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Posted October 1, 2017 by Jeff in Flicks
 
 

Victor Crowley Haunts Us Once Again

Victor Crowley
Victor Crowley

Set a decade after the events of the Hatchet series’ first three films, Victor Crowley centers on Andrew Yong (Parry Shen), the lone survivor of a 2007 incident in which 49 people were torn to pieces in Louisiana’s Honey Island Swamp. Young claims that Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) was responsible for the massacre. When Crowley is mistakenly resurrected, Andrew must face the man. In a recent phone call from his Los Angeles home, writer-director Adam Green, who was dealing with the “general craziness” that precedes his fall tour with the movie, talks about making the sequel.

You studied filmmaking in college but when did your interest in horror begin? Was it when you were a kid?
It was definitely as a child. I think because I loved the holiday of Halloween so much. Through horror movies, you got to have Halloween year-round. I loved the monsters and the effects. They were the most fun movies to watch. They were the best form of escape.

Did you have a favorite director?
I think, like most people, Steven Spielberg is my lord and savior. As far as horror goes, John Carpenter and Wes Craven and, in later years, Guillermo del Toro. Carpenter is the true master of horror. It’s funny that when the original Hatchet came out, the quote they put on the cover of the Blu-ray is “It’s the Holy Grail of slasher films.” I was so offended by that because Halloween is the Holy Grail of slasher films.

What inspired the first Hatchet film?
I was at summer camp when I was eight years old. It was the only summer that I ever went to camp. I thought it would be like what I saw in Meatballs. I thought it would be crazy fun and maybe touching boobs or something. Instead, it was a lot of cleaning and scrubbing toilets. I found out later that the camp was Camp Avoda. When I was doing a Q&A for Hatchet, someone in the audience asked me if I spoke Hebrew. I said, “No, I don’t.” They said, “Well, ‘avoda’ means work.” They literally sent me to Camp Work. On the first night when they were showing us around, the counselors there told us to stay away from this one cabin or Hatchet Face would get us. It was really just the cabin where they drank and partied. That was all they had to the story. They didn’t know who Hatchet Face was. There was no mythology. That night as we were falling asleep, the other kids asked if Hatchet Face would get us. I made up this story about his house catching fire and his dad trying to save him. I was eight when I came up with Victor Crowley. It didn’t change much over the years. It was also my answer to what was happening to the genre at the time. If you remember, the studios were only interested in found footage or torture porn. I think there’s a place for all of it, and Saw and Hostel get unjustly lumped in with that. I didn’t get into this to watch people suffer or to punish an audience and watch women get raped or animals get hurt. That’s not fun at all. I wrote what I wanted to see again. When the script went out, it was the most out-of-style thing and everyone passed. The most notable pass was from a studio that wrote, “While we enjoyed the writing, this movie will never be made because it’s not a remake or a sequel or based on a Japanese film.” That’s what I put into the tagline on the original poster when we did festivals. It caught a wave. Thankfully there were a few million people world-wide who missed having a villain and special effects and laughing. One thing I noticed is that as much as Victor Crowley is now the hero to the fans—they cheer and clap when he kills someone—they’re also happy to see the villain lose.

It’s fun to watch how much they’ll cheer and root for him, but they’re just as excited to see him go.

You finished it when you worked at the Rainbow in L.A.?
I was starving for my first three years. I could play metal all night in the DJ booth and eat the leftover food. It kept me alive. It’s not hard to be a DJ at the Rainbow. You throw on Motley Crue’s greatest hits and everyone is happy. I would sit in that booth and keep writing. They now have a Hatchet poster hanging there. The Rainbow is great. It’s the original Hard Rock Café. That’s where they got the idea. Everything hanging on the walls is not only authentic but it was personally handed to them by the bands. The history in there is just incredible. Slash and Ozzy and Robert Plant still have their own tables. If they come in, whoever is sitting there gets moved. The Hatchet poster is in the hallway you walk through to get to the patio.

You started to work on Victor Crowley in secret in 2015. What was it like keeping it a secret?
It’s incredibly hard to make any movie. When you’re trying to do everything in code, it’s even harder. There are things you don’t think of. It’s not too hard to post pictures or say anything. Dealing with SAG, you have to say the name of it. You never know who will slip. We did have a big slip early on. An assistant working at the accounting company got on Twitter and said she could confirm we were making the movie because she worked at the company handling the payroll. We got it taken down fast. As far as the cast and crew goes, it has to be personal. I’ve been working with the same crew for 19 years now. For everybody else, I would take ten minutes to explain to them what we were doing and why. I would show them fan letters to get them to understand how much it means to them so they really got it. It’s not a stunt. It’s about giving them a surprise and making them happy. I think that meant something to everyone, and nobody slipped.

What can you say about the plot?
As far as the inspiration goes, it was only supposed to be three movies that stop and start where the other one ends. There’s a three-act structure to it. I was done with it in 2013 when Hatchet III came out. I was very down on it, and that’s nothing new. If you were to ask George Romero or Wes Craven, they all created these things that became very big. But they never got anything for it. I was getting disenchanted with every convention I would do. I would see the comic books and Halloween masks and wonder how I have never gotten a dime. I was starting to hate it. And then I went through this horribly dark period of my life. One of my best friends overdosed on heroin and died and none of us even knew was using. There was a divorce and the network that my TV show was on went under. Right at the end of that, Wes Craven died. When he died, everyone started calling each other. The common feeling among my generation was that we haven’t done anything that mattered. We couldn’t compare to the guys we idolized. Two months after that, I was asked to moderate a panel with George Romero. George had personally asked me to do it. I had known him for 10 years, but it doesn’t take away the reverence you have for someone like that. That he was discussing filmmaking with me as a peer and not a host or fan really struck me. At the end of the panel he put his arm around me and told me he knew I was going through a tough time. He said I have to be crazy if I don’t see that Hatchet is that thing. He said I couldn’t let the fact that I didn’t get anything from it stop me. He told me I had to keep doing it. The original storyline of the first three movies was wrapped up and even though this is a sequel, it’s ten years after those events and it is new characters and a whole new thing. That made me love it again.

Kane Hodder is back as Victor. What does he bring to the role?
It’s great. He’s been involved in every single thing I’ve ever done. If he’s not acting, he’s stunt coordinating. He’s always there. As long as I’m in charge, I hope no other actor plays Victor Crowley. I think it’s a shame they replaced him for Freddy vs. Jason.  We wanted Robert Englund and Kane Hodder. No offense to Ken Kirzinger at all. I think I met Kane at the right time. He had just lost the role of Jason and was at his own crossroads. Six other dudes have played Jason before him. This character is all him. It’s always fun to work with him.

Talk about the setting
It’s all in Louisiana because there is a swamp he haunts. After Hatchet III, nothing has happened there. It’s almost become a theme park. That’s a commentary on our society and the way we celebrate serial killers. In the film, there’s a group of filmmakers trying to make a mock trailer to raise money, which is what we [literally] did to make the first one. Three of us went down to New Orleans and did that and that’s how we got the financing. The one survivor is brought back to the swamp to do an interview on the tenth anniversary and they wind up resurrecting Victor by mistake. A lot of it takes place inside an airplane. We wanted to change it up. The swamp setting is cool but we’ve seen it. The other favorite of the films I made is Frozen. The claustrophobic setting is a challenge as a writer. You have to work on the characters. That’s added a layer of suspense to this one that the others didn’t have. The other ones weren’t scary. They were fun and violent and gory. This one has some great scares in it. I see people cowering and covering their eyes. It’s something new for the series. I can’t wait to get on the road and see how people react.


Jeff

 
Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.