Hatchet 3 is hitting Blu-ray and VOD this week, and I got a minute to chat with the director BJ McDonnell on what it was like taking over the series from the creator Adam Green. Being the genre fan that I am, I really dig the Hatchet films, so I was really interested to see what new ideas the first time director and longtime cinematographer would bring to the series.
I thought Hatchet 3 was a lot of fun and BJ perfectly kept vibe from the previous films, I am definitely looking forward to see what he does next. In the meantime enjoy the Q&A.
Why do you think Adam Greene handpicked you to direct Hatchet 3 for your first directing gig?
He knew I wanted to start directing, or at least start pursuing it. The fact of the matter is, I knew Adam and I worked on the first Hatchet, the second one, and then Spiral.
I think he trusted me with the reigns and to go for it and do what I do best. I think that’s what it all boiled down to, that I knew where to go with the story and I was not trying to take it in some crazy direction.
Were you at all intimidated at taking over the reigns of such a beloved franchise?
I wasn’t really intimidated taking it over, because I already knew the drill of these movies, what it’s about and what we were going to do. I also knew all the actors in it and I knew how these movies were shot.
They aren’t shot the way traditional movies are done. Most movies I work on will have a budget and so much time to get these things done. These movies are always very much under the gun, and you have got to make things work under a very short schedule.
So, being a horror fan yourself, what are some of the things you wanted to bring to the table that we have never seen as Hatchet fans?
I wanted to make Victor Crowley meaner, gnarlier and have him going faster. Fighting not just one person, but I wanted to see him take on a couple of different people or a group of people which we did. We had him fighting a whole squad of police.
I just wanted to add more action and I wanted it to go fast, so you never got bored with anything. We had already heard the backstory to the Victor Crowley legend; so we didn’t need to go back on that.
What are some of the films you drew upon as a director? I know I saw a lot of Predator in there when they were hunting Crowley in the jungle.
(laughs) That was funny, because that was definitely a throwback to Predator. The movie is like Predator, Terminator and all the James Cameron stuff I love. Some John Carpenter films I love too. I am a big action fan, so I wanted to combine all of that with all the 80s style stuff.
It was fantastic just to do all this stuff and mix it all together.
Even the shower scene with Danielle getting hosed down that was a complete throwback to Rambo.
Rambo didn’t quite look like that…
No he did not. (Laughs)
So Hatchet 3 is literally a who’s who of genre films, what was it like casting the film?
I really dug how you pitted two former Jasons against one another.
The casting was really simple. We knew we were going to have Kane Hodder, we knew we were going to have Danielle Harris that was a given from the second one. Caroline Williams I worked with on Halloween 2 and she actually approached Adam’s wife at a convention and expressed she wanted to be in it.
I wanted to bring in Zach Galligan, because I thought it would be neat to get Billy from Gremlins. He was just so fun to work with and just a fantastic person to have around. Derek Mears is a friend and I’ve known Derek as long as Adam has. I worked with him on a couple of other movies and we got to become buddies.
With Adam Greene writing the script was there any room for collaboration at all?
We got together a bunch before it all went down. After we knew we were going to do it we sat down and he told me what he wanted to do with the script and I told him what I wanted to do with it. We’d write scenarios, we came up with all the different kills together.
Like the scene where Victor Crowley fights all the police, I wrote out the whole scene out what I wanted to do up to the rocket launcher. I gave it to him and he wrote the dialog. It was a blast, a total collaboration!
Finally will this be the end of Victor Crowley? I know these things can go on forever, but film really sets up a definite trilogy vibe.
Adam and I, we talked about this and wanted it to be the end.
But who says it has to end? Like Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, sometimes you see the end of these films and you’re like “there is no way they are bringing them back”, but with any film like this they can come back.
Will me and Adam be back? I can’t speak for Adam, but I wont. This is the closing one for me, with the whole Mary Beth story. But if the fans want more Hatchet movies they will get more Hatchet movies.