Fright Exclusive Interview With HATCHET/HOLLISTON Director Adam Green!
Director Adam Green has definitely been prolific since bursting onto the horror scene with 2007’s HATCHET. Since that film, he’s directed multiple films (SPIRAL, FROZEN, HATCHET II, CHILLERAMA), releases a Halloween-themed short every year, is in the process of making a documentary, DIGGING UP THE MARROW, and is getting ready to premiere season two of his horror-comedy TV show for FEARnet, HOLLISTON. Green’s been a longtime friend of Icons (read his previous interviews with us here and here), and we were happy to be able to chat for a bit again about what’s in store this season on HOLLISTON. Read on!
Hey Adam, how’s it going?
Hi Jerry!, how are you?
I’m good, thanks. Season two of HOLLISTON is set to premiere next month on FEARnet. What can fans expect this time around?
They can expect more and better everything. With season one of any TV series, you have to spend so much time setting it up and getting everything into motion, introducing the characters, their relationship, and even just the tone of the show. Since we only had six episodes in season one, we really had to try to cram all of that in there. Now that the stage has been set, and especially now that we’ve had a year to hear the reactions and to hear what people liked about it, this year we kind of just hit the ground running. Yesterday, Deadline Hollywood posted the first two minutes of season two and I think people can see that there’s more gore and comedic violence in those first two minutes than almost all of season one. It’s a really really good time.
One of the things we learned from season one, which was great, was that we don’t need to be afraid of the heart and the sentimental stuff from time to time. That was really evident in the Christmas special. That was a special, I don’t think the actual show would ever get so dramatic as the Christmas special did, but that was the best response that we’ve had to anything yet, and for most HOLLISTON fans, that’s their favorite episode. Knowing that, we didn’t try to hold back this time around. In season one, we’d have an emotional story-point, and we would debate “should we blow through this quicker, should we cut it down?”, but I’ve always believed that horror fans are people too, and they would actually respect and enjoy seeing horror fans portrayed as real people. If anybody knows what it’s like to be rejected or feel like an outsider, or like your dreams aren’t coming true, or that you’re not going to get the girl, it’s us. I think that’s why we’re all such a strong community, and that’s what was the biggest thing that people responded to with the show, aside from the comedy and the horror cameos. Now, with season two, just from the first couple minutes, you can tell how the confidence level has just raised for all of us.
Speaking of the cameos in the show, HOLLISTON has its feet planted deeply within the genre, with various horror icons guest starring a lot. When writing an episode, do you write it with specific people in mind, then ask them if they’re down, or do you just write an episode and then alter it to whoever guest stars?
I’d say 99% of the time, it’s written with specific people in mind, and I’ll have conversations with those people before writing it. A great example would be the “Candyman” episode. It’s not like I could write that episode for just anybody and see who we could plug in, it was VERY specific for Tony Todd, so I had to talk to him first. Season one was a little trickier, because you’d have to explain what the show was going to be. Now with season two, everybody’s seen it, and now it’s made it a lot easier, because we’d have to turn people away. People kept saying “How do I get in on this, I really want to do it too”, and I really have to thank Tony Todd for that, since he was so fearless in terms of portraying himself as a horrible human being.
The big thing this year, is that we have Danielle Harris and we have Kane Hodder, and right out of the gate they were like “Just make me worse than Tony! I want to be portrayed as even worse than him”. That’s made it really fun, but with season one, it was like “so we’re doing this TV show for FEARnet, they’re a new cable station, you might not have heard of them, but it’s a multi-camera sitcom with a laugh track” and they would always be like “wait, what?, who’s in it?” and I’d say “uh..Joe Lynch and I?”..and they would say “Are you serious?”. Now that people have seen it, it’s a lot easier in terms of getting those cameos. That’s one of the really fun things about doing the show, taking those people who are specifically known for horror, who have never in a million years done a multi-camera sitcom like this and giving them the chance to do it, and they love it. When you become an actor, nobody is ever thinking “ya know, what I really want to do is play a killer in a horror movie and only be known for that for the rest of my life”, everybody wants to do a variety of things, so this is really giving people that playground.
Do you have further seasons in your head already, will it continue if fans keep loving it, or will the show end as your filmmaking career takes off even more than it already has?
It’s hard because I have another six season ready to go basically. They’re not written out, but with a TV show, you have to have an endgame in mind, of some sort. You have to know what you’re building to and where things are going to go. Joe Lynch and I are really the only two who know that, because I write all of the episodes myself, but before that happens, there’s always weeks, if not months, of us getting together and beating out storylines and character arcs. The hard thing about TV though, is that you never know when the plug is going to get pulled. Any show, when you get cancelled, is always devastating to everyone involved because it’s kind of a second life, then it’s like “that life is going to end now, sorry.” The good thing about this show is that the way that we do it, it doesn’t interfere with the filmmaking stuff. As people have seen, while making these first two seasons of HOLLISTON, I’ve made HATCHET II, CHILLERAMA, HATCHET III, I wrote KILLER PIZZA for Chris Columbus and MGM, and I’m already shooting DIGGING UP THE MARROW. Joe’s doing EVERLY, Corri starred in two horror movies, Laura has another TV series, it doesn’t ever stop the filmmaking side. When the show was first announced, there were quite a few articles that we read where they were like “What, are they just going to do this?”, but it’s not like an NBC show where you’re shooting and working on it ten months out of the year, we only shoot for two months, if that. I’m obviously on it a lot longer, because I write it, and post-production, but I’ve always been able to balance it and do multiple projects at the same time. I am going to try to slow down a little bit, but that’s doctor’s orders, because I’m not faring well health-wise with not sleeping for several years (laughs). There’s always a way though, to do both.
I can tell you though, when we do season three, if we do a season three, it’s not going to happen instantly. Joe has EVERLY shooting this summer, I’m shooting DIGGING UP THE MARROW and also another project that hasn’t been announced yet, and also Corri is having a baby in four weeks. She keeps saying that she just needs a month, then she’ll be ready to go, but for all of us, that baby is the most important thing in this world, so we want her to have time. So, if we do a season three, it might be a little while before we do it.
You and the other cast members have hit the convention circuit pretty hard this year, and like you’ve always done, you’ve signed stuff for fans for free, is it important to you to not make fans fork over an arm and a leg for stuff from you?
Yeah, and it’s always a point of contention with other celebrities, because I’m the only one who does that. Thankfully, my cast for HOLLISTON feels the same way and is willing to do that. It’s nothing against the other people who do that, I totally get it, it’s just not for me. It’s not that I love fans more than they do, it’s just a personal thing and I don’t believe in it. For that reason, I don’t do that many conventions usually. There are conventions year around, and I’m quite often asked to come but I usually say no, because 99% of the time I can’t, I’m very fortunate to be in production on different projects year around, but I also just don’t really like doing them. Most of them treat the fans not how I would like to see them treated. The whole thing with “if you spend this much money, you can sit here, but if you can’t afford it, you can sit in the back”, I just don’t get it. There are some of them that do a fantastic job, and really do cater to the fans, and the guests. I normally reserve doing them for when it lines up with promoting a specific project.
Since March, we’ve been hitting it pretty hard because with HATCHET III, and season two of HOLLISTON coming out, it just made sense. We consider that part of the promotional process, so we do these tours, and we try to do every single one of them that we can, because we’re not on NBC, it’s not like there are billboards and buses everywhere, or national commercials for this show. Really the only way people know about it, is form our PR people doing their job, and by us getting out there and showing people, even performing episodes live at conventions. Horror Hound in Cincinnati is a great example. I think that was the biggest horror convention that has ever been held, supposedly there were 17,000 fans at that one, it was HUGE. We signed for a good seven hours and had to turn away a good 300-400 people at the end because the convention was closing. We did a live performance of an episode and there were a good thousand people in the room, I think it sat 800 and there were 200 sitting down. What’s unique about this show is that you can do that, it’s not like we could act out HATCHET III, with HOLLISTON, it’s a sitcom, it’s a lot like a play. So we’ll do a reading, and what’s really cool about it, is that I’ll write an episode specifically for that convention, and we’ll write in a male guest star and a female guest star, and we’ll choose people from the crowd to fill in those roles. I think fans appreciate it, because if you really think about it, we’re performers, so instead of sitting at a table charging people to sign a movie you did 20 years ago, why not perform for them? I know a lot of people do standup and stuff, so why not just do something, and not just make it a cattle call for photos and autographs?
The first HATCHET was released over half a decade ago, and since then it’s now up to a third film in the franchise. When you thought of the story years ago, did you expect it to be so well received by the fans?
No, in fact, everything was telling me that it wouldn’t. When I wrote the script, it was really my answer to the state of the genre at the time. I just wasn’t getting what I wanted. I loved a lot of the stuff coming out, but the trend at the time, it was always either a remake, a torture film, or a PG-13 movie. I have nothing against PG-13 movies, I’ve made PG-13 movies, but a PG-13 slasher movie? That’s like making porn without sex. If it’s a slasher movie, there should be slashing in it. I wrote HATCHET, which was percolating in my head since I was eight, and when I first showed it to my agent, they didn’t get it. They said “It’s really funny, but it’s really gruesome and violent, you sort of have to pick one or the other..”. I told them “That’s the point, remember the movies in the ’80s?, they were fun, it was a fantasy, with a killer and great makeup fx”, and when it was taken to different places, there’s the classic story that everybody knows by now, the rejection letter that said “We love the script, but we would never make this because it’s not a remake, it’s not a sequel and it’s not based on a Japanese film”. That was a legitimate rejection letter from the studio, so of course I made that the tagline on the poster, when we did festivals. I was thinking “ok, this is clearly not what’s in right now, so maybe nobody’s going to be into it”, but as it turned out, there were a lot of people who did like it and was happy to see a movie like that again. It certainly didn’t reinvent the wheel in any way, shape or form, it just did it again, but in my voice.
When the first one came out and was the success that it was, and we got to do a second one, I was elated, because I ended it a certain way, knowing what the sequel would be. I intentionally held specific things back in the first one, in the hopes that there would be a sequel, and even for the third one. Now, in my head right now, I don’t have a fourth HATCHET movie. That doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be one potentially, but these three movies, this was always the plan. The fact that it actually got to happen, and came to fruition, and to even take it a step further, Dark Sky Films, our distributor, what I love about them, is that they understand that these are cult movies, and that there’s a specific crowd for them. Not everybody’s going to be into a movie like HATCHET, and thankfully, the fanbase is massive enough that they can afford to do this and let us make the movies FOR the HATCHET fans. They don’t give me notes and ask how we could broaden the audience a little bit with this one. It’s a very unique situation and will probably be one of the only times I’ll have that.
Awesome, well thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us, definitely appreciated.
Season two of HOLLISTON makes its premiere Tuesday, June 4 at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT on FEARnet, and HATCHET III will be available nationwide On-Demand and in Select Theaters June 14 from DARK SKY FILMS.