Interview: Adam Green – the creator of Victor Crowley.
Posted in June 7th, 2008 by The Bludgeoner in Interviews
Ask me what I think of Adam Green I’ll reply with two words – “fucking legend”.
Adam Green is the creator & director of the insane horror film Hatchet and co-director of the very disturbing Spiral with one of Hatchet’s stars Joel David Moore.
Adam Green was nice enough to take the time out of what seems like a very busy schedule to answer some questions in great detail and is even nice enough to repost this interview in his blog with a link to HorrorMovieFans!
Enough intro – check out this interview with the creator of Victor Crowley himself, Adam Green-
1. Victor Crowley, a legend from the beginning. What do you see for the future of this amazing character?
I purposely left a lot of information about Victor Crowley out of HATCHET as I always intended for there to be sequels and I wanted those sequels to actually propel his story. For instance… why is he deformed? Is he a ghost or did he never really die? Where was his mother growing up? What was up with that look he shared with Marybeth in the middle of him killing Shawn with the shovel? Do they know each other? There’s a lot more to him that will be revealed, and I’m excited because it was all planned out from the very first draft.
When there is a HATCHET 2 or 3- they will be films that actually count. They won’t just be “Victor Crowley kills new tourists”. The first one was a tremendous success for Anchor Bay and we have been going back and forth for months trying to figure out how to best go about doing the sequel. Unfortunately, my schedule is now so jam-packed that in order to get HATCHET 2 completed and out there for the fans quickly enough- there’s a chance I may have to pass the torch to someone else. Ideally I’d love to stick with the HATCHET series as it’s mine and I love it dearly, but not if it means that I’d have to half-ass a film because I couldn’t fully dedicate my life to it or do it the right way. HATCHET fans are extremely passionate and so many of them are personally attached to not only the characters, but the people behind the scenes who made it happen (thanks to that amazing UNRATED DVD package with all of those documentaries). I want those fans delivered to. I want everyone who loved and supported HATCHET to get what they deserve when the sequel happens. Not something that’s thrown together with no soul because the title “HATCHET 2″ alone will make some distribution companies richer. So if it’s not me at the helm, you can bet it will be someone whom I personally think can deliver the goods.
In terms of tone, I went very heavy on the comedy the first time around as it was my way to set the film apart from generic slasher films and to try and inject some life into characters that are typically just a ‘body count’ in this genre. But as you could tell from the bleak and ‘what the fuck?’ ending of the first one… things are going to get a lot darker. If I write and direct the next one, you can bet my sense of humor will still be there in places- I mean, come on… we’re dealing with a deformed madman who uses things like a gas powered belt-sander to kill people! But it’s heading into a dark and twisted place, no doubt.
2. Which horror movie first got you into the genre?
I think the first one that my older brother ever showed me was FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2. But oddly enough, it was the films I sought out immediately after that one that really developed my love for the genre. For instance, John Carpenter’s THE THING was a marvel of movie making that had me dissecting the actual production (“how did they do that?”) and it really started whetting my appetite for potentially making a horror movie some day when I grew up.
It’s the same for a lot of people my age. You start with the slasher films. But then the addiction kicks in of wanting to find a movie that will actually SCARE you and you search far and wide in the video store. It’s like drugs- always trying to beat that first high. You search long and hard, you uncover a ton of turds, and then all of a sudden you find THE SHINING and you rejoice in the afterglow of shitting in your pants and you say “YES! That’s what I was talking about!” Or you find THE EXORCIST and you are never the same. For me personally though, my holy grail or horror is still Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. One of the few flawless films ever made and it STILL stands the test of time. I know every word, I watch it several times a year, and it gets better every time.
3. What is your favorite horror movie kill?
Oh man, that’s tough. John Buechler’s “sleeping bag” kill in FRIDAY THE 13th PART 7 was always the reigning champ until they tried to re-hash it in JASON X and ruined it’s cool factor for me. Check Russell’s “human puppet controlled by veins” in NIGHTMARE 3 is an all-time classic, too. Most recently I really dug Joe Lynch’s “body split in half” at the opening of WRONG TURN 2 and Ryan Schifrin’s “face-bite off” in ABOMINABLE. Those are all deaths that make me want to cheer and they didn’t rely on bad CGI to pull them off.
But is it bad if I also say “Mrs. Permatteo in HATCHET”? I mean, I could try and be cool and keep throwing out other movie kills- but I’m sorry. That whole one-shot head torn in half with no CGI is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen done- even if it is in my own movie. It’s one of the very first things I thought up for HATCHET back when I was just a little kid and to see it realized on the screen is just a boner-inducing experience every time. I could rip HATCHET to shreds around that scene- but for those 10 seconds at least, I am always at ease when watching the movie.
4. What is your favorite band?
That’s even tougher. At this point, after 30 years of listening to music and going to concerts, I have narrowed it down to 5. TWISTED SISTER, METALLICA, AEROSMITH, MARILYN MANSON, and GUNS N’ ROSES. But I will tell you this- I have never missed a MINISTRY show when they were anywhere nearby. It is a godly experience. Thankfully, last month’s show here in Hollywood is supposed to be part of their “farewell tour”. I sincerely hope that they don’t ever come back because I don’t know how much longer I can sustain the abuse. Every year I go and I say that I will hang towards the back and just watch…and every year I come home bloodied and bruised up for days.
5. At a concert – mosher or stadium seats?
I never really know. I actually prefer to be seated slightly far away from the stage so that it SOUNDS right. For instance, I’ve seen AEROSMITH in the front row a few times now, and as cool as it is to have Steven Tyler spitting all over you- you can hear Joey Kramer actually hitting his drums- and then the sound of his drums through the amps a split second later…and it’s tough to follow.
I also like to be able to move from side to side of the stage. For instance if I am at a TWISTED SISTER show- there are songs I want to be on front of Mark Mendoza for (like when he beats the shit out of his bass on “Shoot ‘Em Down”) and songs that I want to be in front of J.J. and Eddie for (like “The Price”).
I’ve seen MARILYN MANSON in the front row enough times to never have to do it again. It’s just too much “bare dude ass” in the face for me. Now I try and hang towards the middle, especially when they launch into “Great Big White World” which is still one of the greatest live songs of all time. I’ve seen MANSON over 20 times now and that song still gets me right in the heart.
When it comes to moshing, I always say I am not going to do it. But much like MINISTRY shows- I don’t keep my word. I went to GWAR last year and came home covered in purple shit and wearing only my jeans and one boot. I have no idea where the rest of my clothes went. All I know is that my girlfriend made me change outside before I could come in the house. Depending on the band, I can come home pretty beat up sometimes.
It’s also gotten weird now that people tend to recognize me. At an AEROSMITH show, the chances of being seated next to a fan are slim to none. But at a GWAR show in Hollywood? It’s not as easy to blend in and it can get annoying fast once the sweaty dude next to you is like “Holy shit! Are you the HATCHET dude?” I just say my name is Bob Balls and I have no idea what he is talking about.
Sometimes it works.
6. Favorite place or way to party?
I feel like I am away from home so much that when I do get time off I prefer to stay on the couch or just go to the movies 4 or 5 times a week. I invested in the most bad-ass home theater stuff they make and I put it to damn good use. To me, when I can shut off the phone and just watch movies alone with my girlfriend- I’m enormously content. Though I hate to admit it, I’ve even become quite the XBOX gamer and I’ve been known to spend up to 8 hours at a time on Halo with my friends. There’s this whole circle of writers, actors, and directors who are on-line almost nightly- and no, I’m not giving out any gamer tags!
I know for some people it’s a let down to hear, but I’m actually not much of a partier in terms of going out or drug intake. For my 30th birthday, I was given so many bottles of booze it was ridiculous. And 3 years later- almost every single one is still in my bar, un-opened. In fact, aside from the basics like having some drinks or the occasional smoke- I’ve never even tried any serious drugs. And I’ve had fans actually get HURT when they hear that. They’re like “Say it isn’t so! You’re the guy who made HATCHET and you don’t even do [insert drug here]?!” I’ve got 2 things to say to that. First of all, why do you care what I put in my body or not? And second of all, I never admired artists/musicians/directors/writers who tried to sell their drug use off as a defining thing that makes them “cool” or something that makes their work better. I’ve got a lot of young fans and if I can be a positive example- that’s great. I don’t knock it, I just chose not to do it. (And if I DID, I probably wouldn’t celebrate it publicly or brag about it.) That being said- I’ve seen HATCHET with audiences that were completely stoned or drunk…and man is it fun. Our last night at Tribeca- there was a cloud of pot smoke over the line of kids waiting to get in. It was at that point where we all sorta knew the movie was working.
What’s funniest about this subject is that we have this whole “Fright Club” of horror directors/actors/writers who hang out on a fairly regular basis. People are always like “Holy shit- I’d love to be invited to one of those parties- it must be crazy!” It’s so not. We all meet up, go support whatever horror movie is out that weekend (even if we know it isn’t good or if we have already seen it), and then…I don’t know…play ROCK BAND? Don’t get me wrong- it’s not like we’re completely straight-edge or anti-everything…it’s just not a big part of our scene. (Or if it is…I’m too oblivious to know it.)
Though the parties and drugs may not be as glamorous as people like to assume, I will say that we horror filmmakers have some damn fine girlfriends/wives. How these beautiful girls wound up with such a motley crew of dudes is beyond me. And in every case, it was well before we ever had any success. I guess hot chicks just dig geeks.
When I’m touring and doing conventions or festivals- I’ll make the best effort I can to go out, do it up, and hang-out all night. In fact, one time I remember being at a bar in Dallas and realizing I was sitting with 6 of the dudes who played “Jason”. I wanted to tell the waitress but I assumed she wouldn’t believe me. On the flight back from that convention I was sitting amongst all of the Jason’s, some Hills have Eyes mutants, Elm Street victims, Victor Crowley, 2 Leatherfaces, Candyman, Freddy…it was surreal.
But at those weekend conventions- as soon as I feel uncomfortable or like I am getting cornered and interviewed by a fan- or even worse, solicited with their pitches or ideas- I flee. So remember that. If I wind up hanging with you and your buds at 4am at a horror convention drinking beers and telling stories- don’t ruin it for everyone else by trying to hand me your screenplay or asking me personal questions about my girl.
Lastly, how’s this for lame- I’ve probably hung out with James Gunn 4 or 5 of the weekends for the past 2 months. You’re probably like “holy shit- that must be crazy! Green and Gunn!” But what do we do? Eat cheese, maybe drink some wine, and tell funny stories to whoever else is around that given night and isn’t tired of listening to us yet.
When Dee Snider and I went ‘out on the town’ in San Diego at Comic-Con- we went out for ice cream. Have I ruined the dream enough for you all yet? This is fame, folks.
7. James Gunn – what a genius – what did you think of Slither?
SLITHER is one of my favorite movies of the 2000′s and is America’s biggest cinematic shame in the fact that so many horror fans didn’t show up for it. Yeah, you guys will go see fucking PROM NIGHT or WHEN A STRANGER CALLS in droves- but something as massively entertaining as SLITHER or GRINDHOUSE and you “fans” are too busy standing in-line for the next remake to come out and support it.
When I do appearances I like to call “fans” out on their bullshit. I’ll ask “who in this auditorium saw THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2?” and all of these hands will shoot up. Then I’ll say “Who here supported BEHIND THE MASK when it was in theaters?” Not a hand will remain in the air- and it will be in a city where the movie was most certainly available and playing. They’ll try and give me bullshit excuses like “There were no TV commercials” or “I didn’t know”…you know what? For the majority of America- yes, you are right. Anchor Bay does not advertise their films like the major studios do- so yes, the average movie-goer does have an excuse. But if you paid over $100 for a ticket to a goddamn horror convention and you are sitting there in your “FULCI LIVES” T-shirt- you have no excuse that you “didn’t know BEHIND THE MASK was out”. You’re either a poseur or a sell-out. Don’t complain about the state of horror on your precious message boards if you’re one of the ones contributing to what the studios are doing.
Guess what folks- they don’t keep hitting you with PG13 remakes because they LIKE them. They keep making them instead of original R-rated horror because YOU keep supporting them. All they want is your money. The fans control what gets made. Remember that the next time you line-up for a cheesy remake that you know will suck. You’re pulling the switch on the gas chamber of our genre.
8. I have to ask – what do you think of Platinum Dunes and their films?
Platinum Dunes are a good bunch of guys and I actually think they have made some really good films. Here’s why I can say that- they don’t pretend to be anything they are not. They openly admit that they are making their fortune on the remake craze and they are cashing in while they can- and I can respect that because they really do try and put a lot into their films. The TEXAS CHAINSAW REMAKE? I loved it. FRIDAY THE 13TH? I’m looking forward to it! I am not anti-remake at all. Where I draw the line is when the rest of us can’t get a fucking original movie green-lit simply because it doesn’t have a “pre-packaged title that fans will definitely pay to see” according to the studio’s research.
The rejection I got from a major studio for the script for HATCHET that said “we love this, but unfortunately it will never get made because it’s not a remake, it’s not a sequel, and it’s not based on a Japanese one” sums it all up. In fact- I put it on the festival poster for HATCHET because I thought it was a great statement about the state of our genre and I thought that it was a great way for the movie to wink at itself and let the audience know in advance that it had a sense of humor.
But Platinum Dunes is trying and they do actually care about the movies they are putting out. Yes, so far it’s all remakes- but at least they try and make them worth it which gives me faith that when they dive deeper into originals- they’ll hit a few home runs. The bottom line is- because of all of the financial support the fans have given the remakes…they will continue to be made. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET? Sorry folks, it’s getting made whether we like it or not. And if Platinum Dunes came to me tomorrow and asked me to do it- I would. I’d rather gamble on myself trying to do it justice than anyone else out there- and I know at Platinum Dunes it wouldn’t be a heartless joke. They’re gonna try to do the best they can. And don’t lie- even if DREAD CENTRAL and AIN’T IT COOL and BLOODY-DISGUSTING all condemn it…even if you spend 20 hours a day on your message boards saying it’s gonna suck…you’re all gonna go see it.
9. What cartoons did you watch growing up?
I spent 90% of my time playing with my Star Wars toys when I was a kid. TV didn’t do much for me. But I still love Tom & Jerry to this day. How awesome is it when Tom does that specific yell? You know, like when he burns himself or drops something heavy on his foot? But goddamn do I HATE it when they are friends! Whatever TV exec came up with that idea needs to be shot. It’s like you’re enjoying yourself some violent cat and mouse action, and then all of a sudden they’re FRIENDS for an episode? Fuck off.
One of my favorites that few remember were the Mighty Heroes. It was a short cartoon that showed up during Mighty Mouse every so often. I had a punk band in the mid 90′s called THE MIGHTY HEROES PART 2. We had songs like “Hairless Rats”, “Stabbing At My Bleeding”, and “Now I’m Naked.”
10. Who is your favorite director (horror or non/horror)?
Steven Spielberg- hands down, across the board, no question. It may be cliché since he’s pretty much everyone’s favorite director in my age group, but the man is responsible for so much of who I am and the film’s that shaped my life. Not only is he the man who made E.T. (my favorite movie of all time and the reason I make movies today) but he’s also always presented himself as an honorable and tremendously good “soul”. That’s who and what I want to be.
Others who have hugely influenced me are Alfred Hitchcock (probably the most talented filmmaker of all time) and John Landis because he was able to cross genres and cross them WELL. If I could have the career that Landis has had and get to jump from comedy to horror to drama…I’d be one happy filmmaker.
Ideally I just want to make what I feel like making and never be put in a box where I can only be allowed to do one thing. That’s why you’ve seen me be very careful with my projects. I followed up HATCHET immediately with SPIRAL- a night and day difference. My next film is a ROMANTIC COMEDY. Sorry folks- I gotta do what I want. There’s plenty of more horror coming eventually though.
11. What is generally the most difficult part of a film shoot?
Getting to the point of shooting. Every movie has it’s pitfalls on set, but if you can actually get to the point that you are standing there shooting your film and the coffee on set is hot…? You are one in a million. Even if you have a great script, a good track record of films behind you, and a name actor attached- you still have to jump through flaming hoops to get to the point of shooting.
The development process can feel as if you are walking through landmines. Here you have your vision and your goal- and then everyone just gets in your way and tries to put their own imprint on it or stop it from moving forward. It’s like football. You have the ball and you run it into the end zone. Maybe you’ll make it and score a touchdown, but chances are you’ll take some major hits and get some unappealing bruises along the way in. Very few running backs get a flawless run from one end of the field to the other.
The major flaw in the system is that the “suits” who make the financial decisions are not filmmakers. They are people who went to business school and who got into their positions by answering enough phones for enough people to eventually get promoted to “development executive”. I’ve met plenty who don’t even LIKE movies anymore. And these are the people making the crucial calls in Hollywood!
If you can navigate all of that and still keep your vision somewhat in tact- you’re in a great place. When it comes to the shoot- you just do the best you can with what you have. If you only have a few days to shoot and a little bit of money- embrace it and do what you can. To stand there and whine that you don’t have enough time and money is just lame. You’re getting the chance to make a movie, dude! Do what you can and try and enjoy the process!
The biggest hurdles and problems are all in getting the movie up and running. But no one talks about those issues. When you watch the special features on a DVD, they show you how they shot stuff…not the years and years of struggling to get it made. The meetings where nothing gets accomplished, the conference calls where 10 people talk over each other but say nothing, the deals where you get completely ripped off, the times that you were lied to and the movie never even got shot, different links in the chain that all lie to you about how much money they have actually made or spent, and the endless waiting for things to move. That’s where the true frustration lies.
Or what about when the producers want you to direct a movie for them- but the studio executive says “no” because this movie is a comedy and your last movie was a horror movie. OK- so you’re telling me I can pull off 7 hour shoot days, with no money, make-up FX, fire stunts, under water shots, boats, kids, animals, at night in a parking lot I turned into a swamp…see it through to win awards, get rave reviews, get a theatrical release…have it make a shit load on DVD…but that I couldn’t possibly manage to direct a 10 million dollar movie where cute people say cute things in front of the camera? Oh no, that makes total sense.
Development is wicked hard.
12. Where is Adam Green heading for the future? Any new projects up your sleeve?
I just produced a horror film called GRACE that newcomer Paul Solet wrote and directed (in theaters in 2009), I am currently writing the animated AQUAMAN movie for D.C. Comics/Warner Brothers, and I am in pre-production on my romantic comedy GOD ONLY KNOWS which Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures is producing with my company ArieScope Pictures.
As if that’s not enough to kill me- I just finished a new horror screenplay that I can’t talk about yet, I’m attaching myself to a really fucked up horror movie that I can’t discuss yet, I am negotiating HATCHET 2 which I can’t discuss yet, I’m working on a top secret horror project with some other horror heavy hitters, and I’m also doing some short films on the side for fun. One of which includes a full-on light saber fight between my girlfriend Rileah Vanderbilt (“Young Victor Crowley” in HATCHET) and Clare Grant (“Valerie” from VALERIE ON THE STAIRS). Hot.
So basically I’m heading to either the hospital or the asylum with a nervous breakdown. But this is how I like it. What was the name of the Ozzy album? NO REST FOR THE WICKED? Or was it NO MORE TEARS.
I’ll take both.
A very big thanks to Adam Green for taking the time out to do this interview for HMF.com – it’s most appreciated. You can check out Adam Green’s most entertaining and informative blogs @ http://www.myspace.com/ariescope.