On Tuesday February 1st HATCHET II arrives on home video (DVD and BLU RAY) in stores everywhere. In some regards it is always sad to finally be “done” with a film as the DVD release is kind of like sending your kid off to college. No more production meetings, no more shooting every day with your friends, no more touring, no more appearances, no more premieres, no more press… just the movie directly in the hands of the fans. However, with this particular film there is a great sense of relief in knowing that the finish line is here. As you’ve read in the national news, on-line, in magazines, and in these blogs… this was anything but a typical rodeo for us. Forget the trials of the shoot (which you’ll soon learn all about on the two commentary tracks and behind the scenes special features) but the epic struggle of being bullied by an archaic and tragically flawed ratings system and the fireworks that went off when we simply decided we were not gonna take it anymore and pushed back. For a movie that was made purely out of love and fun who would have ever thought that what went down would actually have gone down. This was one long hard road to say the least. So as HATCHET 2 arrives on the shelves in retail stores everywhere I say… so long old friend. I love you and I couldn’t be prouder that you stood up for yourself. I’m proud that you had some dignity even though you were in a losing situation.
I’m thrilled that the movie will now be available for everyone, but especially thrilled that it will soon be in the hands of the “Hatchet Army” that we made it for. All over the country Tuesday, fans will be rushing home and tearing off that plastic wrap , scraping that sticker/seal off the side so they can open it, and sitting down to see what they’ve been waiting for. There are fans having viewing parties, fans watching the HATCHET films back to back, fans discussing the twists and turns, but more than anything- there are some HAPPY horror fans out there right now. So to those of you who never got to see it in the theater, I hope you make it a great and rowdy experience like some of us got to have. I hope you have fun. I hope you laugh a lot. And I hope you get not only what you wanted, but what you’re just not getting anywhere else any more. We hear you, we feel you, and we’re right there with you.
A popular question in my fanmail has been about the UNRATED versus RATED versions. After all, if an R-RATED version could be created for DVD… why not for theaters? One particular rental outlet (that makes a very large order for films) does not carry UNRATED films. Period. Therefore, Dark Sky Films had no other choice but to create an MPAA approved R-rated version exclusively for them and I fully understand and support that. It’s no different than how films have to be edited for television because of their “TV rules” or edited for airplanes because of their “standards and practices”. OK, so why not edit it for theaters and play by the MPAA’s rules there, Green? Why refuse to make changes, break the rules, and wind up causing such a stink? My answer to you there is two fold. First of all, when we were struggling to try and get an “R”, AMC theaters started “AMC Independent” and agreed to play the film Unrated in a monumental and groundbreaking event. Were we gonna say “no” to that or think they would turn their tail when inevitably this became controversial? And second of all, at least there is consistency with the rental outlets, TV, and airline rules. If a movie has to be adjusted for a certain outlet- that’s fine. But with theatrical ratings there is ANYTHING but consistency or fairness. I urge anyone who questions our decision to check out this R-rated version after you’ve seen the UNRATED version and tell me what you would have done. (Note: Hatchet 2 was released in theaters on October 1st but didn’t even REACH an R-rated verdict until early December as the battle was fierce and long.)
The R-Rated version is missing not just a lot of the “good stuff” but ENTIRE MOMENTS. Without spoiling too much, how much would you have loved the seven foot long chainsaw scene if right when the chainsaw got put to use… it cut to the next scene and you never saw what happened? How much would you have enjoyed seeing _____ get _____ in the ___ a mere 3 times instead of the full 30 times like it is in the real version? And that’s not even half of it. The entire tone of the film is destroyed by these imposed cuts. But the real problem was this: HATCHET 2 for all it’s gory glory is not a disturbing film or a realistic film in any way. There is stuff playing in theaters that is far more extreme, depraved, mean spirited, disgusting, and violent than anything you’ll see here, and that stuff all gets an R provided that it’s got some “push” behind it. Our independent film was being held to a very different standard and we were instructed that we were going to have to completely destroy it in order to play along with the rest. Then we were going to have to support it, endorse it, screen it for fans and critics and act like it was all OK in an effort to try and get you guys to pay for it? Sorry, but I couldn’t have done that. It’s an age old fight (just a few weeks after HATCHET 2 was yanked from theaters prematurely, Harvey Weinstein sued the MPAA over their unfair treatment of BLUE VALENTINE’s rating and won, but sadly I don’t have his kind of power or money), but YES a distributor creating a different version of a film to please ONE outlet is a hell of a lot different than a distributor who destroys a film for full theatrical release in order to get an imposed arbitrary rating that makes no sense.
We tried to get an R-Rating before theatrical, believe me we did. But when you see what they were asking us to do (should you ever come across this R-rated version) you’ll see that it was a vile massacre. I applaud Dark Sky for having the balls to stand by the movie and put it in theaters and on DVD and BLU RAY unrated and intact as no one else would have done that.
And here’s the other deal, folks… Dark Sky can do whatever they want even if I DON’T agree. While I appreciate the perception that I have Steven Spielberg’s power over my films and their releases… please trust that if I had even a FRACTION of that kind of influence then films like FROZEN would have been on 2,000 screens and marketed in a way where everyone saw it advertised and knew that it was out. So yeah, if Dark Sky needs to offer an R-Rated version in select rental outlets or eventually on a TV network, etc… I’m absolutely fine with that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Dark Sky was an amazing place to work with and the most filmmaker friendly organization I’ve come across yet. I look forward to the next project with them, I sincerely do.
With that I say- know what you’re getting and what the differences are between the Unrated version and “that other version”. Enough said.
Enjoy, have fun, and THANK YOU for supporting original horror. Every movie ticket, DVD, Blu Ray, rental, or PAID download is your voice telling the powers that be that there is still an audience for this stuff. Every DVD you buy helps ensure that you just might get to see more of this kind of stuff from the filmmakers that want to make it for you. Now enough with the reading… don’t you have a slasher movie to go watch? Get off your computer and onto your couch!
And have a blast going back into his swamp…