Writer-director Adam Green tells EW he believes the Motion Picture Association of America to be an “evil” organization that has treated his new film Hatchet II unfairly. The independently financed sequel, in which horror icon Kane Hodder reprises his role as a deformed, swamp-dwelling killer named Victor Crowley, is released today through the AMC theater chain without a rating.
Green says that AMC had volunteered to exhibit an unrated version of Hatchet II after the MPAA declined to give the movie an R rating. “Even after us cutting two minutes out of the movie, [the MPAA] told us that we just couldn’t kill people like this,” says Green, who also wrote and directed 2006’s Hatchet and the recent, chairlift-set horror film Frozen. “I was done. I wanted to go straight-to-video. But it turns out the people who make the decisions at AMC were big fans of the original Hatchet and loved the sequel. I think the quote was that they thought it was the best slasher sequel they’d ever seen. They said, ‘Well, why don’t we do it unrated?’”
Green also expressed his concerns that the director is now “a marked man” in terms of his relationship with the MPAA. “It’s bad,” says the director. “I know they’re going to be out for blood with me. And the ratings board, I’m sure, is very certain that we’re not going to do any business and then they’re going to say to everybody, ‘You see what happens when you don’t play by our rules?’”
Green previously crossed swords with the MPAA over the original Hatchet, a gag-filled love letter to ’80s slasher flicks. “With the first Hatchet, I had an epic battle with the ratings board,” he says. “They kept giving the movie an NC-17. There is absolutely no way that movie should have gotten an NC-17. All the gore in it is so ridiculous and over-the-top that you can’t take it seriously. It was a terrible, terrible loss when Hatchet I came out in theaters. None of the fun stuff that people had been reading about for two years was in the movie anymore. But the MPAA is notoriously hard on independent movies. It’s a money thing with them. The studios pay the salaries, so they’re willing to let things slide for studio movies. One of the examples I use is the The Hills Have Eyes remake [which was distributed by Fox Searchlight]. I’m not slamming these movies – I like them. But The Hills Have Eyes got an R-rating, and Victor Crowley chasing somebody with a belt sander got an NC-17. How is that possibly fair? It’s a sham. The whole thing is a sham.” Despite the cuts made to the theatrical version of Hatchet, the film has become a cult favorite in the horror community. “Hatchet is all in good fun,” says the director. “When I do conventions, the first thing fans say is, ‘Thanks you. I forgot why I even liked horror. I didn’t get into this to watch somebody be tied down and tortured.’”
Green hopes those fans will support Hatchet II and justify AMC’s decision to exhibit the film unrated.”[The MPAA] are a very big and powerful – even though they’re evil – organization,” he says. “But if people support this, and we make enough noise at the box office, it will change the game for the genre. That’s when it’ll be a win. It’s up to the fans now to support this, so it isn’t all in vain, and we can start to change the system. I’m really hoping for a [box office] miracle.”
When EW contacted the MPAA about Green’s allegations, the Association responded with the following written statement from Joan Graves, Chairman of the Classification and Rating Administration: “The Classification and Rating Administration [CARA] is independently funded through submittal fees and does not distinguish studio films from independent films when it comes to issuing a rating. It is a voluntary system. Filmmakers may choose to release a film without a rating and it is completely the exhibitor’s decision as to how they will proceed with an unrated film.”
You can check out the trailer for Hatchet and a teaser for Hatchet 2 below.
Are you a fan of Hatchet? Will you be seeing the sequel? Do you think Green has a point?