Adam Green’s 2006 film Hatchet was a much-needed breath of fresh air...
...At the time all that seemed to be going on in the scene was torture porn or just plain angry flicks. It seemed gone were the days of carefree, over the top, fun (albeit super gory) flicks. A renaissance was required and Hatchet fit the bill, and then some. It introduced the world to Victor Crowley (Played by horror icon Kane Hodder) and had a cast of supporting actors from the world of horror that raised many of us. Ever wanted to see Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) as a hick in Louisiana, or Candyman (Tony Todd) as a shop owner who runs a business where he does haunted boat ride tours? That’s just the beginning of what this film has to offer since it included another Icon in horror director, Tom Holland, in a role you won’t forget. Green has the habit of using actors and horror personalities we know and love and placing them in unexpected roles. Ten years later and Hatchet II is just as glorious and downright gory of a fun time. Green is firmly a fan who also treats and respects his fans with the utmost respect. It’s refreshing to see his films continue to find audiences and without Hatchet II who knows where his career would be.
In 2010 Green and company returned to the haunted swamp and deeper into the lore of Victor Crowley. Out of the four films, this in my opinion is the best. The character of MaryBeth Dunston, the only survivor of the first Hatchet film, was recast as Danielle Harris, and although the original actor (Tamara Feldman) did a great job, lining up another Horror legend in the lead role helped move the needle even farther. Green, with his cast and crew in place, took us back to the chilling swamp and picked the story back up right where it left off.
This works incredibly well, without any knowledge of the four years that, in reality, transpired between the first and second Hatchet. Honestly, if you were to watch this film right after the first, you would easily believe it was the very next day. This was probably made easier by the fact that Victor Crowley had wiped out most of the cast. The gore factor and kills are even more fun this time around. The best part of this series is that it is in every way a love letter to horror fans and one that never takes itself too seriously. It is such a pleasure to see so many inside references to the horror world in this magical place. Like any good tale, an origin must be given and Hatchet II delivers on this as we find out more of what and who Victory Crowley is and his motivation for haunting and destroying everything in his path. I love it when films take the time to dive into the backstory of the villain, as this does captivatingly from beginning to end.
The Hatchet series excels because it’s a throwback to the slasher films of the 80s and the use of practical effects is so inspiring to any filmmaker, you would be hard pressed to find work as a good as Victor Crowley’s makeup. To have a living legend in Kane Hodder bringing him to the screen makes it a blast to see film after film of his massacre. This series has you rooting for the grooviest kill as you laugh along sometimes at, sometimes with the characters that populate the world of the Hatchet universe.
Hatchet II in my opinion is the strongest of the four films that make up the series and is worth revisiting this Halloween season, but truthfully you should watch all of four of the films, and get to know the world that Adam Green has created as a loving homage to the genre, but also as a filmmaker who has created a world that is fully realized and a lot of fun. He’s also known to watch the films in marathons and other social media events like live-tweeting and virtual celebrations of Hatchet II’s tenth anniversary. So, there will be ample ways for you to watch and enjoy Hatchet II and to see Victor Crowley exact his revenge.
To learn more of what Adam Green is doing, or where you can pick up a signed copy of Hatchet II go to Ariescope.com.
Long live Victor Crowley.
By Justin Drabek
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