Screams From The Crypt: The Hatchet Trilogy
Welcome back to Screams From The Crypt, the Talk Film Society’s home for horror! This week the TFS Staff are going to be taking a look at the Hatchet Trilogy, that bastion of bayou horror.
Back in the mid-2000s the slasher genre was in the doldrums. Whereas the late 90s were packed with Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and any number of clever Kevin Williamson inspired pictures, the genre was long due for a rejuvenation. Thanks to director Adam Green's (Frozen) Hatchet, horror fans would have a new killer to watch as he eviscerated any pitiful tourist that dare tread in his Louisiana swamp. Met with high praise for their use of practical effects, the Hatchet films are overflowing with gore and winking nods to the slasher films of years past. With the recent announcement of a reboot/sequel of the series entitled Victor Crowley we figured we would dedicate this week's Screams from the Crypt to Adam Green's disgusting creation.
Hatchet (2006) d. Adam Green
Adam Green knows what makes a memorable slasher film; gore, a great looking killer, some lore, and a high kill count. He delivers on all of these things with Hatchet, his 2006 feature. Billed on the poster as "Old School American Horror," it's one of the few taglines that's able to deliver in spades. This is one gross movie and Victor Crowley, played with menace by Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees) is one gross killer, visibly deformed and a mountain of a man, he tears into unsuspecting tourists like it's going out of style.
Style is one thing that saves Hatchet from being just another Slasher. Green knows the genre and what makes the fans tick, and with this film he truly rejuvenated a struggling genre to great effect. Outside of Hodder, the film also features horror mainstays Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street) and Tony Todd (Candyman) in bit parts that help lay the groundwork for the legend of Victor Crowley. It's a fast and fun trip to the Louisiana bayou and once you see it, Hatchet will become essential Spooky Season viewing.
- Matt Curione
Hatchet II (2010) d. Adam Green
Picking up directly where the first let off, Hatchet II begins with Victor Crowley and Marybeth (now played by veteran scream queen Danielle Harris) are screaming in each other's faces. Marybeth escapes back to downtown New Orleans to see Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd), the mysterious bullshitter who inspired the ill-fated boat trip. Rev. Zombie hears her story and assembles a group of hunters to head back into the swamp with the hopes of finally taking down the murderous Crowley.
Hatchet II plays nearly identically to the first film with notable improvements. There's still a large quantity of cringeworthy jokes, but they land more often than not. That's not so much due to improved writing as it is to a stronger cast, from which comedian Colton Dunn (Parks and Recreation) particularly stands out. Where the film differs from its predecessor most successfully however, is in the amount of gore. In the first film there were some decent effects and nice splashes of blood, but a lot was implied rather than shown. Likely thanks to a larger budget, that's not the case here. There are a number of fully realized over-the-top kills that are as gloriously bloody as they are cheesy. My personal favorite sees Crowley disemboweling a man and wrapping the entrails around his head until it pops, and there's another near the end of the film that I wouldn't dare spoil.
- Marcus Irving
Hatchet III (2013) d. BJ McDonnell
Hatchet III drops you directly into the gore, picking up where the previous film left off. With little to no plot or development, the movie immediately delivers a boat load of gore, followed by, surprise, more gore. The legend of Victor Crowley continues, but Hatchet III spends no time bothering to explain it as this installment is 100% spent on grossing you out. Little to no budget was used for costuming extras and building props as it seems Hatchet III blew the whole thing on gore effects, which is good news for aficionados of the slasher genre. The blood and flesh that flies liberally for an hour and a half is believable and vomit-inducing. Heads explode, dismembered testicles hang from trees, and arms are ripped off with abandon.
It's a slasher movie that does not take itself seriously for one moment. If you’re looking for some reverent scares, this is not the movie for you. Does it suffer from glaring plot holes and a problematically shallow idea of what Louisiana is like? Yes. But, if all you want an all-out overkill murder-spree gorestravaganza, boy does Hatchet III deliver! It starts in the first minute of the film and is, frankly, unrelenting until its conclusion.
- Sarah Buck
We can only hope that the upcoming Victor Crowley will live up the gory heights of the original Hatchet Trilogy, and luckily we won't have to wait long. The new film will debut this October just in time for Spooky Season, so be sure to stay tuned to Screams From The Crypt for a full review come this Fall.