Ahead of it’s release on VOD and digital platforms, James had the chance to speak with director Adam Green and actor Kane Hodder about returning to the HATCHET franchise with VICTOR CROWLEY.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Thank you both so much for speaking with me today. To start things off, Adam, what inspired you to come back to the HATCHET series?
Adam Green: When I finished HATCHET 3 I thought I was finished with the series. In 2014 I went through a ton of bad shit starting with Dave Brockie from “Holliston” and Gwar passing away suddenly. I went through a bad divorce and then Fear.net, the network that “Holliston” was on, got dissolved all within the span of 2 weeks. I’d like to think that if it had just one been one of those things I would have handled it better but I just went into a really bad, dark spiral. I was pretty much done with making films. But then at Rock and Shock, a horror convention in Worcester, MA, George Romero was the headliner and he asked me if I would moderate his panel because he didn’t want to answer the same ol’ questions like “Should zombies run?” and “What do you think about Walking Dead?” He wanted to talk about the craft and the business of horror filmmaking. At the end of the panel he gets this huge standing ovation. He turns me around to the audience and puts his arm around and asked me “Do you see this?” And he points out all the people in the crowd wearing HATCHET and “Holliston” shirts. He says “I know you are going through a hard time but you gotta sack up now. It’s over, you got through it but now you’ve got to do your thing. When are you going to give this kids another Crowley picture?” That was the moment that I saw how much the HATCHET series meant to so many other people and I would never have seen if someone that I looked up to didn’t point it out to me.
Nightmarish Conjurings: The biggest surprise of last year was the announcement of VICTOR CROWLEY since no one knew it was coming. How, and why, did you make VICTOR CROWLEY in secret?
AG: When I decided that this was going to be the next thing I did, I knew I wanted to keep it a secret. A part of that was that I didn’t want any outside pressure because the moment that a film gets announced there an expectation that comes along with it and you’re never going to make something that is going to live up to that. I hate that movies even get ruined for me these days. First there’s an announcement that it’s in development, and then there’s the casting news, and then there’s the set visits, and then there’s the stills, and then there’s clips, and then there’s the teaser trailer and then there’s another trailer for the trailer that’s going to come out. I’m over it! I just wanted to announce the film by showing it.
The fact that we were able to keep it a secret is crazy! We had like 100 people on the crew, including post production, unions, and catering, etc. I think it is because this movie was made by fans, for lack of a better term, even though they’re all professionals. I showed the department heads certain pieces of fan mail, mainly from the military or disabled people and I told them if you shoot your mouth off to be cool and let the secret out, just know this is who you’re taking the film away from.
Kane Hodder: While we were shooting the movie I would sleep during the day because we were shooting all night. One time I forgot to turn off my cellphone and someone calls and wakes me up wanting to interview me about the new “HATCHET” movie and I have to say “I have no idea what you are talking about”. Meanwhile I’m going to the set in about an hour to do that exact thing!
Nightmarish Conjurings: The film uses a lot of practical effects throughout, was it important to have that over CGI?
AG: What I think the core fan base appreciates the most is that everything is done practical and everything’s done old school. That’s the feel of these movies, if we started using CGI kills we would be wasting people’s time. The practical effects are just as big of a star as the victims, that’s what people are coming to see. I keep challenging the makeup effects team when I came up with these kills and they’re like, “How the fuck we supposed to do this?” It always begins with them quitting. And then they stay and ask me “What if we use CGI for this or that” and then I say no. Then they cry and then they quit, and come back again. Once I see what they come up with I’m just so fucking happy! We do camera tricks but nothing that is full on digital. If we had a full CGI character you’re never going to be scared because you’re looking a cartoon.
Nightmarish Conjurings: You had mentioned that you worked with the late Dave Brockie from GWAR. I had noticed that the kills in the HATCHET series are very over-the-top and comical which is very similar to GWAR’s on-stage antics. Was GWAR an influence on these films?
AG: GWAR has been a huge influence in my life because they make depictions of violence fun. I’ve tried to make every kill in these movies make you smile and laugh and not be scary at all. But there’s a couple kills in VICTOR CROWLEY that are pretty fucking brutal and a lot of that was me getting my anger out over the bad things that had happened in my life.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Speaking of the man himself, what was it like to embody Victor Crowley?
KH: The amazing thing is several other people have played Jason, I’ve done it more than anyone, but I’m not the only one. Nobody else has been Victor other than my buddy Rick for a couple of scenes. It’s a character similar to Jason, he certainly kills pretty much everyone he comes in contact with, but to me Victor’s far more intelligent than somebody like Jason. That’s how I approached it. He’s not just a mindless idiot doing whatever, there’s reasons for things that he’s doing. Very often when I do a scene I don’t know precisely what I’m going to do until we roll the camera. I’ll have an idea, but I won’t have it set in stone so that when the camera rolls, I do what feels right so there’s no possibility that it can look rehearsed.
Nightmarish Conjurings: How did Adam Green convince you to come back for another round?
KH: He said “Are you ready?” and I said “Fuck yeah”! There was no convincing. I have loved working with Adam because he is so incredibly creative with storylines and characters and violence, and making it all in an entertaining fun, but scary way. I have pretty much worked on everything he’s ever done because I think we work well together, whether I’m doing the stunt coordinating or playing a character. It probably sounds self-serving because he’s sitting here but he’s my favorite guy to work with and I’ve been around for 41 years. I’ve done 150 films and TV shows and nobody is as enjoyable to work with as he is.
Nightmarish Conjurings: The 4th installment of the franchise stars a wide array of talent playing roles different from the types they usually play. Can you elaborate on that process?
AG: I love that in these films you get to see horror film stars be funny and show what they can actually do. It’s so wonderful for an actor to be forever attached to a character that people care about, but they know that they can be much more than that character. It’s great to be able to give actors the opportunity to prove it. I’ve never see Felissa Rose be so funny in any of the other films she has done. When you mention her, people usually only bring up SLEEPAWAY CAMP and now finally there is going to be something else for her to known from.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Last but certainly not least, are there any projects you are both working on that we can look forward to for the future?
AG: I’ve got some TV projects that should be announced soon. I hope we get to come back to the HATCHET series at some point because there is still a lot to do and more films planned.
KH: I shot a film this past year called AN ACCIDENTAL ZOMBIE (NAMED TED). I play a guy that runs a factory that makes products out of discarded human skin. It’s a very funny film and I’m fucking hilarious in it, I think.
VICTOR CROWLEY arrives on VOD and digital February 6th.