With his early success, many were quick to write Green off as a flash in the pan, despite the fact he had already been cutting his teeth for years in the business. At the helm of ArieScope Pictures, Green continued to feverishly pour his heart and soul into his work. His tireless efforts would result in a plethora of unique films such as ‘Frozen,’ ‘Grace’ and ‘Chillerama,’ not to mention the always hilarious ‘Holliston’ television series, which is also the brainchild of Green. As the years passed, the growing popularity of Victor Crowley would result in two sequels, ‘Hatchet II’ and ‘Hatchet III.’ There were no signs of slowing down for Green as he soon teamed with Joe Lynch (Mayhem, Everly, Knights of Badassdom) to create and host one of the most successful (and addictive) podcasts on the charts with ‘The Movie Crypt.’ While this Cliff Notes version of his resume makes it sound like a walk in the park, Green will be the first to tell you that’s this is simply not the case. Over the past 5 years, since our last interview with him, he has endured the trials and tribulations of a rocky divorce, the loss of his best friend, (legendary GWAR frontman Oderus Urungus aka Dave Brockie) and emerged from depths of a deep depression to continue his climb to the top!
In August of 2017, fans of the ‘Hatchet’ franchise were blown away by the news that a surprise fourth installment was filmed in secret by Adam Green and was ready to be unveiled! After a successful crisscrossing of the nation to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ‘Hatchet’ and premiere of the film on the ‘Dismember America Tour,’ the legend is finally coming home! ‘Victor Crowley’ arrives on Blu-ray, VOD and digital platforms via Dark Sky Films on February 5th, 2018. What’s it all about? Easy. In 2007, over forty people were brutally torn to pieces in Louisiana’s Honey Island Swamp. Over the past decade, lone survivor Andrew Yong’s claims that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the horrific massacre have been met with great controversy. When a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past. Set a decade after the events of the series’ first three films, ‘Victor Crowley’ reunites Hatchet mainstays Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7 -X’s Jason Voorhees) and Parry Shen (Better Luck Tomorrow) for an all-new, horrifying journey into the haunted, blood-drenched bayou. The ensemble cast of ‘Victor Crowley’ also features Laura Ortiz (2006’s The Hills Have Eyes), Dave Sheridan (Scary Movie), and Brian Quinn (truTV’s “Impractical Jokers”).
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Adam Green to discuss the long road to ‘Victor Crowley,’ the challenges he faced along the way, and his continuing evolution as a filmmaker. It’s a wild ride, so strap in and prepare to be inspired!
It’s been about five years since we sat down for an interview. We last spoke for a “Hatchet III” press day. Your world changed exponentially in that time. My final question for you last time around was — “How do you view your evolution as an artist?” You were going through so much, personally and professionally at the time, you said you hadn’t taken time to think about or appreciate all you had done. So, five years later, I pose the same question — How do you view your evolution as an artist?
Wow! That’s a really good question. I’ve been doing these for a while now and that’s probably the best question I’ve gotten. Fuck! [laughs] Ya know, I try to not think about it too much because I don’t want to, artistically, get caught up in trying to plan things out too much; especially since I’ve learned that you can’t plan anything out, no matter what you do. This franchise was supposed to be over with part three. If you had asked me three years ago, I would have told you there was absolutely no way in hell there would have been another one. Then life happened. I think the best way to answer the question about my artistic evolution is that I think I’ve learned a little bit more to roll with the punches and not hold onto things so tightly. One of the best learning experiences that I had was with the “Holliston” comic. It was the first time that I had ever released my grasp on something just slightly and let someone else into that world. The guys who wrote and made that comic book did such a great job that, when I read it, it showed me what other people see in that show. It made me realize what it really is and love it. I was at a point where everyone was saying, “When is season three coming?” All I could see with “Holliston” was the death of my friend and it hurt too much. Every time I would try to write it, the stuff I was writing would be so dark. We would rehearse, and I could see the rest of the cast was uncomfortable with the material, nobody was feeling it and I was trying to force it. Giving control to someone else really, really helped. Now, it’s not so much about trying to plan out everything and control it as much. It’s more about responding to what’s actually happening, which is very true with “Victor Crowley” as well. I worked out so much of the dark shit that I went through in this in such a funny and entertaining way. I wish everybody could do that because it’s so much healthier than locking yourself in a dark room for a year, not talking to anybody or starving yourself to death, which is what I was doing three years ago at this time.
You are an inspiration. You put yourself out there on the Movie Crypt Podcast and social media. Even when you are facing big obstacles, you persevered. What keeps you driven?
I don’t know. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t. I wish I would fall in love with dentistry or something that would be a little bit more of a reliable thing to do! It’s the moment. I think if anyone is going to be honest about this industry, it’s mostly bad news, mostly struggle and mostly bad shit … but those good moments are so powerful! They keep you going. When something actually gets shot and you’re standing there on set with your friends, you are so overwhelmed by how hard it is and you never have enough time or money. You have all of those frustrations, but you look to your left or right and think, “I genuinely love these people and that I get to do this. It’s incredible.” When you have a thing like this tour that I just finished. Night after night after night, you get to watch the people that you made it enjoy something so much. As good as anything I have ever made has played with audiences, nothing has come close to this one! I think that it helped that nobody knew it was coming, there was no time to build up any type of expectations and suddenly it was here. The fact that it got a standing ovation almost every single night but two. Even those two were half standing ovations but those don’t count! [laughs] As far as I’m concerned, it has to be every single person on their feet or it doesn’t count! The people in the first few rows didn’t realize that the rest of the audience was standing up, so those two don’t count as standing ovations in my book! [laughs] I’ve never seen anything like that for a movie. I think I needed to make this and it saved me in a lot of ways, which was so unexpected. I think the fans needed it. I think they missed Victor Crowley. You have to listen to the fans. You don’t necessarily have to do everything they say to do because otherwise all I would do is make sequels to every single thing I make. At a certain point, you hear something so many times that you’ve got to pay attention to that, which ties in to what I was saying about starting to live a little bit more reactionary, instead of trying to plot everything out. For example, thinking something like, “By this age, I need to have done this. I need to make two movies this year. I need to have three web series, my own company, a weekly podcast.” All I was going to do was kill myself — not that I’m stopping doing all those things! [laughs] I just approach it all differently now!
You mentioned the feeling on set when you surround yourself with a great team of people. With “Victor Crowley,” there are old faces and new faces with the cast. What do these people bring out in you creatively?
Yeah, I’m blessed to have these people and it’s not just the crew. It’s the crew, especially! For a lot of the things I do, it’s the same key players behind the scenes. I think that’s something that has helped the “Hatchet” series last as long as it has. You have the same principal people coming back. I don’t think there is another franchise that really has that. It just changes everything! There’s a trade-off with it. If you could have asked me, when I was 8 years old, what the dream case scenario was, it would have been me telling stories, making things up and only working with my friends. I got that in every way, shape and form. I should feel like I did it and I got the golden ring and be happy with it, but the trade-off is that if you only want to work with the people you want to work with, you’re going to have to do it on a very small, independent level. Everything has been such a struggle from getting these things made to actually making them and beyond. I’ve never once had anything that was marketed. I’ve never had real money behind it with commercials or billboards everywhere. “Holliston” had some billboards and stuff but what was weird is that FEARnet put everything in New York and LA and neither place carried their network! [laughs] There is always something that seems to go so wrong! A lot of people, at this point, aren’t even surprised anymore! They’re like, “Only you!” [laughs] Having those people to lean on brings out the best in you because you are so trusting.
It’s something I stress on the podcast a lot; if you’re gonna direct, you’ve got to remember that you are only leading. You’re not the one making the movie. You’ve hired these people and surrounded yourself with them because they are so good at what they do. Your job is to have the vision, tell the story and guide everybody but also let them do what they can do. I think that’s why we are able to outshine whatever the budget might be. People always ask, “What is the budget?” I don’t even know how to answer that. The little amount of money we are given is one thing but what actually ends up on the screen is worth so much more because of all the favors that we pull in. Bear McCreary is probably one of the biggest composers working today. He does everything, yet he still produced this score! Sam [Ewing] and Jason [Akers], who wrote the score, did so under, Bear and Bear produced it. You can’t put a price on something like that. The same holds true with the sound designer, Matt Waters. Matt has done the sound design on every single thing I’ve ever done, and he just won his second Emmy for “Game of Thrones.” He does not need to be doing this and he literally did not get paid a cent but he’s part of the family, so he is there. Those types of things are absolutely invaluable and I would be nothing without the people around me. The DVD and Blu-ray for “Victor Crowley,” there is 90 minutes of special features that my assistant, Austin [Bosley], shot. The distributor never pays for those things, which is nothing new. I think toward the end of the early 2000s, the whole concept of needing special features went away, which is really sad. I live for those things! When it’s a movie I like, I want to be able to see the making of it, hear the commentary and all of that stuff but it’s something that is kind of going away. With this release, it was like, “If you have anything, we’ll take it, but you have four days to do it.” I couldn’t do it with everything else I was doing. For the first time, I was going to accept defeat but then Austin was like, “I’ll do it!” What he put together is so incredible! I don’t know if you got the “Raiders of The Lost Ark” or “E.T.” Blu-rays that came out a couple years back but on both of them they had this fly-on-the-wall thing. It was eight minutes of untouched behind-the-scenes footage. No interviews or editing. You’re just watching Spielberg make the movie. I would pay anything to just be able to see another hour of it! That’s what we’ve done this time. One of the special features is called Fly On The Set and it’s an hour of untouched footage where you watch the entire movie get made from start to finish as if you were there. It’s invaluable to somebody who wants to do something like this. The point is, there is also a 25-30-minute interview with me. At the end of it, I go back to what I said at the end of “Hatchet I” and what I said earlier about the people I’m surrounded with that did this. They can’t teach you that in film school. You can’t buy or rent the latest software. It’s something you have to build from the ground up.
With ArieScope, we’re coming up on our 20th anniversary this October, it’s always been about adding to this family. The same people keep coming back and that’s why I have a career. That and the fans. I’ve never had a chance to have something marketed or bought. It’s always had to be the hardest way possible but it’s a testament to anybody else who wants to do this — We’re not all going to luck out and get handed a big, wide release or a studio movie to direct. I use the word handed very lightly because I’m sure anyone who ever finds themselves with that opportunity has worked very hard for it. I’ve still yet to have that happen. That’s not true. It has happened but then the movie doesn’t actually get made or some executive leaves or something fucks it up every time. [laughs]
What are the biggest challenges you faced with bringing “Victor Crowley” to the screen?
As always, the budget and amount of time was a challenge. Maybe a year from now, I can finally talk about all of that stuff and I can’t wait! I’ve had to sit there on the podcast every week and listen to the guest and Joe [Lynch] complain about only having 25 days or only having 3 million dollars. It’s so hard to not ? … If you listen to the show, you’ll always hear Joe, right when it starts go, “Shut up, you!” He knows what I just did was unheard of! The problem is that if you say that stuff before or right after something comes out than that’s what people see when they watch it. It’s been so wonderful to read reviews or see comments where people are saying, “Well, clearly this is the biggest budget “Hatchet” movie yet!” And this thing was anything but! This thing was made on solely sheer will, blood, sweat and a lot of tears. That was the biggest challenge. I like to write myself into not a corner but a challenge. With a franchise, it would be so easy to fall back on giving what people you know already want or to keep referencing the previous films constantly. With this, setting so much of it inside sinking airplane, it just elevated everything. This is the first movie that actually had suspense and terror in it, as far a “Hatchet” film goes. The other ones aren’t scary at all. They are funny, and they are violent. “Victor Crowley” brings suspense to the franchise for the first time because of the airplane. You have a situation where Angie’s pregnant but if you get off the plane you’re going to die. That’s just a grave situation!
It’s cool to look inside your career and the film. What’s the best lesson to take away from your journey as an artist?
I guess it’s two parts and circles back on what I was already saying. Like I said, I think it comes down to trying to create more reactionary things as opposed to planning it all out so specifically, so when it doesn’t go your way, the devastation is so brutal. If you can try to go with the flow a little bit more, I think it only helps your art. Be like a sponge and absorb what’s happening around you, what you think and feel and don’t be afraid to show that. That’s what gives you a voice and something to say. With the horror genre, especially the slasher sub-genre, anybody can come up with ways to kill people or jump scares. That’s not impressive. My dog could do that. You want to create something that can actually entertain people, have them engaged, smiling, laughing, cringing or crying. In the case of the “Victor Crowley,” there were screenings where people actually cried! It was so unexpected! In the first interview I did this morning, that was what the journalist was saying, that was the last thing they expected to get out of it. It was because I was pouring myself into it. Even though this is such a ridiculous franchise and storyline, that’s so important for people to do. Not a lot of writers are willing to do that. A lot of them write to escape their own life and make everything up but if you can put yourself in everything you do, it’s going to change everything.
Secondly, surround yourself with the right people and hold on to them. It never fails; whoever is bringing the money always wants to break up the team that you have. A lot of it is because it’s their money, their risk and they want some control and they don’t want you closing ranks on them immediately from the get-go. They think you are surrounding yourself with people who are going to yes you to death and box them out. Thankfully, even though it has been a fight on certain occasions, I think they’ve always seen that’s precisely why we work. The people who are a part of ArieScope don’t yes me to death and aren’t afraid to say, “I don’t agree with this idea. What about this … ” I remember on “Hatchet I,” I forget what the idea was, but there was a PA who had thrown some idea out. It wasn’t the right idea, but it was the kernel of whatever we ended up doing. It was a situation where the sun was coming up and we were out of time and everyone was fried. A PA made some suggestion that ended up helping us out in the long run. So, surround yourself with good people, lean on those people and fight to keep them there when someone wants to separate you!
What’s the best way for fans to support you and help get your visions to the screen?
The best thing is seeing each release legally. That is huge. To take that one step further, don’t just wait for Netflix or to stream it. Buy a physical copy. That’s what has hurt the indie scene so much! There was a time where even just Blockbuster Video was ordering several hundred thousand units for their stores. Right there it was saving movies at this budget level because it brought the risk factor. If you really like this stuff, buy a physical copy and don’t just stream it, if possible. Obviously, never, ever pirate anything. Not a comic book, a song, a movie or whatever. You are killing everything when you do that. To support ArieScope and myself specifically, we sell everything on our website, www.ariescope.com. Everything comes autographed and there is no extra charge. I’ve never charged for my autograph or photograph at conventions, but we make a couple dollars on everything and those couple dollars keep the studio open. To date, nobody has ever personally received any of that money because it’s a very boutique shop. It’s always been just enough between that or The Movie Crypt Podcast’s Patreon or the Feed Arwen A Treat program to keep this place open. Everything happens here. I live here more than at my house, as does Joe and a lot of other people. This is where we create, shoot and edit. It’s really a haven of sorts, so when you buy something directly from us, that’s what your supporting!
Awesome! Thanks for your time today, Adam! We will catch up soon. It won’t be another five years! Thank you for the content you bring each week and with each film. A big Steven Tyler congratulations on all you achieved!
[laughs] Thank you, thank you very much. That means a lot. I really appreciate that! Take care!
For all the latest news and content from Adam Green, visit ArieScope’s official website at www.ariescope.com. Connect with Adam Green on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Get a weekly dose of industry insight and amazing guests with Adam Green and Joe Lynch on The Movie Crypt Podcast!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.