Hatchet 2 premieres Sunday, Sept. 25th at the Alamo South Lamar and shows again on Monday, Sept. 26th at 11:59 p.m.You won’t want to miss it. Do so and Kane Hodder will hunt you down and kill you with his bare hands.
Some film critics argue that originality in the horror genre is dying. Enter writer and director Adam Green to give an adrenaline shot right to the heart of it. Green’s HATCHET franchise, which chronicles the legend of iconic killer Victor Crowley, has brought thrills and fun to a genre that is being smothered by lazy remakes.
Fantastic Fest is proud to premiere HATCHET 2, a return to Victor Crowley’s killing grounds in the Louisiana swamps. Danielle Harris, who first dazzled us with her work in HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS, plays Marybeth, a victim of Crowley’s who lost her brother and father in the first film. Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise) returns as Victor Crowley to wreak havoc on those foolish enough to enter the swamps. He also plays Victor’s father, Thomas, adding to the mythology of the Crowley family.
The three horror legends sat down with us and were happy to chop up the Fantastic 5 questions we had for them. In sequel fashion, we added a little bit extra for your reading pleasure.
Fantastic Fest: Kane, can you talk a little bit about what the mythology of Victor Crowley means to you. You get to kind of go both ways in playing both the father–
Danielle Harris: You’re going both ways, Kane! (Laughs.)
Kane Hodder: Whoa.
FF: You get to play two different roles! (Laughs.) Yes, at the end of this interview magazines will say, ‘This just in! Kane Hodder goes both ways,’ and you’re like, ‘I am going to strangle Adam Sweeney.’ (They laugh.) You play the father, Thomas Crowley, as well as Victor. What does that mean to you?
KH: Well, it’s incredible to play a character people love after just one outing. To come back and play it again, it was a difficult shoot but I couldn’t wait to do it. Adam expanded the Mr. Crowley stuff so I got to do more of that, which is nice. He keeps having me do new things, things I’ve never done before. There’s a new one that we did in which I do something I’ve never done, but we can’t talk about that.
Adam Green: We can talk about it. It’s been announced.
AG: I had him dance.
KH: Can we talk about the character?
AG: We showed it, so yeah, that’s okay.
DH: I didn’t see it!
AG: We showed it at Frightfest. It’s called The Diary of Anne Frankenstein.
FF: Did you say The Diary of Anne Frankenstein? Awesome.
AG: It’s set in the 1940′s, black and white, and it’s all spoken in German and subtitled. Joel David Moore plays Dr. Frankenstein and Kane plays Mashugina, the Frankenstein monster, so to speak. It’s very funny and like Mel Brooks. The best part is it’s all in German, everyone I cast is German but Joel David Moore does not know German. I didn’t let him learn any German so he is trying his best through the whole thing. (They laugh.)
KH: He’s speaking gibberish and it sounds great because he’s convincing. The subtitles read whatever Adam wanted them to.
AG: People at the screening came up and said, ‘The guy playing The Fuhrer is good but his German is not so great. But he was saying things like ‘Osh Kosh B’Gosh.’ (They laugh.) It took a while for people to understand what he was saying. He was yelling, ‘Boba Fett!’ at the top of his lungs.
KH: And at the end of it I dance. I have never been asked to dance in a film.
DH: How did you do it?
KH: Not very well! (Laughs.) I do it after I do something violent at the end.
FF: Adam, you’ve had this character brewing inside for so long. We saw some of the back story in the first film. At what point did you say, ‘Okay, that’s enough.’ It’s tough to find a balance between kills and having a character who is sympathetic.
AG: I took a bit of a gamble with the first one because I knew I wanted it to be a story carried out with sequels. To have a good killer you need someone with a somewhat sympathetic back story but also filled with holes on purpose. We had a character with Marybeth who knew the urban legend of Victor. He didn’t know his whole story, how he was born, who his mother was,where he came from or what he actually is. That way the sequel was actually more of an opportunity to deliver more. So we go back and see not only the moment Victor Crowley is born, but we see the moment he is conceived. That, I think, is what makes it better than the original. It adds so much to the story and even starts at the same frame we end on. It’s almost like putting down a book and then you pick it up to see a hard cut of Victor Crowley screaming and has Marybeth by the neck. The fans so far, the ones who have seen it, really appreciate that because it’s not like the first one. You get questions answered and Victor Crowley really comes into his own.
People always want to compare you to other films. Because you have an unstoppable killer, trees are in the film and there is Kane Hodder people say, ‘Oh, it’s just like Jason. Just like Jason.’ By the end of Hatchet 2, it’s very clear this is like nothing else.
FF: Danielle, you’ve been acting for decades–
DH: Decades! (Laughs.)
FF: I mean that in a respectful way. (Laughs.)
DH: But it’s like you haven’t aged, Danielle! Not even a year! How do you do it? (Laughs.)
FF: (Laughs.) That’s actually my question. How do you stay so beautiful? That’s what Hatchet fans really want to know. (Laughs.) Jokes aside, what is it about Hatchet 2 that challenged you as an actress?
DH: Everything. It was actually the hardest role I’ve had because it’s the first lead I’ve had since I was ten, thanks to Adam casting me. I was thrown into Hell from the first frame. All the films I’ve been in before, there is a ramping up period. You start out cute and sweet, then the movie goes on and something bad starts to happen or you have a sex scene, then you get killed. Then you have only two or three days to do the kill scene. You aren’t running or screaming the entire movie. From the first day, Adam was like, ‘There’s going to be a lot of crying. I’m just warning you.’ I was like, ‘I can do this. I’ll be fine.’ Then I opened up that first page and said, ‘Oh shit! Oh God. I am going to be a wreck the entire movie.’ And I was. I mean my character comes from the original where she sees her father and brother dead.’ So I have to stay in that place the entire time.
FF: How much do you hold on to that feeling?
DH: As I get older it gets easier to get into it and harder to get out of it. You wouldn’t know on set and I am a girl too, so I can cry pretty easily. (Laughs.) Not in real life. I think doing it in film is my emotional outlet for some reason. It stays with you though. I’ve had health ailments from it because your body doesn’t know you’re not really running from your life. (Laughs.) I think that was a Freudian slip!
FF: We will do an entirely different interview about it. Why is Danielle Harris running from her life?’ (Laughs.)
DH: I’m saving it for Oprah. (Laughs.)
KH: You’re suicidal and I’m gay now.
FF: (Laughs.) Can you talk about how challenging it is to get a film like Hatchet out to theatres? The perception fans have doesn’t match the reality.
AG: Well, let’s skip how hard it is to make the film and get it funded. The thing is, there was a great period in the nineties where a guy like Paul Bloch from Lionsgate would get a movie like SAW or Cabin Fever for next to nothing, because it cost next to nothing to make, and he would publicize it like it cost thirty million dollars instead of spending that much to make a movie. If you have enough TV spots, billboards and posters then you will have a successful film. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, the remake, they had like thirty to fifty million dollars to advertise with. That’s how you get a strong opening weekend. It’s not like in the eighties where you could have a film play for months and months, then get word of mouth to help it. Reviews almost don’t even matter now. If you buy a strong opening weekend then you’re gold.But a small movie like this, nobody throws money into it. Hatchet was with Anchor Bay and this one is with Dark Sky. They’re trying their best but they don’t have the resources to throw thirty million dollars into this. So you open on two screens or fifty and nobody knows it’s there.
What is frustrating is that a film like FROZEN gets like one hundred thousand dollars advertising. There was one, no two billboards in L.A. and that was it. The movie made two hundred and fifty thousand here but made over two million overseas. Then critics ask, ‘Frozen got such great reviews. So why did it bomb?” You’re like, ‘Dude, it didn’t bomb! You don’t even know what you’re talking about.’ A bomb is when a movie costs sixty million to make, you throw thirty million in advertising and then you make twelve million. Maybe Frozen didn’t make much much at the U.S. box office but it’s going to make so much in DVD sales. That’s huge. Hatchet is a great example of that. It had no marketing and eventually made fifty million in DVD sales and in all the territories. But people don’t see that.
FF: Danielle, the Alamo Drafthouse shows Halloween 4, which was your first starring role, every year. How have you grown as an actress throughout your career?
DH: To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing at that age. I was very mature for my age. I would do just about anything you asked me to, which that hasn’t changed. (Laughs.) I’m totally fine with it. I like to do my own stunts unless they won’t let me. I am getting better at saying, ‘I don’t think I should do that.’ But I had no idea what Halloween was. I just said to my friends, ‘Hey, look! I get to be in a movie. We can go see it at the movie theatre on the big screen.’ I was doing a soap opera at the time but I had no clue about the horror genre or what it was. I was in an acting class but they taught me how to cry by staring at a wall and not blinking. That is how I learned to cry. It was just retarded so I don’t use that technique anymore. But I think I learned how to become an actor by being an actor.
FF: Kane, it seems that some of the acting under the mask that you do demands more respect than a traditional actor, because it goes back to the days of Greek theatre where actors were more expressive. How do you get motivated for that?
KH: It is very difficult to be scary when you can’t use your eyes or face. I’ve seen a lot of guys end up trying too hard because they have to overcompensate for not being able to do normal things. I guess when I did it that it didn’t look like that. I went into this business to do stunts, never thinking I’d be known for any thing other than being maybe a successful stuntman.
DH: Isn’t that so odd? I mean, I say if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan. Who would have thought that we would be here today? It’s so strange to me.
KH: I’ve never had any type of acting training or taken classes. I’ve learned by watching. I did a film called MONSTER with Charlize Theron, who won an Oscar for her role. I was just a stunt coordinator, and played the cop who arrests her at the end, but I didn’t have much to do so I would just watch her. Observing someone so talented, I think I learned a lot from what she did. I don’t mimic it but she and a lot of actors helped me that way.
FF: We definitely look forward to you all being here. It’s a blessing and we appreciate it.
KH, AG, DH: Thank you.