London After Midnight: Film4 FrightFest to screen Hatchet 2 and Last Exorcism

Hatchet 2August 26 this year sees the World Premier of HATCHET 2 at this this year’s Film4 FrightFest in London’s Empire Cinema. The opening night event will be attended by director Adam Green and cast members including Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris and Tony Todd.
HATCHET 2 promises even more gore and darker humour. Green says “Having the World Premiere at the opening night of FrightFest is really a homecoming for my monster Victor Crowley and I. It’s important to me that the first audience to see this should be the very audience that breathed life into HATCHET and turned it into a franchise. While the first film was a love letter to the films I grew up on, this film is my love letter to the fans – the original “Hatchet Army”.
And although FrightFest have premiered both HOSTEL and CABIN FEVER, Director Eli Roth will be making his first FrightFest appearance, when he and director Daniel Stamm close the festival with the European Premiere of THE LAST EXCORCISM on Monday August 30th.
THE LAST EXORCISM sees the disillusioned Reverend Cotton (played by Patrick Fabian) arrive at a Louisiana farm expecting to perform his last ‘routine’ exorcism but nothing could prepare him for the true horrors that lie ahead….
With such a fantastic opening and closing night already announced, one can only imagine the horrors that will be sandwiched in between!
Film4 FrightFest 2010 runs from Thurs 26th August to Monday 30th August at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square. Festival & day passes go on sale from 3rd July. Tickets for Individual films will be on sale from 26 July. Bookings: 08 714 714 714 or www.empirecinemas.co.uk
As from 16th July, FrightFest will be launching a bi-monthly E-zine, packed full of exciting content, with exclusive world-wide access to the talent both in front and behind the latest films. To register for the E-Zine go here: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/e-zineregistrati.html
I’ll announce more updates as they happen.

Hatchet on DVD

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The biggest cinematic crime of 2007 is that Adam Green’s retro-slasher masterpiece HATCHET was consigned to a low-profile stealth release on the same weekend that Rob Zombie’s misguided HALLOWEEN remake opened in thousands of theatres nationwide. The second biggest crime is that HATCHET was trimmed to earn an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. In effect, when the film landed in a handful of theatres, you barely had a chance to see it at all, and even if it was playing nearby, you couldn’t see the complete film, just the expurgated version. Well, thanks to the miracles of modern technology, you can now enjoy the real-deal on a DVD that is loaded with entertaining extras. In fact, this is one of the best DVD releases of the year, thanks to some behind-the-scenes bonus features that feel more like a true making-of documentary than the promotional puffery usually found on these discs. Read More

HATCHET: Interview with writer-director Adam Green

HATCHET is a rare achievement: an homage that exceeds the originals. Inspired by ’80s slasher icons like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees., writer-director Adam Green has fashioned an atmospheric, fun-filled horror thrill-ride that delivers the gore, along with clever characterization and doses of humor that make the film funny and scary, not just an exercise in spilling entrails.

Joel David Moore, Deon Richmond, Tamara Feldman: Guess who dies first?

Anchor Bay Entertainment releases the film in limited engagements nationwide on Friday, September 7; unfortunately, unlike the HALLOWEEN remake (which is in over 3,000 theatres), HATCHET will screen in only a couple dozen cities around the country. (You can find a partial list here, but check your local listings to be sure.) Even this small exposure is quite an achievement when you consider that the film was a labor of love, produced independently because it did not fit the current Hollywood formula. Below the fold, you will find our interview with Green, who describes the long and winding road he took to get his “old school horror” film onto the big screen

Read More

Hatchet (2006)

A tour of the swamp turns to terror in the horror homage HATCHET.

Slasher homage exceeds originals

This may be the bucket of blood that splatter fans were eagerly anticipating (those for whom FRIDAY THE 13TH is a fond memory), but it is also an excellent horror film with solid scripting and strong performances that make it appealing to a wider audience.
The movie is an unapologetic throwback to 1980s slasher films, with numerous tips of the hats to its progenitors. Robert Englund (best known as dream demon Freddy Kruger) has a cameo as an early victim; Tony Todd (best known as Candyman) puts in a brief, comical appearance; makeup man John Carl Buechler (FROM BEYOND) provides the carnage and appears on-screen as the obligatory prophet of doom, a drunken old loon warning the tourists that death awaits them in the swamp. Finally, Kane Hodder (best known as masked killer Jason Voorhees) plays the mad, mutant, and possibly supernatural psycho-killer.
Which is completely appropriate because HATCHET, like FRIDAY THE 13TH, is about some teen-agers stalked by a mad killer in the woods. The story follows a group of friends on vacation who decided to take a night-time boat tour; unfortunately, the boat runs aground, stranding them in the middle of territory presided over – or so legend has it – by the deformed off-spring of a lonely cabin-dweller who was killed by a Halloween prank gone wrong.
Set in the Louisiana bayou, the film has atmosphere to spare, and even the obligatory legend explaining the killer’s existence is presented with panache. The suggestion of supernatural overtones (the killer is supposed to have died in the fire that killed his father), along with the creepiness of the location, creates an ambience wherein the existence of an apparently unstoppable killer seems complete convincing – not just an obligatory genre convention.


HATCHET far exceeds its inspiration models, thanks to convincing execution by writer-director Adam Greenberg, who makes the gore scenes really hurt. Working with a convincing cast of characters – none of whom deserves their fate – he creates a wonderfully aggressive horror show filled with equal parts suspense and shock. Viewers won’t find themselves bored between atrocities, eagerly awaiting the next geyser of gore to break the tedium; even jaded gore hounds may find themselves squirming in dreadful anticipation of what will happen next. The film’s violence is unapologetically unrestrained; in fact, the film is almost too effective, becoming frightening rather than fun as the hapless tourists are picked off one by one in hideously graphic fashion: decapitation by shovel, a power saw to the face, and arms ripped out of their sockets, etc.
If there is any obvious flaw to HATCHET, it lies in perhaps too close an adherence to its role models, which inevitably served up obligatory “surprise” endings that left doors open for sequels. After exceeding expectations with its sense of credible story-telling, it’s a bit disappointing to see HATCHET surrender to mechanical genre conventions. The ending plays like a sop thrown to the hard-core horror hounds who don’t give a damn about character or story so long as there’s shock aplenty on view. The shock certainly works, but it yanks you out of the realm of verisimilitude, where you are genuinely frightened, and tosses you back into the movie-movie world, where you hoot and holler like someone enjoying a ride on a roller-coaster. The thrill’s still there, but it lacks the genuinely disturbing touch of something like THE DESCENT.

TRIVIA

Victor Crowley confronts a tourist in the bayou.The film earned a reputation as a crowd-pleasing horror fave on the festival circuit in 2006. At its final festival screening, at Screamfest in Hollywood, October 2006, writer-director Adam Green told the eager audience. “Since we first showed it in March, this print has been all around the world, and I’ve been with it. Right now, I feel about like the print looks.” He pumped up the audience by adding, “Our best response has been in London, because those fuckers are crazy, but since this is the end of the tour and we’re back home, I think you can beat them. Let’s rip the roof off this place!” That was the first – but not the last -time that the audience erupted into applause.
The poster art for the film’s festival tour proudly proclaimed that HATCHET is “old school horror” (circa 1980): “It’s not a sequel. It’s not a remake. And it’s not based on a Japanese one.”  Truer words were never spoken.
After is festival run, HATCHET was picked up for home video distribution by Anchor Bay Entertainment, a company known for their excellent limited edition DVDs devoted to cult horror movies. The company opted to schedule for film for a platform theatrical release in 2007. The MPAA is likely to demand some major cuts in exchange for an R-rating. The film is strong enough to withstand the censors scissors without losing too much of its effectiveness.
SPOILER ALRERT: HATCHET drops a few subtle hints that lay the seeds for future sequels. In the flashback of the Halloween trick-or-treat gone wrong, the camera lingers on the masked face of one of the pranksters, without revealing his identity – which will probably be revealed in any follow-up. Most likely, he will turn out to be the alligator hunter, played by Robert Englund, who is an early victim in the film, making his death not one of random violence but of revenge.
HATCHET (2006). Written & directed by Adam Green. Cast: Joel David Moore, Tamara Feldman, Deon Richmond, Mercedes McNab, Kane Hodder, Parry Shen, Joleigh Fioreavanti, Joel Murray, Richard Riehle, Patrika Darbo, Robert Englund, Joshua Leonard, Tony Todd, John Carl Buechler
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