Taking a cue from last year’s “Blair Witch”, the marketing team behind a little-known reboot of horror classic “Hatchet” managed to keep the films existence, and swiftly approaching release date, under wraps until yesterday.
When fans gathered for a tenth anniversary screening of Adam Green’s popular slasher flick at the Arclight in Hollywood they didn’t expect to see, instead, the latest film in the series, “Victor Crowley”.
Per EW, who were first to break the news, “Victor Crowley” again stars Kane Hodder in the title role of the Louisiana swamp-dwelling killer. The story takes place ten years after the events of “Hatchet III”, and costars “Hatchet” franchise veteran Parry Shen (“Better Luck Tomorrow”) as well as Laura Ortiz (2006’s “The Hills Have Eyes”), Dave Sheridan (“Scary Movie”), and Brian Quinn (truTV’s “Impractical Jokers”). The movie is written and directed by Green.
In the film, we discover that Shen’s lone survivor Andrew Yong has spent over a decade claiming that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the deaths of the forty-nine people killed in the original trilogy of films. Yong’s allegations have been met with widespread disbelief, but when a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past.
“The only survivor that was ever found was Parry Shen’s character Andrew Yong,” Green tells EW. “Now, ten years, later, he’s kind of become a little bit of a celebrity. At one point he’s compared to ‘the OJ Simpson of Honey Island Swamp’ because most people do not buy his story, but he got off because there was no evidence that he had done it. So, some people love him, a lot of people hate him, and now he’s written a book, which he is promoting on the tenth anniversary of the events of 2007. He is convinced to do one final interview back at the scene of the massacre, where he has never returned. Simultaneously to him going back there with this camera crew, that’s going to interview him, there is something else happening that brings back a little certain somebody.”
The next screening of “Victor Crowley” will take place at Feighfest, in London, followed by a series of one-night screenings across the country beginning in October.
Green says the sad passing of horror master Wes Craven paved the way for a new “Hatchet” movie.
“When Wes died, all the horror filmmakers in my generation started calling each other, in disbelief and shock,” says Green. “That reality that our idols are not going to be here for ever was suddenly very real. You start asking yourself, ‘Well, what have we done that even matters?’ For months, I was really in a depression, thinking that nothing we’ve been doing really matters, that it can’t compare. Then, at Rock and Shock, which is a convention in Worcester, MA., I wound up being asked to moderate George Romero’s panel. After the panel, George said, ‘I know you’ve been going through a rough time, I know you’ve been taking Wes’s passing personally — you have to get over that, and get back on your feet.’ And as part of his pep talk he had said, ‘So, where’s the next Crowley picture?’ And I said, ‘There isn’t going to be one, I’m done with that.’ And he pointed to this standing ovation in the audience and he said, ‘You’ve got to understand, ’til they say it’s over, it isn’t.’ 48 hours later, I’m back in LA, and I’m sitting at my desk, and I’m typing ‘Ext. Honey Island Swamp. Night.’”
Kane Hodder, best known for his work in the “Friday the 13th” films, was keen to reprise Crowley.
“He’s always saying, ‘Oh come on, one more, one more’,” says Green. “He loves it. I actually got to tell him in person. We were at a screening of Hatchet I and II in Denver, CO., and I told him right as Hatchet II was starting, and the lights were going down. He’ll never admit this — because he’s too tough — but I swear I saw a tear in his eye. He was the only one that was actually overjoyed, because everybody else who has been with us the whole time knows what it means to go back into the trenches to make one of these. It doesn’t matter how big or small the budget is, I keep writing them to be bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and we have to figure out how we’re going to do that. And this one was by far the hardest.”
And how did Green manage to keep the film a secret for so long?
“The script was called Arwen’s Fancy Dinner and then, when we were shooting, it was called Arwen’s Revenge, just because that was easier to fit on a camera slate,” says the director. “Nobody ever spoke the words Hatchet or Victory Crowley. Everyone has always referred to this as Arwen’s Revenge. You know, you can hit people with all the NDAs in the world, it’s not really going to do much when you have a crew that big, because good luck proving who spilled the beans. So, really it came down to me sort of sitting down with each and every crew member for a while, and explaining why I was doing this, and who we were doing it for. Maybe not everyone in the world is going to have their life changed when they hear, ‘There’s a new Hatchet movie.’ But for the fans that do love this so passionately, it is going to be a surprise, and I’m just so happy that it stayed that way.”