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In honor of his birthday, we celebrate the career of indie icon, writer, director, actor, podcaster, and producer Adam Green.

“Hatchet 2 – Adam Green” by rwoan is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Adam Green’s passion for filmmaking began with his (sadly unseen) directorial debut, Coffee & Donuts (2000). The film was a semi-biographical, lighthearted romantic comedy about two friends, Adam and Steve, who strive to launch their morning radio program of the small town, while Adam concurrently struggles to overcome a breakup. Green made the feature film for only $400, using equipment from the cable advertising facility that he was working for at the time and employing volunteers for everything from cast to crew. Though issues with rights and music licensing have kept Coffe & Donuts from reaching audiences, the idea served as the basis for Green’s beloved series Holliston

Despite the difficulties with his first foray into feature filmmaking, his next film, Hatchet (2006), would go on to launch a successful franchise, as well as an iconic slasher villain. It would garner a worldwide cult following and cement Green’s legacy as a horror hero. Now, two decades later, the multi-hyphenate founder of ArieScope Pictures has come a long way from his days of scraping together a few bucks and secretly sneaking cable access gear to make movies.

Adam Green is now widely regarded as a pillar of the horror community, beloved not only for his film, television, and media projects but for his kindness, humility, and genuine love for his fans. Never charging for autographs or photos and regularly donating much of time to creating a wealth of free content, Green has more than earned his icon status.

As he celebrates a birthday, our writing staff celebrates his 15-year, seismic impact on the genre by highlighting 10 reasons we love Adam Green — from Hatchet to YORKIETHON, and everything in between. 

1. HATCHET (2006)

A love letter by Danni Winn

Horror has had several icons since the genre’s inception. After Nosferatu (1922) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) in Europe, American moviemakers sought to find a way to exploit the fears of its own audiences. Welcome the Universal Monsters and Hollywood’s focus on the classic narratives of Frankenstein and Dracula.

Shifting to the radioactive monstrosities of the ’60s and on to the renegade cinema of the ’70s, the ’80s added another cornerstone to the genre and introduced the Slashers. These are the films that spawned unparalleled body counts, inventive kills, spawning franchises that continue to this day. With the Slashers, we also were introduced to a new era of enigmatic villains and anti-heroes; characters that have profoundly made their mark not only in horror but cinema as a whole.

The late ’90s brought a wave of teen-centric entries such as Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the underrated Robert Rodriquez-led flick, The Faculty.

In the early 2000s, American Horror was in a transition period of sorts, with the States finding itself engaging in an influx of a new brand of violent horror.

The original SAW film released in 2004 to incredible fanfare and led to numerous sequels — helping launch the careers of director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell. A year later, in 2005, Eli Roth made traveling abroad as terrifying as swimming off Amity Island in his sophomore effort, Hostel. And then, in 2006, a new horror icon unexpectedly emerged from Honey Island Swamp in Louisiana via newcomer, Adam Green.

There are very few films where I recall significant details regarding my initial experience, but Hatchet was an auspicious exception.

Within one of my shitty apartments in San Antonio, Texas, with my brother and a few friends huddled on second-hand couches, we all collectively gasped and cheered as we followed the doomed boat full of tourists in Honey Island Swamp. I distinctly recall the applause erupting for the makeup done by John Carl Buechler (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Friday the 13th Part VII), cameos of Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise) and Tony Todd (Candyman), which were eventually followed by our jaws dropping to the floor as another jaw — that of Mrs. Permatteo (Patrika Darbo) —  was ripped apart.

In one of the best kill scenes ever, in my opinion, Adam Green, DP Will Barratt, and outstanding FX artist, Robert Pendergraft, collaborated to nail something spectacular in this film that had very humble beginnings.

Like so many, Green’s fascination with horror began with an older sibling introducing him to the genre, gradually feeding him films to consume. Not long after, he attended a summer camp where the counselors attempted to terrorize him with the tale of ‘Hatchet Face’, a supposed local legend. Failing to scare young Adam and, instead, annoying him with their lack of a meaty backstory, the innocuous seeds of Hatchet were planted within the budding horror fanatic.

One of the things I admire most about Hatchet, is how completely passionate everyone on board seemed to be.

Believing in Adam’s story and vision, producers Sarah Elbert, Cory Neal, Will Barratt, along with Green, flew down to New Orleans from the Northeast to tackle the teaser trailer for the film they were all hell-bent on making. Undeterred by any negativity and guided only by their sheer will to make a successful horror movie, the Hatchet teaser was met with undeniable excitement within the community, ultimately securing the funds needed to produce the Hatchet feature we know and love today.

“A motley crew of tourists embark on a boat ride of the haunted Louisiana bayous where they learn the terrifying tale of local legend “Victor Crowley,” a horribly disfigured man who was accidentally killed with a hatchet by the hands of his own father. But when the boat sinks and the ghost story turns out to be real, the group tries desperately to escape the swamp with their lives . . . and all of their pieces.” – IMDb

A perfect storm of comedy and gore, Hatchet fires on all cylinders, but one of its most alluring qualities was the fact it featured fan favorite, Kane Hodder, returning as an indiscriminate slasher. Famously embodying Jason Voorhees more than any other actor in one of the most iconic franchises of all-time, Friday the 13th (Parts VII – X), Kane Hodder comes crashing into Hatchet with the assured sense of being Crowley’s all — because he is. No one before him and no one after him; Hodder has a heyday with portraying Victor Crowley under the thoughtful direction of lifelong horror fanatic, Green.

Succeeding in what countless others have attempted — create the next horror icon — fans have become fucking rabid over Crowley, catapulting him into cult status.

This reverence for the character eventually warranted three sequels, an official Trick Or Treat Studios Victor Crowley mask, and a series of comic books. Hatchet has also now most recently finally seen a well-deserved, world-famous NECA tribute. Two different versions of the film’s seminal slayer, Victor Crowley, have been released. One is a part of the increasingly popular Toony Terrors line with the detailed, 8” signature NECA version quickly following. The latter comes complete with – you guessed it, a hatchet and gas-powered sander. It has proven to be a hot commodity, virtually selling out everywhere.

Hatchet has undoubtedly left an indelible mark in the genre, and to be perfectly honest, upon me as well.

Unexpectedly, the slasher sparked a “renaissance” and since 2007, has helped further flame my own creative quests. The enthusiastic, independent, ‘Old School American Horror’ vibe associated with the film along with the cast and crew’s tenacity to make this come to fruition has always deeply resonated with me.

All of this, endearingly earning my lifelong fandom and willingness to never stray from an opportunity to share this film, franchise, and the rest of Green’s works to potential future fellow fans.

Currently you are able to watch “Hatchet” streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Hoopla or for free with ads on Tubi TV.

Where to Watch

2. GRACE (2009)

A love letter by Melissa Bastek

Adam Green served as a co-producer on Grace, written and directed by Paul Solet. Grace is an original horror story that applies dark imagery and classic horror monster lore effectively to tell a tale of motherly devotion taken to horrific extremes. The film is tragic and heart-breaking at points by injecting horror into what many hold most sacred — motherhood.

Green had success with his original slasher film Hatchet (2007) when he crossed paths with Solet. With its emotional tone and stark realism, Grace is a vast departure from Hatchet, but a great film for much different reasons.

“I kept seeing this kid walking around with a fake dead baby in a Baby Bjorn,” Green said about meeting Solet. “He never really asked anybody for help. He was just out hustling.”

Maybe seeing Solet reminded Green of himself. 

Grace begins with the story of a young couple, Madeline and Michael Matheson.

Madeline (Jordan Ladd) is pregnant for a third time after having two failed pregnancies. The conflict begins as a clash of conventional versus unconventional between Michael’s (Stephen Park) overbearing, conservative mother, Vivian (Gabrielle Rose), and his liberal wife, Madeline. Vivian is critical of Madeline’s vegan lifestyle and disapproves of Madeline’s choice of a midwife instead of giving birth in a hospital. Madeline’s midwife, Dr. Patricia Lang (Samantha Ferris), was also her teacher and mentor in college.

Michael takes a reluctant Madeline to the hospital after she starts to have chest pains. On the way home, Michael and Madeline are in a car accident. Michael and the baby die. Madeline insists on carrying the baby to term anyway and gives birth at Patricia’s facility. Miraculously, the baby comes alive as Madeline cradles her in her arms.

Grace isn’t like other babies. She rejects Madeline’s milk, has a foul odor, inexplicable bruising, and attracts many flies. Something’s wrong but Madeline refuses to take Grace to a doctor or hospital even after Patricia urges her to do so. Grace isn’t a “medical miracle” but something sinister.

It isn’t her mother’s milk she wants; she wants human blood. 

The writing, directing, and the cast all work to bring the characters to life.

The stark realism of the setting is a nice contrast to the paranormal story. When the unusual activity begins, it’s completely unexpected. The characters and their relationship to each other are clearly established with just a few lines of dialogue and a gesture.

Madeline’s disgust at carnivorous behavior is palpable through Ladd’s reactions, camera shots, and sound. As Michael eats a steak that Madeline reluctantly prepared for dinner, a close-up of his mouth and amplified chewing noises portray Madeline’s disgust. Eventually, Madeline’s disgust of meat-eating and blood must withstand the ultimate challenge.

Vivian’s obsessive behavior becomes more extreme after Michael’s death. She even starts to use a breast pump, and begins to set her sights on replacing him with Grace. Madeline’s doting goes to unhealthy extremes also. When not asleep, Grace remains literally attached to Madeline in a baby sling. Madeline refuses to take Grace to a doctor or hospital. Madeline’s strong desire to see Grace live brings her to life, but with disastrous consequences.

Ultimately, Grace is a disturbing but artful exploration of the terror and beauty of motherhood, a satirical look at the bond that knows no bounds. And while it’s not an Adam Green creative vehicle, it was Green that discovered the film and helped champion its birth into the world, proving what we already know from his many collaborations and casting coups: he has a strong eye for talent.

In fact, Green is an indie icon not only for his artistic endeavors but for the way he consistently supports and inspires other creative talents. 

Currently you are able to watch “Grace” streaming on Hoopla or for free with ads on Tubi TV.

Where to Watch

3. FROZEN (2010)

Frozen

A love letter by Vicki Woods

Adam Green’s Frozen blew my mind when it came out in 2010. Not to ever be confused with the Disney film of the same name (which, to be honest, is kind of terrifying on its own), this horror film addresses every fear I have of being stuck out in the great outdoors.

I never wanted to go skiing because I am a klutz and feared I’d break a leg and get left to die, a frozen dessert for wolves. I worried an avalanche could take me out, or at the very least I’d end up with a terrible case of frostbite. Oh yeah, I’m also afraid of heights, and the chair lifts looked absolutely frightening.  So, when I saw Frozen in the theater, every one of my fears was validated, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t the only person with an unreasonable fear of skiing. I mean they just made a horror film about it, right?

In Frozen, a trio of skiers gets stranded on the chairlift near the top of the mountain at a ski resort. When they see that the lights of the resort have been turned off, they need to make a choice: leave the chairlift or freeze to death.

What made this film special for me was the fact that with a fairly low-budget, Adam Green was able to realistically bring those fears to life on the big screen.

frozenblu_shot22l

I have worked on some super low-budget films, and it warmed my horror heart to hear that he and Will Barratt, the director of photography, filmed everything on the ski lift themselves, since the rest of the camera crew were too afraid to be so far off the ground. No fake snow either. They filmed it in winter, in real snow! I was also extremely impressed with the actors for being willing to hang out 100 feet off the ground.

So fun fact: Adam Green has the distinction of belonging to the “Splat Pack.” A group that includes James Wan, Eli Roth, Darren Bousman, Rob Zombie, Alex Aja, and Greg McLean. These genre creatives are iconic for being the filmmakers who brought practical effects and extreme violence back to the horror genre in the mid-2000s. That’s right about the time I started getting really involved doing practical SFX myself, and these are some of the filmmakers who inspired me.

While doing my research, I also found out the final and coolest thing ever about Adam Green. He and I were club DJs in the LA area at the same time. I worked clubs and private parties from 1995 to around 2005 and he worked at the famous Rainbow Bar and Grill in Los Angeles from 2000 – 2003. I went dancing there quite often and always chatted with the DJ, so I suppose I actually met him back then. What a trip!

Adam Green will always hold a special place in my soul because of this film, and I look forward to seeing whatever he comes up with next.

Currently you are able to watch “Frozen” streaming on Hulu.

Where to Watch

4. HATCHET II (2010)

hatchet-2-poster

A love letter by Laura Sloan

When it comes to executing a worthy sequel, the stakes are quite high. But the unstoppable Adam Green and ArieScope Pictures family prove why they are the best at what they do, deliver a slashing “old-school American Horror” franchise!

While Hatchet II has a magnificent cast, it truly demonstrates an ingenious backstory and the fiery passion of an unyielding production crew.

Danielle Harris replaces Tamara Feldman as Marybeth Dunston. Harris is a chameleon, beautifully inhibiting any role she tackles. Here, she’s a natural, making us forget within the first ten minutes of the film that another actress ever played Marybeth. Badass Uncle Bob (Tom Holland) naturally renders as family. Meanwhile, Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) carefully narrates the story of Thomas Crowley’s infidelity with Lena, his dying wife’s caretaker and the curse Shyann speaks upon their unborn son, Victor.

After giving birth to Victor, Lena dies, leaving father and son bonded by karma and unspoken love. Marybeth learns about her father’s past sin: the child who set the Crowley house on fire. Thomas accidentally kills his son with a hatchet in an attempt to save his life. When Thomas later dies, Victor’s spirit mourns the loss of his father, turning his swamp into a limb-tossing fortress of pain.

If anyone knew, what hell was on and off the set of life, that man is Kane Hodder.

We have taken for granted what a gift Hodder is. He delivers a performance of great depth, equally compelling as Victor and his father, Thomas. His empathy and regret fuel a profound presentation of Thomas. Unlike stale Chip Ahoy cookies at the bounty meeting, I deem Hatchet II like the filling of an Oreo cookie; it holds the Crowley foundation together.

“His presence was like a pestilence that turned the area into death.” – Rev. Zombie

That passage speaks to the beloved master of special effects, John Carl Buechler, who also plays Jack Cracker and the innovation of Robert Pendergraft’s creations. The swamp expedition escalates the bloody insanity of Hatchet and gives fans what they really want – more kills! Each person still alive is one more obstacle that stands in the way of Rev. Zombie’s agenda unveiled: the Samson/Crowley showdown of fate.

If you ever doubted Victor’s capabilities, this film should dispel all those doubts. He always manages to capture his prey and dispense them in many different and creative ways.

The effects are memorable and the kills are quite notable. 

Hatchet-II-Pic-2-1024x576

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite kills, as they definitely warrant celebrating.

Pendergraft’s slicing of the face; Layton’s (AJ Bowen) decapitating sex scene; Justin (Parry Shen) welcomed by belt sander to the brain; Trent’s (R.A. Mihailoff) glorious head sliding; Rev. Zombie skinned out. Lastly, watching John (Rick McCallum) and Vernon (Colton Dunn) who get the honors of a two for the price of one chainsaw death. Vernon looking for kumbayas from anyone to sing about biscuits, chickens, and gravy shines as the most humorous character moment and dialog.

Strangely, I am finalizing this article on the two-year anniversary of Buechler’s passing (March 18, 2021).

May new generations have the honor of watching his craft translate to the screen as he left us with a gut-ripping legacy in Hatchet II.

Currently you are able to watch “Hatchet II” streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Hoopla or for free with ads on Tubi TV.

Where to Watch

5. HOLLISTON (2012-2013)

A love letter by Christi Bandy

Adam Green, a monster movie fan-turned-filmmaker, made his childhood dream of making horror movies come true, but to get to Green’s heart, you’ll have to watch Holliston.

A self-described “horror sitcom,” Holliston follows the daily grind of Green and his real-life friend and fellow director, Joe Lynch, as they play caricatures of themselves. The duo plays wannabe horror filmmakers that work a day job at a local cable access TV station (hilariously run by Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, playing an over-the-hill rocker stuck in the ‘80s…naturally).

Adam and Joe, flanked by gal pals Corri (English) and Laura (Ortiz), live in Holliston, Green’s real-life horror hometown. But this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill sitcom. The foursome deals with realistic situations like money, jobs, and dating in the most hilarious and tongue-in-cheek ways.

Of course, horror is a central theme of the show, and possibly the best part of the series aside from Dave Brockie from GWAR playing Green’s “imaginary best friend,” Oderus, who lives in Green’s closet (may he rest in peace) is the revolving door of guest stars from all our (and Green’s) favorite films.

Just a few of your favorite slasher stars that pop up include Derek Mears, Tony Todd, Danielle Harris (who stars in a laugh-out-loud episode called “Halloween Girl”), Ray Wise, Bill Moseley, and Sid Haig, just to name a few.

The star-studded show is special not just because its brutal truths (surrounded by sweetness, emotion, and humor) are dead-on but because this is a show made by a horror fan for horror fans, and it’s obvious that Green still geeks out about horror just as much as we do.

He’s one of us, and his sincerity seeps from every scene.

The show is a pivotal part of Green’s filmography due in part to the fact that Holliston isn’t like anything else – it’s entirely unique. After two much-loved seasons, the Fearnet cable network tanked, and the show lost its home (it’s since moved to Shudder) and fans have been hankering for more Holliston ever since. Green says we’ll still see another season at some point, and I truly hope we do.

Things that don’t work in most sitcoms, such as breaking the fourth wall, work here and work well, and watching Dave Brockie give Adam heartfelt life advice dressed as Oderus is something you may not know you needed in your life (but trust me, you do!) From found footage to zombies to an animated episode and nods to horror cons you’ll definitely find hysterical, this show has it all, and you’ll love the ridiculously bloody ride Green takes you on.

Perhaps the most important episode of Holliston that was a gift to fans was the one guest-starring Kane Hodder, titled “Suicidal Tendencies.”

Hodder, the beloved actor who played Jason Voorhees in four Friday the 13th films and became known to fans as the ‘true Jason’ considering he played the character more times than any other actor, was sadly not cast as Jason in Freddy vs. Jason, much to franchise fans’ dismay and Hodder’s own distress. Green and Hodder thought fans needed some reassurance after this monumental miscast, so they decided to turn the tables on a bad situation.

In the episode, Hodder plays a satirical version of himself and keeps trying to find ways to commit suicide due to losing the role of Jason. The episode was the pair’s way of telling fans Hodder was okay with the past and had made peace with it. Watching Hodder poke fun at himself was not only side-splitting (Hodder is a truly gifted comedic actor) but helped set fans’ minds at ease knowing Hodder had the last laugh.

Green is a talented filmmaker, and I think with Holliston, we get to see a glimpse of the man behind the camera, and it’s such a sweetly spooky and satisfying sight.

Currently you are able to watch “Hatchet II” streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Hoopla or for free with ads on Tubi TV.

Where to Watch

6. HATCHET III (2013)

A love letter by Laura Sloan

As Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) rises up from the head blast bestowed upon him from Marybeth (Danielle Harris), it’s clear his death is far from the end in this Honey Island Swamp of carnage.

When “Adam Green presents” comes up in glorious red and dissipates into the other credits, Gwar’s “