Writer-director Adam Green sharpens the axe once more for the fourth film in the popular Hatchet slasher franchise, Victor Crowley.
Adam Green’s Hatchet trilogy was a gleefully gory throwback to the ‘80s slasher film cycle, featuring a monstrously deformed killer named Victor Crowley (played by Jason Voorhees actor Kane Hodder), an atmospheric Louisiana swamp setting, buckets of blood, and gristly practical make-up effects. Needless to say it attracted a devoted following among horror fans nostalgic for the good old days.
The release of Hatchet III in 2013 saw Green close the book on Victor Crowley. But following a turbulent year in which the filmmaker was beset by a number of personal tragedies, a pep talk from the great George Romero not only helped Green recover, but also revived the franchise.
“I was at a convention in Boston and George asked if I would moderate his panel, and of course I was honoured,” he tells STACK. “At the end of the panel he got this big standing ovation and he looked at me and said, ‘Do you see this?’ And I said, ‘Yes, congratulations.’ Then he said, ‘No, look at all the Hatchet shirts [in the crowd]. I know you’re going through a rough patch but you’ve got to get back on your feet and do what people love you for.’
“Hearing that from George of all people – he’s not just the godfather of zombies but of independent film – really put me back on the right track, I guess. So when I got back from the convention, I started writing Victor Crowley. And I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ These movies are so hard to make.”
Green’s producers were less than thrilled with reviving the Hatchet killer for a fourth round. “They said, ‘No, we can’t do it again.’ This time there’s a plane crash that’s going to be done in one take. It was so ambitious. I think Kane Hodder was the only one who was legitimately excited to be doing it again. Everyone else got there, but in the beginning they were so mad at me. But it all worked out for the best.”
Production on Victor Crowley was cloaked in secrecy so as to maintain the element of surprise for fans.
“Nobody knew it was being made, which was so hard,” says Green, adding that the cast and crew were shown fan mail from soldiers, burn victims and sick kids to ensure their silence. “I said, ‘This is who we’re doing it for, so if you shoot your mouth off, this is who you’re taking the surprise away from. And nobody said anything.”
Green finally broke the news to a crowd of Hatchet devotees during a 10th anniversary screening of the original film in Hollywood. “When I revealed that we’d made a new movie, the energy in that room was just incredible.”
With Victor Crowley’s return a resounding hit with fans, the fourth film may not be the last we’ll see of the hulking killer. Green confirms that it’s not so much a case of if he will be back, but when.
“We’ve always taken about two or three years in between each one, and I think that’s important. To go and do other stuff and then come back to this when we really, really want to do it. That’s how you stay in love with it. If we started churning them out every year or two years it would start to feel like a conveyer belt, and I don’t think the movies would be as strong.”