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Adam Green is the director of Hatchet. I spoke to him about his career, the horror genre and his talked-about new film Frozen - which is now playing in limited release.
It's not hard to find fans of the horror genre who're dismayed at where it's been going lately - endless sequels and remakes, toothless rehashes of onetime-iconic entries like Saw or Ringu and a general lack of effort and respect all around. What is hard to find are fans who're doing something about it. That's where you separate the men from the boys - and that's where filmmaker Adam Green comes in.
Though only in his mid-30s, the Holliston, Mass. native has already worn - and continues to wear - a lot of hats: heavy metal singer, stand-up comedian and Hollywood DJ to name a few. But it's as a film director that he's currently best known. He may not be a household name - yet - but if you run in the circles of independent film and independent horror film in particular, you've probably heard his name and you've definitely heard about his breakout film, Hatchet.
Set in the waterlogged Louisiana Bayou, Hatchet was a throwback to 1980s slasher flicks, in which a group of stranded tourists are trapped in the swamp with a hulking, deformed, hillbilly serial killer. In many ways, it's a quintessential fan-made horror entry: self-aware to a fault, show-offishly gory and packed with genre-star cameos and other fanboy references. Pretty enjoyable, if you're in the right frame of mind, but not precisely a "classic." Still, it caught a word-of-mouth wave on the festival circuit and was released with much fanfare (for its genre and budget) by indie horror specialists Anchor Bay in 2007, billed succinctly with the words "Old-School American Horror" plastered proudly above the image of an axe on the poster.
Once you see it, the reason behind the hype becomes crystal clear: Whatever you may think of the overall product, it's obvious that Green knows his stuff. On a technical level, Hatchet plays like highly-polished professional work, and it turned Green into a major name in the horror realm. Unfortunately, name or not, there isn't exactly a plethora of worthwhile material kicking around out there. Green was offered - and heard of other offers - work with the studio assembly lines of horror remakes, but thus far hasn't taken part.
Not that he's ideologically opposed to remakes; he speaks highly of John Carpenter's The Thing, itself a remake of a 1950s classic, but he didn't see a way to make good films within the parameters being set by the studios. In particular, he recounts one studio's proposal for a remake of An American Werewolf in London: No mixing comedy and horror, no good guys becoming bad, and no werewolves - or, at least, "No people turning into anything hairy with a snout." Why do American Werewolf at all, then? "They have the name recognition," offers Green. Apparently, that's all they want.