The Old School American Horror Panel from SDCC: Horror Gets a Punch in the Face (and So Does an Icons Reporter)

It was roughly 6:00 in the afternoon when I stepped into the press meeting room for HATCHET 2. I immediately felt like I was amongst ‘my people’ and quickly dropping my ‘member of the Press’ persona. I proceeded to trade a few snarky quips with AJ Bowen and then collapsed into a chair.  Across from me, Kane Hodder was eating a late lunch and sitting to my right was my old friend from my high school years, HATCHET 2’s Key SFX Artist, Rob Pendergraft.   I was there, originally, to get a few pre-panel interviews but after hours of scrambling around and pushing my way upstream like a furious salmon in a hygienically unsound ocean of costumed nerds, all I wanted to do was sit down.

Almost immediately, Rob Pendergraft slid me a bottle of 5 Hour Energy Drink Black Label.  I felt like he was slipping me some kind of top secret contraband as I have never even tried the stuff, let alone this extra strength black label concoction.  He said he has been sipping on his own dose all day.  All day?  Those must’ve been baby sized sips.  I took a whiff and a sip out of this shrunken black bottle and almost gagged.  5 Hour Energy, my ass!  More like 5 Hour Regret because for the next 5 hours it seemed like I couldn’t get that nasty taste out of my mouth.  Pendergraft just laughed at me and took the bottle back, saving it for later as he was planning a drive home around midnight. 

When Adam Green was done giving an interview to a camera crew, he seemed to make a B-line straight for me.  He probably was heading for the coffee or to talk to someone more important than I but I seized the moment and took it upon myself to introduce…uh….myself.  We had a cool little talk that touched a bit on horror movies and the funny horror short films he has up on the Ariescope website.  If you get a chance, I highly suggest watching JACK CHOP and FAIRYTALE POLICE.  Once horror was out of the way, we spoke mostly of one of my recent obsessions, the Western themed video game RED DEAD REDEMPTION.  He stated he hasn’t had time to play it yet due to his schedule.  One of these days, he and I will be in the same outlaw posse and play online together.  Yes, this is a goal.

Before I knew it, 30 minutes went by and the HATCHET 2 panel was set to start.  On my way out, I stopped by Kane Hodder and asked for a handshake.  He gave me a growl and glare as a response, so then I stupidly offered my face up for him to punch.  His growl quickly stopped and his face lit up.  He promised it would be a gentle one and then, along with the bad taste from that energy drink, a red mark lingered on my face through the night.  But hey, I can say Kane Hodder punched me in the face.  Not everyone can say that.

We moved over to the room 32ab where I was lucky enough to get a front row seat.  Damn right!  Front row!  When Adam took the mic, he told us he was 8 years old when he originally thought of the idea for HATCHET.  It has become one of the more successful of the modern day slasher movies.  Throughout the panel, he showed a lot of content that added up to eight kills from the movie.  He then informed us the movie contains a total of seventeen kills. 

After he world premiered the red band theatrical teaser trailer, he introduced the panel.  First person up on the panel was Pendergraft.   Adam praised Pendergraft’s work by saying all the best kills from HATCHET were done by him. Now on HATCHET 2, Rob has taken the reigns as the key makeup/effects artist, launching his own Special Effects Studio.

Adam next introduced our friend AJ Bowen.  Check out this video clip from the evening.  First a punch and now the finger.  I think I give off a certain pheromone. 


Rounding out the panel was Adam’s new wife Rileah Vanderbilt;  Parry Shen returning as his dead character’s twin brother;  R.A. Mihailoff better known as Leatherface from the third TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE;  Danielle Harris taking over the role of Marybeth; Tom Holland;  and finally Kane Hodder.  Jason Miller, 2nd Unit Director and co-producer on the movie,  was helming the video clips.  Tony Todd was not able to appear on the panel due to a family emergency.

After the panel introductions, Adam explained how he wrote the movie after he already knew who he was going to cast. Usually it’s the other way around in the filmmaking business.  This provided a better understanding of how he would write the characters in the script. He called people he liked, actors that he wanted to work with.  This made auditions unnecessary.

When Tom Holland was asked about his experience acting after a 25 year sabbatical, this was what he said:

When speaking of Danielle Harris’ role as Marybeth, Adam said his warning to her was “Be prepared, you’re going to be thrown into hell from page 1.”  HATCHET 2 begins exactly where HATCHET ended, with Marybeth right in the thick of the action. 

Kane then went on the record about HATCHET 2.  He said the first HATCHET was one of the favorite movies he’s ever worked on.  He then compared it with HATCHET 2 to by saying, “It’s better.  It’s fucking better.  I kill 9 people in the first one, 17 in the second. Tony Todd’s part as Rev Zombie is bigger. The script, story, a lot of things are explained. It’s great to see and an unbelievably fun movie.  The last 11 minutes are the best 11 minutes I’ve ever seen in a horror movie.”  


Green then shared some exclusive news, by first explaining the hard time he had with MPAA to get the first HATCHET an R rating.  He went on to compare the MPAA’s view of torture porn with a fun horror film by saying, “Strap a girl down and rape her for 30 minutes, that’s fine.  But God forbid a swamp monster with a gas powered belt sander chases a bunch of comedians in a swamp and kills them in Monty Python-esque ways…that’s where we draw the line.”  HATCHET 2 will not be getting an R rating. The MPAA says none of the movie can be done.  The good news is they just got a major multiplex theater chain to play HATCHET 2 when it’s released. More details on this news will probably be announced soon.  Adam finished by saying, “We took a little power away from those fucking cunts from the MPAA”.

Well said, Adam.  Very well said.


–Aaron Pruner