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HATCHET III

HATCHET III-United States-81 Mins. 2013

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Danielle Harris as Marybeth

Danielle Harris as Marybeth

Zach Galligan as Sheriff Fowler

Zach Galligan as Sheriff Fowler

Caroline Williams as Amanda

Caroline Williams as Amanda

Derek Mears as Hawes

Derek Mears as Hawes

Directed by BJ McDonnell

Written by Adam Green

Based on characters created by Adam Green

I have to admit I was a little hesitant to visit Honey Island Swamp for a third time after the uneven effort that was Hatchet II. However, after the first five minutes of Hatchet III I can gladly tell you that Victor Crowley lives and that life’s a big bitch in heat for anyone who steps foot on his stomping grounds. Hatchet III is a funny, witty, gory, scary film made all the stronger by a kick-ass performance from Danielle Harris and of course the legendary Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley. There’s no CGI to be found in this gore-fest; it’s old school all the way.

The film picks up where Hatchet II left off; Marybeth Dunstan (Danielle Harris, Shiver, Among Friends) is jailed for the murders committed by Crowley (Kane Hodder, Frozen, Monster) over the course of the two previous films, Hatchet and Hatchet II. Marybeth tells her story to Sheriff Fowler (Zach Galligan, Gremlins, Waxwork), who of course thinks that the legend of Victor Crowley is all bullshit and sends his unwitting crew out to Honey Island Swamp to investigate. Salvation, of a sort, comes for Marybeth in the form of Fowler’s ex-wife, Amanda (Caroline Williams, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II), a self-proclaimed Crowley expert who claims to have a way to get rid of Crowley once and for all. Crowley is a repeater spirit destined to relive the night of his death until he can be re-united with his father. Someone from the Dunstan bloodline has to give the ashes of his father to Victor and that will break the cycle. Sampson Dunstan is dead; so who does that leave? You guessed it; Marybeth. Meanwhile Sheriff Fowler is forced to play second fiddle to SWAT Team Leader Hawes (Derek Mears, Friday the 13th, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters); a man whose picture would easily accompany the word ‘asshole’ in any dictionary.

Hatchet III would be in no way complete without the customary over the top death scenes that the series is known for. It seems as if  there are 8 million ways to die in Honey Island Swamp and that Victor Crowley knows at least 7, 999, 998 of them; including death by defibrillator, hands-on mutilation and, duh, hatchet. 8 million, 7 million, 5 million, whatever; Hatchet III is one way to have some gory fun on movie night.

TRIVIA 

After just one week of shooting Hatchet 3, actor Kane Hodder declared it “the hardest job he’s ever done”. Performing rigorous action and stunts in sweltering Louisiana summer heat and humidity while wearing 50 pounds of silicone and make-up on his body, Kane Hodder truly suffered for his craft in making Hatchet 3.

Series creator Adam Green prides the Hatchet films on their “no CGI rule”. All make-up effects are done the “old school” way with prosthetics, make-up, latex, and silicone in order to give the films their throw back feeling and tone. CGI and digital enhancement is only used for such things as wire removal or fixing any camera issues that occurred while filming, but never to create the films’ outrageous special effects. Hatchet 3 was no exception to this rule and Green continually challenged the make-up effects crew by writing crazy death scenes and sequences that most any other modern production would have brought in computer generated visual effects teams to accomplish.

Actress Rileah Vanderbilt (who plays SWAT team member “Dougherty”) appeared in the first two Hatchet films as “Young Victor Crowley” and also served as the key make-up artist on both Hatchet 1 and Hatchet 2. Hatchet 3 marks her first character in the series using her own pretty face.

Actor Parry Shen has appeared in all three Hatchet films but as different characters. In Hatchet, he played Shawn, who worked for the Swamp Tours. In Hatchet II, he played Justin, who was Shawn’s brother. Justin also worked for the Swamp Tours. In Hatchet III, he played a paramedic named Andrew. Andrew is not related to Shawn or Justin. A joke is even made in the film about how one of the bodies they find looks like him.

bloodbloodblood½ out of 5.

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SCREAM QUEEN OF THE MONTH-OCTOBER 2012-DANIELLE HARRIS

SCREAM QUEEN OF THE MONTH-OCTOBER 2012-DANIELLE HARRIS

I have to be honest with you all; I really don’t know all that much about the October Scream Queen of the Month, Danielle Harris. I know that she’s beautiful; the photo above is proof of that. I know that she made her film debut as Jamie Lloyd in 1988′s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and would return to the role the following year in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. I also know that she stepped into the role of Annie Brackett for director Rob Zombie’s re-vision of Halloween and Halloween II in 2007 and 2009; a role was originally filled by Nancy Loomis in John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978 and again in Halloween II in 1981.

Hmm, so what else do I know about Danielle Harris? Well, she has earned the title of modern day Scream Queen by appearing in genre films like Urban Legend (1998), Left For Dead (2007), The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond (2009), Hatchet II and Stakeland (both 2010) and Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 and The Victim (both 2011).

She has appeared in the non-genre films The Last Boy Scout (1991) with Bruce Willis as well as Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and Free Willy. She recently completed Fatal Call and is in post-production with Hatchet IIIDead.tv and The Ghost of Goodnight Lane.

Last but not least, I know that it is an honor to bestow the title of Scream Queen of the Month for Halloween Month 2012 upon the beautiful and the busy Miss Danielle Harris!

HARRIS HINTS

Born Danielle Andrea Harris on June 1, 1977

5′

She appeared both as the on-screen “Roseanne” (1988)’s neighbour, Molly in the TV show, and as Roseanne’s real life daughter, Jessica in a movie autobiography of Roseanne’s life.

In the mid-1990s, she was stalked by an obsessed fan. This person wrote letters threatening to kill her, and was eventually arrested for bringing a shotgun to her house.

Kept her clown costume from Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) for years and even went trick-or-treating that year around Queens as Jamie Lloyd. Years later she sold the costume to a dedicated “Halloween” fan for his own personal collection.

FATHERS DAY-Written in Blood Style

Did you ever notice that when it comes to horror films it’s usually the mother who is the catalyst for the killing? I mean, would there have even been a Psycho if littleNorman had a dad in his life to straighten him out? Don’t even get me started on Friday the 13th. If Jason had a dad he would have taken notice of his son’s obvious love for hockey and helped him to channel that passion into a lucrative career. Mrs. Voorhees was clearly not a hockey fan.

Then there are the ones who can’t clearly determine who their biological fathers are. Take Freddy Krueger, for instance. If you recall, they referred to him as ‘the bastard son of a hundred maniacs.’ That’s a lot of paternity tests. On the other hand, Victor Crowley knew exactly who his daddy was. He should, after all it was Dad that gave him his charming visage. There’s also the case of Rosemary Woodhouse and her little bundle of joy. There is no doubt that the devil was the daddy in this case. It certainly wasn’t John Cassavetes. Another little bastard who knew who his daddy was is Damien Thorn. In fact, it’s safe to say that Damien will follow in his father’s footsteps.

My point that I am trying to make is that fathers really don’t play that big a role in horror films. If they do, it’s usually with the word “step” in front of the word “father”. That doesn’t really count, now does it? Mother’s not only are the guiding light behind the maniacs, but they also get the name in the titles of the movies more than the fathers do. Mother’s Day, Mother of Tears, My Mom’s a Werewolf, Serial Mom and on and on. Fathers just can’t cut a break when it comes to horror movies.

Anyways, I’m going to cease my incessant prattle. I have spoken my mind and now I feel much better. So, I want to wish a happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there who are taking the time to read this post.  Here’s hoping that you all get your chance to mold the next batch of horror movie villains. Why should the moms have all the fun?

FROZEN

FROZEN-United States-93 Mins. 2010

Written and Directed by Adam Green

Starring

Emma Bell as Parker O’Neill

Shawn Ashmore as Joe Lynch

Kevin Zegers as Dan Walker

We’ve  all made bad decisions in our lives that seemed like a good idea at the time. In Frozen, the latest film from Hatchet director Adam Green, three friends make the decision to go on one last ski run down Mount Holliston before the resort shuts down for the week. But due to a miscommunication between ski lift operators, the lift stops and they are trapped high above the ground. At first thinking it to be temporary, the panic of reality sets in when one by one the lights of the resort are shut off all around them. Now they have to make even more decisions. Do they stay and wait for help? Do they jump? If they stay they will freeze to death. Help may not come. If they jump, then what? Each and every decision they make is a matter of life and death.

Adam Green, the man who introduced a new icon of the slasher genre with Hatchet and the story of Victor Crowley, this time turns his camera to the realm of survival horror and for the most part the results are good. There are a few small moments that bore, but they don’t interfere with the overall feeling of loneliness and despair that the film achieves.

The film stars Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore and Kevin Zegers as the three friends. However, the focal point of the film is not the human characters, but the choices that they have to contend with. Adam Green has stated that his biggest influence as a filmmaker has been Steven Spielberg and his influence clearly shows in this film. This is JAWS at a ski resort. Freezing weather, frostbite and hungry wolves are the great white sharks that surround them as they are trapped in an ocean of snow with no help in sight.

Frozen may not have all the gore that Hatchet does and it may not have a memorable character like Victor Crowley. What it does have is a talented cast and a director who’s not afraid to try new things. I’d say that in itself is a pretty damn good decision.

1/2

HATCHET

HATCHET-United States-85 Mins. 2006

Written and directed by Adam Green

Starring

Joel David Moore as Ben

Tamara Feldman as Mary Beth

Deon Richmond as Marcus

Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley/Mr. Crowley

Robert Englund as Sampson

Tony Todd as Reverend Zombie

Hatchet lives up to every ounce of the hype that was built around it. It’s one of the best horror films of arguably the last ten years and it firmly places director Adam Green on the list of horror filmmakers to watch in the future. Not only does it create a new horror villain in Victor Crowley, it also pays homage to past slasher films by casting Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Tony Todd (Candyman) in cameo roles.

The plot of Hatchet is a simple one and that’s perfectly fine. It’s a slasher film and the only thing the plot needs to do in this case is to drive the story from one gory moment to the next. This is the story of Victor Crowley, the ghost of a deformed man killed by a hatchet to his face. This is his movie; he’s the one we paid our hard-earned money to see. We wait until he appears out of nowhere to tear his victims limb from limb with his bare hands. If that doesn’t work there’s always a shovel handily used for decapitation or a sanding tool for sanding down the good looks of a buxom young ‘starlet’. Hatchet is all about Victor Crowley.

Adam Green knew exactly what he was doing when he cast Kane Hodder in the role of Victor Crowley. Hodder is one of the most physical actors and his size alone is enough to make you piss yourself if he were to approach you with the intent to kill.  Add a terrific make-up job from John Buechler and you have a recipe for a great horror villain. Casting Hodder (Friday The 13th Parts 7, 8, 9 and Jason X) was also a smart move because just like the casting of Englund and Todd it serves as an homage to the slasher films that came before it.

So gather round the TV, pop Hatchet into your DVD or Blu-ray, sit back and enjoy the birth of a new icon of gore. His name: Crowley. Victor Crowley.

HATCHET II

Hatchet II

Image by Brian Wilkins via Flickr

HATCHET II-United States-85 Mins. 2010

Directed by Adam Green

Written by Adam Green

Starring

Danielle Harris as Marybeth

Tony Todd as Reverend Zombie

Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley/Thomas Crowley

Perry Shen as Justin

Tom Holland as Bob

Adam Greens Hatchet II was hailed as the first American horror film in over 25 years to be released unrated to major theaters. I don’t know how true that actually is. What I can tell you is that Hatchet II starts off like a blast from a double barrel shotgun and in the end it leaves you lying bleeding and dismembered and wanting more.

Danielle Harris (Halloween) takes over the role of Marybeth (originally played in the first film by Tamara Feldman). She has survived the onslaught of Victor Crowley and now she enlists Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd-Candyman) to go back into the Honey Island Swamp to retrieve the bodies of her father and brother. Reverend Zombie gets a hunting party together and we later find out that he has other plans in mind. If this were a TV Guide synopsis then this would be the part where the words ‘murder and mayhem ensue.’

Hatchet II is one of the best horror sequels since Sam Raimi‘s Evil Dead II:Dead By Dawn. It pays complete homage to the slasher film by not only casting several of its stars from previous old school slasher films (Tony Todd, Kane Hodder and Danielle Harris); but also by sheer amounts of gore and in-jokes especially suited for the slasher film crowd. There is murder by curb-stomp, boat motor and decapitation, to name a few. Not only that, but, there is also a brief reference to director Adam Green’s Frozen and also to Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Each one of these in jokes/references is in homage to the original material and never looks down on it or patronizes it.

The cast is top-notch. Danielle Harris takes over effortlessly for Tamara Feldman. I didn’t realize that she wasn’t in the first film until I checked the credits for it at IMDB.com. Tony Todd is both creepy and funny in his role as the Reverend Zombie. It is because of him that I will not say the words ‘Candyman’ five times into a mirror.

Then there is Kane Hodder. No other actor could have played the role of Victor Crowley so convincingly as he has done in Hatchet and Hatchet II. He is still the best Jason Voorhees ever and history will probably record that he was the best Victor Crowley as well, also.

In the end, Hatchet II leaves you wanting more gore, more blood and more Crowley.

Bring it on motherf—ers!!!

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