay rolled out for the release in September, Green was extremely happy with how the movie performed.

“Anchor Bay is a great company to get involved with- they really have the spirit of independent horror in mind,” said Green. “Even though some of the cities didn’t perform the way we had hoped, we were incredibly excited by the results of Hatchet in cities like Austin or Los Angeles, where the film had a $14,500 per screen average.”

“Without a real marketing budget, we owe so much of the success to the fans,” Green added. “We had such an amazing internet campaign and buzz for the movie that I couldn’t be happier in how the fans responded.”

Now that Hatchet is set for its DVD release, Green already has a story in mind for a sequel. “I don’t know if I will necessarily be the one directing the project, but I know that I do want to stay involved and I know the direction I want the sequel to take,” discussed Green. “I do hope that if the sequel does happen that I want to make sure everyone involved with the original gets to work on it since they basically worked on Hatchet for next to nothing.  I want to make sure they are taken care of since they put so much into the first one.”

Green is definitely keeping himself busy these days too.  The thriller Spiral, his co-directing project with Joel David Moore, is set for a limited release in January and his stop-animation project entitled Winter Tales with American Eagle Outfitters recently was released online.  Winter Tales is a new spin on the Rankin-Bass-type animation holiday specials that most of us grew up on and feature performances by Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy), Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights), Lil’ Jon (Crunkmaster extraordinaire), and Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars).  To see the online episodes, click here

Green is also working on a horror pilot for MTV right now called currently called You’re So Dead (“It involves cheerleaders and horror so it’s going to be fun,” gushed Green) and it’s the most expensive pilot green lit by MTV.  He’s also currently waiting to see when he will be able to start work on the long-rumored Dead West project based on the graphic novel by Rick Spears.

When it comes to the horror genre as a whole, Green has a very welcoming spirit.

“I am a believer that karma is a bitch,” Green explained. “A lot of guys out there are so willing to trash other people’s work but what they fail to realize is that anytime a horror movie does well, it’s a victory for the genre and you shouldn’t trash the guys who make it.  One thing I have learned is that you never want to believe your own hype.”

The unrated version of Hatchet will hit the shelves on December 18th, just in time for Christmas.  For more information on Hatchet, visit the official website here.

To pre-order your copy of Hatchet with a discount, click here.