Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hatchet III: The Year of THE GORE Continues!

I have hated the first two Hatchet films. This may surprise just about every goddamn one of you except those of you who have heard me go on mini-confessionals on Facebook. Why did I not enjoy the first two installments in this series that has now been made into a trilogy? It felt forced. It took all that I loved about the late 80's slasher cycle and cleverly pasted it together, hired all my favorite people to perform in it but in a somewhat lackluster fashion and then tried to win me over with clever kills. The clever, disgusting, amazing kills have always worked for me with this series. There is no question that the effects work is top notch, that Kane Hodder performs extremely well and coordinates all of the stunts perfectly.  Adam Green is a gore man. I myself am a gore man. I enjoy his other works just fine outside of the Hatchet series. Well, I now enjoy the Hatchet series or at least I've taken my first step in that direction. Hatchet III is simply put... fucking awesome.

So what has turned me off about the first two? Figuring that out for real would make me feel less in need of therapy. It's the character, Victor Crowley, that I have detested so much. The look. The roar. The gate. I didn't like Victor Crowley did not appeal to me in the same way that a Jason Voorhees or Fred Kruger appealed. Jason was quiet. Cool mask. Great kills. Fred was obnoxious and creative. Nice glove. Amazing kills. Crowley has the kills, but there's nothing special "attracting" me to him. He just big dumb strength. His guttural yelping is Frankenstein, but dammit he isn't Frankie! The strangest thing that comes out of me going through this analysis over and over again is it's always something different. There's always a new reason why I can't feel Hatchet I and II. I'll watch them again and I won't even mention the growl. Maybe it's like Piranha 3-DD. Maybe it's bad timing meeting up with an expectation level that is not befitting of a movie like Hatchet. Maybe it's a standard set that cannot be reached, unattainable (notice I didn't say a "high" standard).

I think that this period of my life, the Hatchet hating period, has ended because in watching Hatchet III I am now a very satisfied horror fan. Did Victor undergo some  transformation or makeover to which I am now drawn to him? Have I become more sympathetic in my old age? No. I am, in fact, becoming the cynic my parents told me I would be. What happened was I got to sit down and enjoy a Hatchet movie without hype or critique, without the weight of ten thousand screaming slasher fans opining on the film. I was able to sit down and enjoy it. Splat on screen and creative kill after creative kill and overdramatic acting, intentionally funny at times.

Danielle Harris and co. all put on standard Hatchet performances. There is no reinvention of the wheel. No Tony Todd this time around which may actually be a reason I didn't like Hatchet II... Tony just didn't do it for me. This time you have Zach Galligan (you know... Gremlins... Waxwork), Caroline Williams (um... STRETCH! from Texas Chainsaw Massacre II) and Derek Mears (the OTHER Jason Voorhees actor in the film). I like these people. A lot. I was just thinking about Caroline Williams after watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre II at Hudson Horror Show this past week and thinking that I needed her in more movies. Horror movies. Halloween II, sure, but let's get her in a starring role.

I'm gonna keep this simple because I just want you to go watch this movie. I laughed when I was supposed to laugh because the movie is funny with the type of black humor I enjoy. I cringed ever so slightly as bodies were strewn about the screen in that way that people sometimes cringe when they are imagining having their own limbs strewn about the screen. There was ample gore. Fans of the Hatchet series will be happy, and now I, once again, will have to go revisit the entire series to see if I still dislike the first two installments. This is actually a yearly event for me. Someone tells me how much I will love Hatchet. I contradict them. They make a case. I watch it. My brain makes up it's mind. Hatchet III is worth the time you'll spend to find a theater to see it, but you'll be able to find it VOD easier than on the big screen. Maybe that's the way it needs to be right now to keep the gore level high.

That's why I loved it. I'm a gorehound, and I feel hungry for meat. This movie should make it into my top ten for the year. Easily.

One last note. I do not feel that my dislike for the first two films has anything to do with Adam Green making a bad movie. He makes great entertainment. I'm even warming up to Holliston (did you see that Christmas Special!?). Sometimes I like movies that are absolutely terrible. I have heard that said on more than one occasion. I guess your love for a horror movie is no different than the love an actual person. You can't help who you love.


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