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.
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 Made