Coming on December 18 from Anchor Bay is Adam Green’s Hatchet (review), which features a TRUE uncut release of the film jammed with truck loads more gore that was removed by those bastaches at the MPAA. B-D editor-writer BC dropped us a review for both the film and the DVD release, which can be inside. I know you guys have been waiting patiently for this movie, but the wait ends this Christmas. Go forth and enjoy, and if you’ve seen the movie feel free to leave some feedback below.
After Scream, a lot of folks said that it had effectively killed the slasher genre, claiming that it was impossible to go back now that it had been sent up so effectively. And many of the slasher films that came along after certainly proved that theory; films like I Know What You Did Last Summer (and its even worse sequel) and Halloween: Resurrection proved to be among the worst in the slasher canon. But Adam Green, thankfully, proved that theory totally wrong once and for all with his superior Hatchet, a film that is just as funny as Scream but doesn’t try to deconstruct the genre along the way. No, if not for some cell phones and mini DV cameras, Hatchet could easily pass for a lost gem from the slasher heyday of the early 80s, alongside The Burning, Friday the 13th 1-4, and even a dash of Halloween.
By now, anyone reading this review has seen the film or at least know enough about it, so a synopsis isn’t necessary (some folks get killed by a monster in the woods, if you must know). The film played theatrically across the country, but some grumbled about having to drive 30 miles or so to their state’s bigger cities (do these people also skip out on seeing concerts and sporting events?), and even those who WERE conveniently located near a Hatchet theater opted not to go because the film had been edited down to receive an R (a poor excuse, for if you have seen both versions, there’s really only 2 points in the film where it was noticeable; and if you hadn’t already seen it, you’d never know a single drop was excised, since the R version of the film was still gorier than most of its peers). Well, now that the film is coming to unrated DVD, there should be nothing stopping almost every slasher fan from adding this into their collection.
In addition to the film itself, which would be worth a purchase even if the DVD was featureless, the extras here are far better than we’ve come to expect from DVDs of late: (commentaries marred by long stretches of silence, “Making Of” pieces that are 90% film clips and 10% everyone stroking each other’s ego, etc). That is not the case with Hatchet. The commentary track is almost as entertaining as the film itself, as Green, DP Will Barratt, and some of the cast get together, drinking something that comes in a can, and share anecdotes and trivia nonstop. The only problem is Green has so many stories, he often begins a new one without finishing the one prior. A terrific track.
But the real meat is the comprehensive behind the scenes documentary, which runs about 40 minutes and packs in more genuinely interesting and entertaining footage than other pieces do with twice the length. Taking the viewer from Hatchet’s original inception (when Green was eight!) up until the release of the film, it’s a great piece that is thankfully light on film clips. I only wish that that interview pieces were shot full frame, like the footage is, because it looks a little strange to see torsos and heads sort of floating in the middle of your screen, surrounded by “black bars” (the extras are not anamorphic, sadly) and black background.
And there’s more! A few other pieces (combined total of another 45 minutes) detail the effects work by John Carl Buechler, a gag reel (which is mostly priceless improv from Joel David Moore), a sweet little story about how Dee Snider came to be Green’s mentor, and the cast’s recollection of the first time they saw Kane Hodder in his Crowley makeup. Finally, there’s a pretty unique piece called “Anatomy of a Kill”. Sort of like the making of, this takes you from inception to execution, but focused squarely on one kill (that of Mrs. Permatteo). How the shot was designed, where the real person was replaced by a dummy, even old video footage of Green acting out the kill with a Gene Simmons doll… it’s all there. I love stuff like this – it’s entertaining and you’ll actually learn something from it (90% of the people who watch these things are probably future filmmakers). And GODDAMN is it great to watch almost 90 minutes’ worth of how a modern horror movie got made and not ONCE have to see a goddamn wireframe animatic of a future CGI shot. Hallefuckinlujah.
Oh, and the trailer’s on there too.
Now, granted, this IS Anchor Bay, so we can probably expect at least one more edition of the film on DVD in the future, but I can’t see the need: This has the most comprehensive collection of extras I have seen on a single disc in quite some time, rivaling great “How’d they get all this on one disc” sets like Shaun of the Dead in terms of equal quantity and quality. The only thing missing is deleted scenes, but for all I know there aren’t any (considering how small the budget was, I am guessing they didn’t shoot anything they didn’t intend to use). If you’re reading this review, you’re obviously a horror fan, so I see no reason why you shouldn’t grab this disc the second it hits stores. One of the year’s best films has now become one of the year’s most worthwhile DVDs.