Horror Club: Hatchet

February 27, 2018

Slashers are one of my favorite types of horror films - I love the chase, the hunt, the kill, and all the gore that comes with it. When it comes to these types of movies, I don't need (or even expect) an in-depth, riveting story line to keep me entertained; just give me some thrilling kills and a sick madman to deliver the blows and I'm happy. Hatchet - the 2006 film written and directed by Adam Green - meets those requirements exquisitely, which is why it is easily ranked among the legendary films of slasher film past (you know, the Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers classics). Speaking of Voorhees, fans of the franchise will surely be familiar with the unmasked face of the killer in Hatchet: it is none other than Kane Hodder, who portrayed Jason in four of the Friday the 13th films. Hodder reprises his legendary acting as the madman Victor Crowley, and he absolutely slays (pun totally intended) the part as the psycho.

 

It's Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and instead of partying with the rest of his friends, Ben decides he wants to bail on the outing and take part in a haunted swamp boat ride. His best friend Marcus decides to join him, and as the board the shady-looking boat after definitely being overcharged by the sketchy tour guide, Shawn, the boys meet their fellow tour mates: two topless porn-hopefuls along with their "director", an older, married couple from Minnesota and a very quiet, yet on edge cutie named Marybeth. As the tour boat drives deeper into the swamp, it becomes obvious relatively quickly that Shawn doesn't seem to know what the hell he is talking about when it comes to the "haunted swamp." Shawn begins to tell a really half-assed, made up version of the legend of Victor Crowley, to which he is corrected by Marybeth. After Shawn successfully manages to crash the boat into some rocks and sink it, Marybeth reveals the real reason she is there on the tour: her father and brother were in the swamp two days prior hunting gators and they never returned. Marybeth tells the true story of Crowley - a poor, deformed boy raised sheltered by his father who is constantly teased by the local boys. After the boys set his wooden house on fire, Crowley's father attempted to break down the door with a hatchet - not knowing that his beloved son was on the other end. The hatchet dug right into the face of his boy, and now father Crowley (also played by Hodder, which was awesome) has to live with the fact that he delivered a devastating blow to his only son.

 

After Marybeth shares the legend, the real fun begins: turns out, the boat crashed just down the path from the ol' Crowley household where the horrible bludgeon occurred just years before. The tour group realizes they are now in Crowley's woods, and they are desperate for escape. Thus begins the cat and mouse chase through Crowley's swamp - and boy, does Hatchet fucking deliver. It doesn't take long for the super beefed up Victor Crowley to find the stranded tour group and begin butchering them, one by one. His methods of bloody murder vary - and they are SO brutal - but the end result is always the same: over-the-top blood sprays, epic carnage and purely insane fatalities. Crowley delivers multiple kills that are so outrageous no other movie would attempt them, and that's part of what makes Hatchet so damn good. The crew didn't worry about how realistic and true to the real world it was: they just wanted to deliver some heavy hitting, absolutely brutal carnage that would quite literally leave you both laughing and saying "what the fuck" out loud. Without giving too much away about how Crowley decides to pick off his swamps intruders, he manages to tear in to some of the tourists with sheer brutality, spraying blood and organs all over the damn place. The best way to sum it up honestly is a good old fashioned bloodfest. There's a reason that the Hatchet franchise of films has become so notorious in the past decade: Crowley and his victims are just fun to watch and the film definitely doesn't take its self too seriously.

 

Hatchet does an excellent job of paying tribute to the great slasher films of the '80s, which might explain the massive fanbase and cult following the film has accrued over time. It's got the bloodshed, the babes (with plenty of boob action), and the witty commentary I personally love about all the great horror films I fell in love with growing up. Hodder's massive size and experience as professional on-camera killer are most definitely portrayed throughout the film and just add to the sheer terror that Crowley sets in his victims and viewers alike. The design of Victor Crowley is definitely unique and haunting - the design team did a great job at creating a madman who could actually pass as a real human, so Crowley doesn't look super unreal or fake. And like I said, add in Hodder's intimidating size and you've got yourself one hell of a beast to outrun or kill, and killing a man of his size certainly isn't going to be too easy.

 

Hatchet is forever going to be one of the top movies I suggest to both fans of the genre and outsiders: it is so over-the-top bloody and witty that I seriously cannot get enough. Hodder was beyond great as Jason Voorhees, but his undertaking as Victor Crowley is absolutely menacing. The backstory and bloodshed make this film one of the best in the genre, and if you haven't yet seen Hatchet in 2018, drop what you're doing and get on it, you won't regret it. And with that, I offer you one solid piece of advice... stay the fuck out of Victor Crowley's swamp.

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