In our latest series, which we’ve decidedly titled The Greatest Thing Ever, we will be looking at some of our favorite things (movies, YouTube channels, videogames, etc) and declaring them, as you probably could have guessed, the greatest thing ever.
Today we will be looking at the trilogy that Gorezone Magazine once called “the holy grail of slasher movies.” For those of you not in the know, the Hatchet films follow the brutally disfigured Victor Crowley and the bloody rampage that he perpetuates to safeguard his territory in the swamps of the Louisiana bayou.
Written and directed by Adam Green, the original Hatchet was released in 2006 to the universal approval of just about every horror fan who saw it. A sequel was released in 2010, Hatchet II, and elevated the franchise in nearly every way. Fans said their final goodbyes to the series with the highly anticipated Hatchet III in 2013. And while it wasn’t as impressive as the previous films, it was still a fitting sendoff.
There have been rumors of a Hatchet IV since the release of its predecessor, but if you follow Green on social media or you listen to his podcast then you’ll know that it doesn’t seem likely at this point (or, at least, that he won’t be the one directing it).
With all that being said, let’s take a look at why this trilogy is not simply awesome but it is indeed … the greatest thing ever!
5. It Was A Breath Of Fresh Air Amongst A Sea Of Reboots & Sequels
If anyone can remember back to the mid-00’s (and why wouldn’t you?) then you’ll remember that this was the time when the horror movie reboot was beginning to grow in prominence. Michael Bay had just formed his horror franchise killer Platinum Dunes, Stephen King’s Carrie was made into a TV movie, Rob Zombie showed us the childhood of Michael Myers, the list goes on.
When the poster for Hatchet was first released it was accompanied by a simple yet widely effective tagline: “It’s not a remake. It’s not a sequel. And it’s not based on a Japanese one.” The end result was an amusing, spooky, visceral, smartly-crafted film that was indeed a breath of fresh air.
4. It Reintroduced Horror Fans To Kane Hodder
If you are a horror fan there are a mere two words that will instantly make you smile or strike fear into your soul, Kane Hodder. The stuntman-turned-actor, of course, became a horror legend playing relentless killer and hockey mask aficionado Jason Voorhees in four of the Friday The 13th films (7,8,9,10).
After Hodder retired the hockey mask (against his choice), the actor remained involved in the genre but wasn’t front and centered as he should have been. Then, Hodder was cast as the horrific Victor Crowley (who is essentially Jason Voorhees on steroids). Since that time Kane has seen a resurgence within the horror genre, with more and more fans recognizing him for his hatchet and overalls then for his hockey mask and machete. And honestly, the more Kane Hodder the better! That’s our motto.
3. The Kills
Perhaps no slasher in the history of horror can lay claim to more unique, creative, entertaining and downright brutal kills than the swamp-dwelling Victor Crowley. He’s certainly not just your run-of-the-mill butcher knife-wielding killer: he likes to get in there and get his hands dirty.
Whether he’s yanking out someone’s spine Mortal Kombat style or taking a belt sander to a young lady’s face, Crowley never disappoints in the over-the-top kill department. Though, the greatest death scene of the franchise would have to be when Crowley places his hands inside the mouth of an elderly woman, one on top, one on bottom, and rips her head clean in half, leaving her wagging tongue dancing around in the gory mess. No other franchise in recent memory has featured such a terrifically retro maniac or revisited the heyday of ’80s gore films with such gleeful abandon.
2. It Made Danielle Harris A Badass
Danielle Harris is someone most genre fans know and know well. Smart, funny, and beautiful, since bursting onto the horror scene as a young child in Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers, she has grown to become quite the horror icon.
In Hatchet II (arguably the greatest entry of the series), Harris plays the film’s protagonist, Marybeth, and it’s one of the first times we got to see the actress transform into full beast-mode. In particular, the ending of Hatchet II, where Marybeth attacks Victor with his own hatchet before shooting him in the face with a shotgun, might just be one of the greatest slasher deaths in film history. And while we loved Danielle in Halloween, Urban Legend, etc; it was nice to see our favorite scream queen play less of a victim and more of a victimizer.
1. It Introduced The World To Adam Green
Generally speaking, Adam Green has yet to let down horror fans. Aside from the Hatchet trilogy (of which he directed the first two films, and produced the third), Green has blessed the genre with films such as 2007’s Spiral and the recently released Digging Up The Marrow. He produced the extremely underrated Grace in 2008 and before Anna repeatedly asked Elsa if she wanted to build a snowman, Green made the definitive Frozen in 2010 with a harrowing portrait of humans at the mercy of the great outdoors.
Oh, and let’s not forget that he created one of our favorite horror-based shows, Holliston (which better be coming back for a new season) and he’s also the co-host of our favorite podcast, The Movie Crypt, which is pretty much dream-fuel for anyone who needs some inspiration in their life.
With so much unoriginality and movie studios doing whatever to make a dollar nowadays, it’s nice to see a horror director who seems to actually care about the genre. And while, technically speaking, Hatchet wasn’t the director’s first film, it was certainly the film that took him to the next level. And if they ever decide to do a Hatchet remake, they’d better keep him involved every step of the way!
What say you? What are your fondest memories of the Hatchet trilogy? Let us know in the comment section below.