HATCHET: UNRATED DIRECTOR’S CUT DVD
If you’ve frequented this or any number of other horror related websites, it’s safe to assume that you’ve heard quite a bit about Adam Green’s directorial debut, HATCHET. For the full details on the movie itself, you can check out our original FIRST LOOK review HERE, but to briefly summarize – HATCHET is about a small group of people that take an ill-fated boat tour into the swamps of Louisiana, only to get stranded and stuck in the remote portion of the woods that also double as the haunting grounds for Victor Crowley, a horribly deformed legend that literally tears anyone apart that crosses his path! Boasting a cast of fun and humorous characters, as well as some imaginative and over-the-top gory kill sequences, HATCHET offers up straight-forward “old school horror”. Now, by “old school”, Green himself points out that his goal was to simply re-capture the fun spirit of the “slasher” films we all collectively grew up on. Think of HATCHET as a FRIDAY THE 13th sequel if the characters were all relatable, hilarious and fleshed out. Add the type of kill sequences that were often cut out of films of that sort, and you’ve got HATCHET. Let’s take a nice, extensive look at what the DVD for HATCHET has to offer!
The Unrated/Uncut version of the film: For the few of you that caught this in its theatrical release, rejoice! Every single one of the kill sequences are fully restored here to their complete, bloody glory. Surprisingly, the R cut wasn’t drastically that cut down, but you will notice an extra couple of seconds on each kill that add just a tad more punch, and an nice extra spurt of blood. The most noticeable is the kill in the cemetery, which on top of pulling the arms off of one character, now ends with the same character getting his head smashed against a mausoleum. Ouch! Again, the movie isn’t anything new or groundbreaking for the horror genre, but it never attempts to be. It’s just been so darned long since we’ve HAD a movie like this in theaters. And every time I caught it in theaters, it played fantastically with a full on, rowdy audience. My recommendation is to pick up this DVD, invite over a dozen friends, break out some beers and enjoy. Your thirst for humor, nudity, a monster and gore will be quenched in full.
The Making of HATCHET: Adam Green and his crew have this amazing ability to immediately make you feel like you’re a part of the HATCHET family. Seriously, as soon as you start watching the making-of featurette that leads off the disc’s extras, you can’t help but feel as if Green is one of your old childhood buddies finally getting the chance to make the horror movie he’s been talking about for so long. This featurette covers the whole journey right from the beginning. From the crew’s move to their first ever production office, to Green talking on the phone with Robert Englund for the first time, to the actual production, all aspects on the making of the film are covered and it feels like you’re watching a friend’s personal home videos. He defied a lot of odds just to get the film made, and then once on set, you can sense (and witness) the overall excitement & enthusiasm of everyone involved. (It’s contagious! Even to us, the viewer at home.) You can’t help but smile when Green gets giddy and starts cheering after every take as if he’s at a rock concert. You’ll definitely have a new-found appreciation for the movie the next time you screen it after meeting all the wonderful, genuine people involved in its creation.
Meeting Victor Crowley: We’d heard from several of our interviews with the cast that Kane Hodder (HATCHET’s Victor Crowley) really, really gets into character. So much so that he refused to let anyone see him in the make-up until the cameras were rolling to help capture all of the actor’s initial reactions. Well, we get to see all those stories for ourselves in this featurette via candid on-set footage. And sure enough, Hodder is bundled up like little Flick from A CHRISTMAS STORY as he coordinates stunts. Then he hides out and a mere few moments before Green shouts out “action”, we can hear Hodder yelling, growling and grunting in the background to get into character while the cast nervously pace back & forth awaiting the inevitable appearance of their on-screen killer. At one point, Kane even makes Joleigh Fioreavanti cry from fear of him! And later on, we get to witness Kane pulling practical jokes on everyone in the cast. (There’s one in particular pulled on Mercedes McNab, with a little help from Joel Moore, which is hilarious!) I’m sure it must’ve sucked to be an actor at the mercy of Hodder and Green’s humor, but watching this in retrospect must be as much a blast for the cast as it is for us!
Guts & Gore: Here’s a nice featurette discussing in great details all the kill sequences of the film and how they were executed and pulled off. It starts out with everyone recounting their personal favorite “kills” and even covers the on-going on-set debate weather a gas powered belt-sander could actually be feasible. This is the featurette where John Carl Buechler gets giddy with the gags he was able to let loose for and gives some much-deserved credit to the film’s FX crew.
Anatomy Of A Kill: The Anatomy Of A Kill featurette focuses on the creation and execution of one of the films most memorable sequences, the jaw-rip kill. Green starts out by demonstrating how the scene would be shot using a Brittany Spears doll and a KISS action figure (Gene Simmons subbing as Victor Crowley for the purposes of this reenactment). It follows through to Will Barratt in the production offices explaining how they’re going to pull off the shot practically. And then ends with us seeing them film the shot, and put it all together. It’s a swift look at how an idea comes together and becomes a reality.
A Twisted Tale: Ah, the infamous Dee Snider story! If you’ve ever been to one of Adam’s convention appearances or checked out his interviews, he often shares this heart warming story about the friendship he’s developed with his childhood hero Dee Snider over the course of becoming a filmmaker. Here, it’s told in his own words, but with the added bonus of getting Dee’s perspective on the whole relationship. It’s actually quite surprising, because in the same way that Snider was a huge influence and inspiration to Green, it seems that Green also did the same for Snider in these past few years. They now hope to work together in the future. People should get a kick out of this featurette.
Gag Reel: Ah, the first gag reel that literally features gags! Sure, there’s the usual flubs and mess-up’s we’re used to from the typical gag reels, but this also offers Joel Moore attempting to make himself puke numerous times for the sake of his “art”! Check out our interview with Joel where he explains the “vomit story”. (Or just enjoy it in all its glory for yourself here on the DVD!)
Audio Commentary: Commentaries are always hit or miss. Depending on who’s involved and what they feel like opening up about. My favorite commentary of all time is the one on the EVIL DEAD 2 DVD, mainly because Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are joking up a storm, sharing fun tid-bits and making sure to point out every terrible mistake they left in the movie. This is almost on-par with that wonderful commentary track! It starts out with Green and HATCHET’s cinematographer Will Barratt laughing, because in typical HATCHET fashion, the transformer to the building where the commentary was being recorded blew and they lost all power. They explain that thanks to Barratt’s “MacGyver skills”, they’re getting power threw a series of extension chords that Will’s rigged to his car battery. It’s a pretty hilarious way to open a commentary, but also keeps in the spirit that these two will do anything to keep the show going! And after about 15 minutes, they do luck out and get power restored. Shortly after, the pair are joined by stars Joel Moore, Deon Richmond and Tamara Feldman. While the group genuinely seems proud of the film and are having fun recounting various stories about the production, Green can’t help but point out every flub, mistake and cheat that’s on screen, which makes for an honest, candid and educational commentary track.
Added Bonus? Trailers for both HATCHET and Adam Green/Joel Moore’s follow-up film SPIRAL. Judging from the trailer to SPIRAL, it definitely looks more in the vein of a Hitchcockian style thriller. Having two completely different types of horror movies on his resume in the span of the year prove that Green is definitely a filmmaker for us to keep our eyes on.
All in all, look… I love this movie. I love all the features on this disc. And by God, I even enjoyed the commentary. This one is definitely worth buying and deserves to be added to your ever-growing horror DVD library! –Robg.