Welcome to the all new ArieScope.com! For over twelve years now, our friends at Daykamp have designed and run our website and what you’re looking at is their latest work. It’s the end of another era for ArieScope Pictures and we figured it was due time for a complete overhaul to coincide with our next steps moving forward into the future.
Well, we’ve got a lot to discuss don’t we? First and foremost I’d like to point out that our 12th Annual Halloween Short Film is now live in the “shorts” section here. It’s called JUST TAKE ONE and as one childhood friend of mine eloquently pointed out, it kind of sums up everything that the ArieScope Halloween shorts have been about over the years; the joy of celebrating the little things that make Halloween the greatest and most important holiday ever. Obviously with the huge success of JACK CHOP last year there was a lot of pressure on us to do another JACK CHOP short, but that would have been too easy and thus defeated the very purpose of why we make the Halloween short each year. We do this for the fun and the challenge of making something new out of nothing. By now you all know the rule of “one night, no money, just for fun” but what you have also hopefully noticed looking back over the years is that we always do something completely different. Sure, everyone with internet in New England is demanding another JACK CHOP short, but had we done the same thing two years in a row it just wouldn’t have been as fun for us. Will there be another JACK CHOP in the future? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But for now, enjoy something completely fresh and original and have a safe and happy Halloween as always. Just remember, if you’re trick or treating this year and you come across a bowl with a sign that says “just take one”… well, just take one.
By now a lot of my loyal fans have noticed that I’ve been dropping off the on-line social networking grid slowly but surely. So why is that? As explained on my (now defunct) Formspring page… I’m essentially consolidating everything down to a few select places. So while the old shells of my pages on places like MySpace and Formspring are still there… I am no longer personally there. Quite honestly it’s just become way too hard to keep up with it all, especially with so many different avenues to access me. With each movie’s release comes a whole new legion of fans that join the party, and while I couldn’t be happier about that and while I welcome all with wide open arms… there is a tremendous difference in trying to write back to a few dozen letters each week and trying to read and respond to a few hundred a week. In fact, it’s physically impossible. But even more importantly is the fact that physically and mentally I have not been feeling well for awhile now. Forget all of the stress and suffering that came with my recent cinematic crucifixion and very public censorship battle (don’t worry, we’ll get to that)… it’s been a long last few years and I work myself to death as most of you who have been with me for awhile know. I can’t even list all of the projects I have going on right now or even name all of the cities I’ve been to over the past few weeks supporting HATCHET 2 and FROZEN worldwide… but it’s a lot. A wicked lot. Over the past year I’ve realized that I don’t even have a hobby any more. I rarely do anything for “fun” that isn’t somehow work related. Forget time with family and friends, I wasn’t even making a single moment for myself. Now it’s hard enough to find free time with all of the work and crazy hours that come along with this career path and there’s just not much anyone in my shoes can do to change it, save for making the most of those few free moments you get. But I was in a pattern where I never gave myself the chance to even have one of those free moments. When I would wake up ass-early from the few hours of sleep I might have happened to get, I’d find myself running to the office computer and spending hours responding to people on-line before even starting my actual day. Every free moment I’d get, I was chipping away on-line trying to keep a handle on it. I only wanted to make sure that I wrote back to every single person who wrote to me. I took great pride in the fact that I was accessible beyond accessible. I was proud that every fan always got a great response.
But with each film’s release it would get harder and harder to even read it all, let alone respond to it all, and by the middle of this past year I just couldn’t possibly keep up with running from page to page to answer the mail on each one. I would still try my best but fail. And even worse was that there was a very, very small portion of fans that just couldn’t understand or even cut me some slack. The real kicker came when I was on my honeymoon this past summer and I was not responding to the fan questions on my Formspring page. I explained I was taking my first vacation in many, many years and celebrating my new marriage with my wife but that I would be back on-line in a matter of just 10 days. I actually got angry letters from a few fans saying that it was “bullshit to not reply for that long”. And then let’s not forget the event just a few weeks ago that was so outrageous that it even made New York Magazine. To sum it up for those that missed it, my film FROZEN had hit the bit torrent sites and was getting stolen at an alarming rate, but to make matters worse a select few of my OWN “fans” had no shame in writing to me directly and telling me that they had just stolen my movie from me. They were so self entitled and felt such little responsibility for what they were doing that they didn’t even think it might be a bad idea to tell me “hey, I just stole from you”. When I responded explaining how illegal downloading is just like stealing from me and how it puts my career at risk (Folks, if I don’t sell enough tickets or DVDs or rentals- I don’t work again) I actually got HATE MAIL from some “fans”! Yes, you read that correctly. Messages like: “Aren’t you rich enough you greedy Jew?” Or brilliant arguments like: “I pay $60 a month for internet – so you owe me your films.” Or my favorite: “I steal your films because I love them. So it’s OK.” It caught the attention of a journalist for NY Magazine who did a piece on it and while his intention was to put a real person (me) behind what so many piraters consider to be a victimless crime, sadly the tone of his article and the sound bytes he chose to use (and in one case he took my words majorly out of context) just made it all even worse. I don’t even want to waste my time going over all of that again, but getting back to the point of why I am consolidating the various ways to reach me- that was just another instance that made me see how much time and energy being accessible to everyone was costing me. There has also been a few scary folks who are ruining it for everyone else by getting a bit too stalker-like. I obviously can’t get specific or in depth on any of that, but I can tell you that other associates of mine have already had to hire private security to protect themselves from similar types—and man, I just don’t want to have to deal with that. It is SCARY. I’m just a dude who makes movies and entertains people. Honestly, I’m not even that famous. Quick! Hey look! There’s [INSERT MORE FAMOUS CELEBRITY HERE]! Go stalk him/her!
Now, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. I LOVE MY FANS. Let’s say it again to make sure it’s clear. I. LOVE. MY. FANS. Those who have paid to see each of my films in theaters, who buy my films on DVD or Blu Ray, who have written very gracious and beautiful letters to me, who have sent me generous gifts, who have shared their own art with me, who have tattooed Victor Crowley or the Hatchet Army logo or even (yes) the ArieScope logo on their flesh, who have waited in a line for hours to meet me at an appearance, who have come out to hear me speak, or who have approached me just when I’m out on the street having a private moment with Rileah…. they can all attest to the fact that I’m always friendly, happy, and accommodating. In fact, in some cases I actually think I might even be more excited to meet YOU guys than you might think you are to meet me. You have given me a life and a career that I only could have dreamed of and I will never take that for granted. As I said in my introduction to HATCHET 2 in London this past summer, the fact that I now get letters from soldiers fighting over seas (my own personal heroes and the people I look up to in ways beyond what my mere words can express) thanking ME for what I do… that’s the stuff that keeps me going. So my cutting down on the ways to reach me and my trying to seclude away into a slightly more personal and private life is in no way me saying I don’t appreciate everyone like I used to. No, no, no. In fact I appreciate everyone now more than ever, especially given the outpouring of support my fans just gave me over the past two weeks with HATCHET 2 getting pulled from theaters. My fans literally carried me at times when I just didn’t even want to stand up anymore. But in general… don’t I deserve to be happy and have a personal life sometimes, too? Can’t I take my wife out to dinner or goof off with my friends for a few hours here or there? Can’t I spend a night watching those TV shows that you get to watch? Maybe play that new video game that everyone is talking about? I think that’s only fair. And bare in mind, I’m not disappearing from you all. I’m just consolidating the ways to reach me so that it is more controlled and manageable. Since I first said I would be doing this whole “dropping off the grid” thing, 99% of my fan base have voiced their support and understanding for it. Which just goes to show you just how normal and wonderfully human most of my fans actually are.
So from here on in the ways to reach me are gonna be a little different. I’ve taken a lot of advice from friends in the same boat as myself as well as advice from friends in far bigger boats than my own and now I’m acting on it. Starting today I will be blogging HERE on ArieScope.com (my official site) exclusively and much more frequently than I have been over the past two years. There is a fan mail address on the OPERATIONS page of this site. If you write me a letter and include a self-addressed stamped envelope, you’ll get a personal response and a free autographed photo from me. Yes, it’s very old school- but it works and it’s more controlled. I’m not personally checking my old MySpace page. I closed my Formspring page. My personal Facebook page is now over it’s limit of allowed friends (they cap you at 5,000) so if you’re not already a friend there, sorry but there is nothing I can do. There is an official Adam Green fan page on Facebook however, and that page has no limit on friends so if you’re a Facebooker- please fell free to add that one.
That really only leaves Twitter- which (for now) I am KEEPING. Why Twitter? Well, because the communication on Twitter is in such short bursts that it’s a great way to update folks on what I’m doing and I’ve found that fans on Twitter aren’t offended when they don’t get a personal response back every time they say something to me. Mainly because a “tweet’ is usually just a quick, fun message or question as opposed to a long heartfelt letter. To me (and most celebrities who use it) Twitter is just a fun thing to do and an easy and cool way to stay in touch with everyone. So that’s the deal. I’m still here. I’m still accessible. I’m still the same guy. I’m just taking a tiny bit more time for myself so that I can actually enjoy all of this great stuff I have going on with my life now and, of course, buckle down and focus on all of these amazing upcoming projects that I am so lucky to be involved with.
Well, I can’t wrap up this blog without acknowledging the HATCHET 2 debacle that took place two weeks ago. Let me preface this by saying very candidly- you’re not going to get all of the details and all of the truth that I wish I could scream from the rooftops in what you’re about to read. Why? Because I’ve been advised by my legal council and by everyone on my team of representatives to keep my mouth shut from here on in and not make the whole thing any worse. Really, Green? Even on your own personal blog you can’t speak freely? My friends… I’m a fighter. As you’ve seen, I just took on a fight with a GIANT that no one else ever seems to have the courage to stand up to even though they all sure do love to complain about them a lot. Every inch I’ve gotten in my career so far was one I bled for. But part of being a good fighter is knowing when to stop swinging and when to block. And right now I’m in a very scary position. I mean, hello—my film was ASSASINATED two weeks ago in front of the world. Go on, name me some other independent films that were pulled from screens in their first weekend starting on their opening day and then entirely by the end of their third day because “they weren’t meeting box office performance hopes”. Come on- name them. Oh, you can’t? Man… that’s weird. Wonder why that is?
(Adam Green Censored! Photo by Ama Reeves.)
“Independence limited, freedom of choice is made for you my friend
Freedom of speech is words that they will bend
Freedom with their exceptions.
Doesn’t matter what you see, or into it what you read
You can do it your own way, if it’s done just how I say.”
Well then, what CAN I say about it that you haven’t already read on CNN, the Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, or some other website? When I made HATCHET 1 I wound up getting put through the ringer before it could go to theaters. The stories of what I went through are already out there- in interviews, commentary tracks, etc- but long story short, I had to butcher the film severely in order to get the required “R” rating from the MPAA that is needed in order to exhibit the film in mainstream theaters. (Note: The MPAA states they are merely a guideline for viewers and not in any way a censorship panel… however their imposed ratings are the final word on every film’s theatrical life. Fair? You tell me.) If you read my blogs than chances are pretty good that you’ve seen HATCHET 1. But for one second I want you to pretend that you aren’t an “Adam Green fan” or even a “horror fan”. Pretend that you don’t even like this stuff. Look, it’s easy for me to preach to the choir but even if you don’t like horror films, anyone with half a brain can look at a movie like HATCHET and tell that it is all meant in silly, lighthearted, gory, fun. How in this day and age where we have movies labeled “torture porn” and movies where children are shot at with guns, women are brutally raped, animals are abused, scenes are created to try and disturb/disgust their audiences, and there is an underlying mean spirit to all of it… can HATCHET – a movie with a swamp ghost that kills comedians with a gas powered belt sander in Monty Python-esque ways – get an NC17 rating yet some of these other films skate by with an “R”? Well, what’s the difference (aside from the fact that those films are actually far more realistic and disturbing than HATCHET)? The difference is that “those films” are put out by major distributors and studios. And please note, I am not condemning those films. I love horror. I love most all of it and I believe every film has the right to exist if it’s made with dignity and responsibility. However what I am offended by is the fact that not all films are judged and considered equally when it comes to the arbitrary ratings system. How can realistic rape and torture violence be considered OK but fantastical/comedic over the top gore gets the NC17 hammer? Seems like the problem isn’t so much about content as it is the size of a film’s distributor. I can’t make specific accusations, but it’s no Hollywood secret that something is outrageously flawed with the system and that it needs to be changed. But what happened in 2007 is done and there’s nothing more I can do about that. Well, except hold a grudge and urge all of you to see Kirby Dick’s documentary THIS FILM HAS NOT YET BEEN RATED as soon as possible, I suppose.
So here we are in 2010. The fans had demanded a sequel to HATCHET. The first film had become a huge success and amassed an enormous following worldwide. After passing on doing a sequel several times in order to make other films (SPIRAL, GRACE, FROZEN, etc) I found myself itching and ready to go another round with my monster Victor Crowley and finish what I had already started and do what I had always hoped to do when I made the first film. We got the band back together and we had a BLAST. We laughed our asses off while we painted the screen red with fake blood and guts and we found even more outlandish and over the top ways to kill characters on screen all with old school effects. Just like the first film it was all in good fun and not a frame of the film could be taken seriously or even pointed at in a realistic way. To my cast, my crew, and especially myself- we look at the HATCHET films as an alternative to what is happening in the genre on the mainstream level lately. Remakes, torture, depravity, or PG13 horror-lite. HATCHET is old fashioned FUN. The fans that pay to go see it laugh, scream, applaud, and cheer. Guess what? They don’t do that for anything else out there right now- at least not on this kind of level. I got to see HATCHET 2 with many sold out or full theaters in various countries over the past few weeks… and it played like a full-on concert. Most importantly, everyone walks out SMILING. The HATCHET films don’t punish or disturb their audiences.
But once again, our little independent horror/comedy film got slapped with the dreaded kiss of death and the “you can’t play your film in mainstream theaters now” NC-17 rating. I cut a MINUTE of gore out of it. (That is a TON, folks.) We got another NC-17- but this time with some suggestions on areas that “needed to be toned down”. Looking it over we all agreed that (much like the first HATCHET) the whole tone of the film was going to be changed by these imposed edits. If we were to get an R we were going to have to destroy the film. Just like the first time.
Dark Sky Films (HATCHET 2’s distributor) made a decision to decline the MPAA’s verdict and instead go out unrated. I couldn’t believe it! I had always assumed we would go straight to home video in an instance like this, but low and behold the people who financed the film actually had our backs! We were all blown away by Dark Sky’s dedication and character. Now going out without an MPAA rating would normally condemn us to merely arthouse cinemas, however Dark Sky found a way to get the film out in the major theaters that it deserved to be in. In conjunction with a brand new program called AMC Independent from AMC Theaters (and some wonderful enthusiasm from a few key folks there who believed in the film) HATCHET 2 was to become the widest release of an unrated horror film in over a quarter of a century. On October 1st we were going to make history! Talk about a different experience from 2007’s debacle! But the triumph was short lived as you all know by now.
In the weeks leading up to HATCHET 2’s release the focus of most every single interview, film review, and story became the fact that the film was defying the MPAA’s system and going out unrated. There was talk about this being the first small step to eventually changing the way indie films are distributed and especially changing the game for genre films who often go under the knife in order to be exhibited in mainstream theaters and get that required “R” rating. And of course at the center of all of the controversy- was yours truly. As always I spoke very honestly and candidly about my opinions of the ratings system. I spoke very openly about how I felt about my experience with HATCHET 1 trying to get an “R” rating. I went public with details of my appeal trial against the NC17 rating on HATCHET 1.
Then some people involved on the theater exhibitor’s end started getting nervous and very angry. I was told to curb it and to curb it fast because my personal opinions of the MPAA are not those of the folks involved with exhibiting the film and they wanted no part of that. I honored that and respected that. From that point on a publicist was on every call and whenever I was asked about the whole “unrated in major theaters” thing- I would shut up and a publicist would instruct the journalist to contact AMC directly if they wanted a comment about that. We had a system down. But then on the day before HATCHET 2 opened, an old interview that I had done (something recorded before I ever knew that I had to be so careful about expressing my disdain for the unfair ratings system and how it treats independent cinema) hit the web and the same people who were already nervous and angry got REALLY angry. I got scathing emails from certain folks- HOWEVER…. in the defense of the person sending them, the way the article in question was presented online and the way my words were arranged- it did make it sound as if I had said that AMC was the place that had come up with the idea of going out unrated- and not Dark Sky. That’s incorrect, that’s not what I said, but that doesn’t matter now. In the article it certainly LOOKED like that is what I said. And now (from what I could tell) people were scared for their jobs and pissed at me. Now you’re probably asking yourself, why would any theater chain be so scared of angering the MPAA if the MPAA is only a “guideline” and not an organization directly tied into the studios and theaters themselves? Well, that’s a great question. It’s weird, huh? But still- the point is, those were MY opinions and not those of AMC. Dark Sky (HATCHET 2’s distributor) made the choice to go out unrated, NOT AMC (the exhibitor) and so on their anger over the media article- I gotta side with them on that and agree that they had every right to be unhappy with it. As someone who gets misquoted a lot, I know the feeling of reading something that alludes to something untrue and I totally saw their side of it all.
So with a ton of heat, controversy and all of those internal problems- HATCHET 2 hit theaters on Friday October 1st. Everyone involved was sick over all the controversy and problems already… but the reviews were great, the support was admirable, and we were hearing from theaters that were packed as well as theaters that were virtually empty. Unfortunately some theaters treated our “unrated” like an “NC17” and had someone guarding the door to card each patron. Firsthand in Los Angeles I saw a whole ton of kids turned away at the box office for not being 17. When they then bought tickets to another movie and tried to sneak in to HATCHET 2, they were thwarted by a guard at the door. This was happening at many theaters across the country. In fact one packed screening in New York was largely comprised of fans who had all bought tickets to other films just so that they could get in to HATCHET 2, but that’s all to be expected with a situation like this. Then on Saturday morning I heard from some Canadian fans that HATCHET 2 had already been pulled off the screens in Canada the night before, without explanation. We tried to find out details. We got no response. On Saturday I started hearing from more fans saying that their theaters were only showing the film at night or that it was also gone. By Sunday night we had no idea what was going on and on Monday morning we were told the movie was totally GONE. The reason given to the press? “Box office performance.”
BULL. SHIT. Was HATCHET 2 breaking box office records? Absolutely not. Was it doing pretty fairly given the size of its release and marketing? Sure. Was it doing fairly given that so much of its audience wasn’t let in or had to buy tickets to other films to get in? Sure. Was it doing BETTER per screen than some other films it was up against that weekend which had bigger budgets and national TV commercials and billboards? Yes. More importantly- how does one even figure out an accurate per screen average for HATCHET 2 when the screen count was constantly dwindling throughout the weekend and we had all of those other random problems (screens only showing it once or twice instead of all day and night)? And since when does the first 70 hours of box office take on ANY film’s release suddenly dictate whether it lives or dies? Plus, isn’t the whole thing with an indie film that it’s gonna need word of mouth, strong reviews, and time for people to find it since it can’t afford the big commercials and billboards to buy a huge opening weekend like the studio fare? Is a FULL WEEK that much to ask? Where is the precedent for this action in the history of cinema? Nowhere, of course.
Now AMC has not officially commented any further and everyone and their Mom is trying to get to the bottom of it. What’s been funny to see online is that if someone didn’t like the movie- they claim the whole thing is a publicity stunt or a conspiracy theory. There are actually people online (and these aren’t just anonymous shit talkers- but actual legit websites, folks) who know so little about the stuff they write about that they would actually accuse a tiny distributor like Dark Sky of dropping a SHIT TON of money on promoting and releasing a film on 68 screens and then PULLING it themselves right away to “get attention”. Now let’s think with our heads here. How is that a GOOD or financially sound plan at all? I’ve turned down commenting to many a huge magazine or news outlet- mainly because there is NOTHING I can do now except keep adding fuel to the fire. What happened speaks for itself. One could argue that other movies that fared far worse than HATCHET 2 per screen that weekend (another genre film only made $300 or so per screen yet stayed in theaters) only got to stay in theaters because of their specific deals with the theater chain- but again, show me another example of what happened with HATCHET 2 happening before. And really… are we supposed to believe that its just sheer coincidence that the controversial unrated movie with the “bad boy” director who was publicly asking for CHANGE in the ratings system happens to be the first movie pulled during it’s first weekend of release? Come on folks. Wake up. You tell me what happened here.
But in closing here’s what I’ll say and then I really, really want to let this go and go enjoy my life:
AMC Theaters- thank you for taking the chance and trying something different by releasing HATCHET 2 in your cinemas unrated. While I know the reason given for pulling HATCHET 2 is not the real reason it was pulled, for argument’s sake I’ll play along for a quick moment and say this… In the future, I hope that a program called “AMC Independent” doesn’t make a habit of pulling independent films after only a few hours at bat based on their “box office take” not being the same as that of a studio film. Give the films you play a real chance if you’re gonna do it at all. But again, it seems very likely that “box office” was just an excuse to pull a movie that was causing unwanted controversy and that just didn’t seem worth the risk financially. But what do I know? I have nothing to do with your business. I just frequent your theaters and enjoy your popcorn.
To Dark Sky Films- let’s do another movie some day. You’ve been nothing but great to work with and you’re one of the only truly “filmmaker friendly” companies out there. The whole genre is beyond impressed with you. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
To other filmmakers and fans- don’t be persuaded or disenchanted by what happened. Don’t look at this and be scared to try to stick up for yourself in the future all because you’re looking at me on the cross this week. I’m sure there are people behind the scenes of all of this controversy that are hoping you’ll buy into their whole message that “the movie went out unrated and it was such a financial failure that it got pulled right away” story- but don’t buy it. There are powers at work here that would love nothing more than to make other artists and fans fear ever trying to do what I did again. Folks who think that with HATCHET 2 so quickly snuffed out that this type of scenario will not be one they’ll have to contend with again. Don’t be deterred and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourselves if you ever need to. Don’t be scared to support what you believe in. Me? I’d take one of these virtual bullets or another cheap sucker punch like this ANY day if it means standing up for what I believe in and I would hope that you all would do the same.
And as for me? Well, looking ahead to all of the projects on my plate and all of the dreams I’m still chasing… I kind of feel like this whole debacle may possibly be the last time I’ll ever have to face this particular problem. I suppose you never know, but in all of the foreseeable projects I have on the horizon (horror, comedy, drama, inspirational, documentary, you name it) none of them are “gorefests” like HATCHET or HATCHET 2. But even watching HATCHET 2 get screwed over like it did I can tell you that if I should ever get picked on again, I will swing back again even if it means losing. At the end of the day this whole thing was really a story of a very small Davey standing up to a very powerful Goliath. And in my mind the very fact that HATCHET 2 played in mainstream theaters without one of their ratings or without changing it’s content based on their “editorial suggestions”… well that’s a VICTORY for American cinema. So don’t mourn me and certainly don’t mourn HATCHET 2. Instead, give yourselves a round of applause for making the first tiny dent in the system and helping ring in a little thing on its way called “change”. (And save those ticket stubs! They’re historic and they’ll be worth something someday.)
HATCHET 2 is playing as limited engagements in various arthouse theaters around the country right now and it will be coming to On-Demand, DVD, and Blu Ray just as soon as we can get it there. Expect word of HATCHET 2’s street date in a few weeks.
This blog is long enough but I know I still owe you all some wedding pictures and some news on all of the other projects. Stay tuned and I’ll have it all ready soon. As I said above, now that I have narrowed my internet presence down I plan to be blogging here a lot more frequently.
Happy, happy Halloween to you all!
Love, love, love-
“Who the hell are they to say
What we can do and how we can play?
We got the numbers, we got the might
We got the strength, and we got the right
We got the reason, we got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant.”