There’s been a lot of talk that we are finally getting “The Expendables of Horror” with the upcoming release of Death House starring Kane Hodder, Barbara Crampton, Dee Wallace, Tony Todd, Bill Moseley, Adrienne Barbeau, Michael Berryman, Felissa Rose, Gunnar Hansen, Cortney Palm, Lloyd Kaufman, Camille Keaton, R.A. Mihailoff, and Sid Haig.
That’s one hell of a line-up, for sure. But I’ve always wondered why everyone wants “The Expendables of Horror” when we already got it – three times over (and the fourth coming tomorrow) – with Adam Green’s Hatchet series.
From beginning to bloody end, Adam Green’s slasher series has boasted the best of the best in horror cinema. And today we want to honor that by pointing out the killer cast of Hatchet, Hatchet II, and Hatchet III.
Below you’ll find categories for Killers, (Scream) Queens, (Genre) Classics, and fun cameos. It’s a blast playing I Spy with the Hatchet series so try it with your friends at home. No using this guide as a cheat sheet.
Now let’s get to it!
As many classic character actors as there are throughout Adam Green’s original Hatchet trilogy, no other category is quite as impressive as the list of “Killers” Green assembled over the course of the first three films. Let’s take a look at each of them one by one.
Kane Hodder (“Victor Crowley”)
First, we have Kane Hodder (Victor Crowley) who has starred in countless horror flicks, but will forever be known as Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason X.
But on top of that, Hodder is an extremely well-known stuntman and stunt coordinator. And you can find him as an actor in such fright flicks as House II: The Second Story, House IV, Prison, Ghoulies Go to College (true story), Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Wishmaster, Monster, 2001 Maniacs, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield, B.T.K., “Fear Clinic”, Frozen, Exit 33, Exit to Hell, Muck, and even plays himself in Adam Green’s Digging Up the Marrow.
Special Note: Make sure to check out the documentary To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story when it hits via Dread Central Presents this July!
Robert Englund (“Sampson” – Hatchet)
Robert Englund is a man who needs no introduction. But for the sake of argument, let’s give him one anyhow. Englund is most famous for portraying Freddy Krueger throughout the entire A Nightmare on Elm Street series – other than the 2010 remake. On top of that Englund has starred in such genre offerings as Eaten Alive, The Phantom of the Opera, The Mangler, Wishmaster, Strangeland, Urban Legend, 2001 Maniacs, and, of course, Hatchet. That’d be an impressive list WITHOUT Freddy on his resume.
Tony Todd (“Reverend Zombie” – Hatchet, Hatchet II)
Tony Todd is a man who will forever be known as Daniel Robitaille aka The Candyman from, duh, Candyman, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, and Candyman: Day of the Dead. But in addition to that prestigious title, Todd has also starred in such genre offerings as The Crow, “The X-Files”, Wishmaster, the Final Destination franchise, and “Dead of Summer”.
Derek Mears (“Hawes” – Hatchet III)
Derek Mears is yet another genre icon that I’m sure is a horror household name by this point. After all, the man did a bang-up job as Jason Voorhees in the 2009 reboot, earning a special place in all of our horror hearts. But the man has also starred in horror offerings like Cursed, “Masters of Horror: Pro-Life”, The Hills Have Eyes II, Predators, The Aggression Scale, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, Freaks of Nature, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, and a role in David Lynch’s revival of “Twin Peaks.”
Sid Haig (“Abbott MacMullen” – Hatchet III)
As strange as it may sound, Sid Haig has been in hundreds of films since the dawn of time (it seems) but he will always be known for his more recent efforts, mainly his work as Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. But on top of those films, Haig has also starred in horror classics such as Bone Tomahawk, The Lords of Salem, Creature, Halloween, Night of the Living Dead 3D, and even bit parts in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and Jackie Brown.
R.A. Mihailoff (“Trent” – Hatchet II)
R.A. Mihailoff is an actor best known for starring as our man with the chainsaw Leatherface in the underappreciated 1993 classic Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. But the big man also has plenty of other genre efforts under his huge belt such as Slasher.com, Krampus: The Devil Returns, Horrorween, Smothered, Dark House, and Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings.
I’m thinking everyone knew what I meant by the word “Queens” in the title. I’m 95% sure, at least. But just in case there is one dude out there expecting some kind of entry he just isn’t gonna get, what I mean by “Queens” is, of course, “Scream Queens”.
Moving on. Like the other subphylums in this article, Adam Green’s Hatchet series boasts a ton of the most lovable Scream Queens to ever grace the screen.
We have Danielle Harris, Caroline Williams, and Fellisa Rose to name a few. Extra points go to Green for casting “the mean girl from camp” in Addams Family Values in the original Hatchet as the blonde pornstar chick, Misty. Her real name is Mercedes McNab, by the way. That always made me chuckle.
But now on to the Queens!
Danielle Harris (“Marybeth” – Hatchet II, Hatchet III)
While Danielle Harris’ role as Marybeth in Adam Green’s Hatchet II and Hatchet III is close to being the role the scream queen is best known for, that claim, at the time, still resided with her history within the Halloween series.
From starring as Jamie Lloyd in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and its direct sequel Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers to her role as updated Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II, Harris is no stranger to the genre.
But add in such efforts as Urban Legend, The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond, Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet, “Fear Clinic”, Stake Land, Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2, See No Evil 2, Havenhurst, and Inoperable – on top of directing the horror-comedy Among Friends – and Harris is scream queen royalty through and through.
Caroline Williams (“Amanda” – Hatchet III)
Williams is someone you recognize from her famous role as Stretch in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. But in addition to that classic role, Williams has starred in Stepfather II, Leprechaun 3, Contracted, Seed 2, Tales of Halloween, the upcoming remake of Blood Feast, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her cameo in Rob Zombie’s Halloween II. Gotta love Caroline Williams!
Diane Ayala Goldner (“Elbert” – Hatchet III)
Diane Ayala Goldner is an actress you might not recognize – but you totally do. Goldner is famous for not only starring in her husband John Gulager’s Feast, Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds, and Feast 3: The Happy Finish, but she also starred in the third season of “Project Greenlight” that showcased the making of the original Feast film.
But on top of that, Goldner has also shown up in films like Pulse 2, Pulse 3, The Collector, and, like Caroline Williams mentioned above, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her cameo in Rob Zombie’s Halloween II. Let’s see Diane Ayala Goldner in more films, people!
Tiffany Shepis (“Casey” – Victor Crowley)
Okay, so I tried not to include any actors/actresses from Victor Crowley, but 1) everyone knows and loves Tiffany Shepis and 2) if you’ve seen the trailer for the fourth entry, you know she’s in the film. So let’s move on.
Shepis is best known for starring in basically every single horror movie for the past 10 years. Not kidding. Here are (some) of her genre efforts: Night of the Demons (2009), Tales of Halloween, Sharknado 2: The Second One, Hallows’ Eve, Chainsaw Cheerleaders, Home Sick, Abominable, and Bloody Murder 2: Closing Camp. Again, just to name a few.
Felissa Rose (“Kathleen” – Victor Crowley)
Okay, so just one more scream queen from the upcoming Victor Crowley. Ah, Felissa Rose from the classic 80’s slasher film Sleepaway Camp. Ask any horror fan to name their top 5 scream queens and I bet Rose ends up on the list. Every time.
On top of Sleepaway Camp, Rose has also starred in Tales of Halloween, Camp Dread, Aliens vs. A-holes, Dahmer vs. Gacy, Silent Night, Zombie Night, Caesar and Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre, Psycho Sleepover, and more!
What do we mean by “Classics”, you may ask. Well by that title we mean actors we have come to know and love from many a favorite fright flick. There isn’t currently a solid word for the “Final Guy” or the “Final Boy” or whatever, and truthfully it wouldn’t have mattered much to me anyhow as this list’s title truly sings with the Classics bit in there. And that’s good enough for me.
All internal blah, blah, blah out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the classic horror movie actors from Adam Green’s Hatchet series. They weren’t Killers. They weren’t (Scream) Queens. And they sure didn’t have Cameos. Here are the Classics, folks.
Joshua Leonard (“Ainsley” – Hatchet)
Joshua Leonard is a man we all know for starring as “Josh” in the found footage classic The Blair Witch Project. But he has also had parts in films such as Prom Night (2008), Shark Night 3D, Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming Unsane, and TV shows such as “True Detective” and “Bates Motel.” And in a fun bit of trivia, he voiced Tyler Durden in the “Fight Club” video game.
AJ Bowen (“Layton” – Hatchet II)
AJ Bowen is a man who seems to be in every other horror movie these days. Not that we’re complaining. I personally love AJ Bowen and think he adds a bit of class to every film he has even a bit part in. While he’s probably best known for his roles in Adam Wingard’s A Horrible Way to Die and You’re Next, he can also be seen in Creepshow 3, The Signal, The House of the Devil, Chillerama, Among Friends, The Sacrament, The Guest, and the upcoming Applecart co-starring Barbara Crampton. More AJ Bowen, please.
Zach Galligan (“Sheriff Fowler” – Hatchet III)
Zach Galligan will forever and always be known for playing “Billy” in Joe Dante’s creature-feature classic Gremlins and its fun as fuck sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch. But on top of starring in those family classics, Galligan has had parts in The Psychic, a killer episode of “Tales from the Crypt” called “Strung Along”, and let’s not forget my personal favorite, the cult classic Waxwork from director Anthony Hickox and its sequels.
Chase Williamson (“Alex” – Victor Crowley)
Chase Williamson is a relatively new classic of our beloved genre. In the past few years he had his stand-out role in John Dies at the End but has also had parts in such films as The Guest, Lace Crater, Beyond the Gates, SiREN, and Camera Obscura, along with the upcoming flicks Bad Match, the abovementioned Applecart with AJ Bowen and Barbara Crampton, and Gram Skipper’s Sequence Break. Looks like we’ll be seeing more and more of Chase Williamson in the next few years. And that sounds good to us.
Tom Holland (“Uncle Bob” – Hatchet II)
No, not that Tom Holland. The Tom Holland that is most famous as the director of such classic horror films as Child’s Play, Fright Night, multiple episodes of “Tales from the Crypt”, The Langoliers, Thinner, and the upcoming Rock, Paper, Dead. And on top of that, he is also known as an actor for not only Hatchet II but Psycho II, The Stand, and even plays himself in Adam Green’s Digging Up the Marrow.
John Carl Buechler (“Jack Cracker” – Hatchet, Hatchet II)
John Carl Buechler is probably best known as the director of such films as Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Troll, Ghoulies Go to College, and Cellar Dweller. But I’d say the man is much more famous as a make-up effects artist on films such as Ghoulies, TerrorVision, Crawlspace, From Beyond, Dolls, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, Prison, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Ghoulies II, Bride of Re-Animator, the original Hatchet, and literally dozens more. The man is a true legend!
I’m going to go ahead and wrap up this last piece. After all, most of the following cameos all take place in a single scene towards the middle of Hatchet II. You know the one. Tony Todd’s “Reverend Zombie” has amassed a group of hunters (rednecks) to bounty hunt the legendary Victor Crowley. Most turn away the offer. Some stay. Mostly every single hunter (redneck) that leaves is a cameo.
See pic below:
This includes directors Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider), Marcus Dunstan (The Collector), Lloyd Kaufman (The Toxic Avenger), and our main man himself, Mr. Steve “Uncle Creepy” Barton. On top of that single scene from Hatchet II, the trilogy has so many cameos that I’m sure even I missed half of them – but I don’t count crew members. Other than directors such as Hatchet‘s own Adam Green, who shows up in Hatchet, Hatchet II, and Hatchet III, and Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2), who gets it good in the second entry.
FINAL NOTES: Frozen star Emma Bell has a TV News cameo in Hatchet II, and there are a few cameos I’ve left out for fear of spoilers. Also, I’ve heard that We Are Still Here writer-director Ted Geoghegan is in Hatchet III, but I didn’t spot him in my weekend rewatch. Is he there? Can someone point him out to me? Thanks!
And that is our cheat sheet for all of the killers, queens, classics, and cameos hidden within Adam Green’s Hatchet trilogy. More are sure to join the list once the fourth entry, Victor Crowley, hits Blu-ray February 6th so make sure to check it out and spy all the hidden gems ASAP!
What did you think of our cheat sheet? How many did we miss? Let us know below!
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; but 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.
Bobby Joe vs Evil Dead: The Female-Driven Evil Dead Spin-Off That Should Have Been
Whatever Happened to Bobby Joe?
That is a question that has plagued me since the first time I saw Evil Dead 2 at a party in high school. There might be a comic book that explains her final fate, but I don’t know about it, so I’m writing this up all the same.
This is my pitch for not only what happened to her after she was drug out into the middle of the woods by killer trees but also what could have happened after to our badass backwoods beauty queen (BBBQ).
Let’s call it: Bobby Joe vs Evil Dead
To begin, let’s start with the last time we saw little ol’ Bobby Joe. The poor girl got a mouthfulla eyeball and a hair fulla Ash’s hand and ran off into the woods alone, only to be taken by the trees. Dead, right? I call BS. After all, we have seen numerous people attacked by the Evil Trees (Cheryl, Scotty, and Mia spring to mind) and guess what? All of them survived, to varying degrees.
The point is the Evil Trees tend to, you know, molest and mutilate, but they aren’t known for their life-taking skills. Therefore it makes total sense that Bobby Joe survived her encounter with the trees out there. But that begs the question, “What happened to her?”
One of the coolest aspects to remember about her character is that she is (to my memory) the only character in the Evil Dead series that is “killed” and doesn’t come back as a Deadite. Strange huh? Almost seems like Raimi and co. were setting her up for an eventual return and then just kinda, I guess, forgot about her. But let’s not make the same mistake over and over, Bobby Joe needs her redemption and she needs her revenge. Bobby Joe needs to reemerge as the series’ badass female hero. But how?
Let’s get into it now. Bobby Joe is pulled off by the trees and, duh, fights back. Or maybe gets Mia and Cheryl’d but still walks/limps away from the ordeal. Now she’s pissed. That could work, but I have one better. She is pulled off by the trees and just as things are about to get really bad, she is rescued.
Rescued? Yes! By who? We’ll get to that. First I want to make sure to point out that just because she recused doesn’t mean she is a weak character. After all, Ash is about the weakest of all characters for most, if not debatably all, of the Evil Dead films, so this isn’t a damsel-in-distress situation. It’s a means of introducing a very interesting side spin-off to this spin-off.
So, Bobby Joe is being taken by trees when a shadowy male saves her at the last minute. They fight off the trees and then turn to each other… but don’t recognize one other. “Who are you,” she askes the man in the shadows with bitchin’ hair. And out steps, you guessed it, Scotty from the original The Evil Dead.
We’re now in an alternate timeline because the cabin sure as hell could pull off that kind of thing and now we live in a world where all of the events from all of the Evil Dead films – including the remake – can co-exist.
But back to the Scotty thing at hand. What happened was Scotty walked off from the original film and was going to be beaten by the trees but then happened upon Bobby Joe. The two then head back to the cabin where they find Ash fighting with Linda’s Deadite. They accidentally distract Ash and Linda whacks off HIS head with the shovel. Ash is dead!? This is getting crazy now. Yes, with Ash dead, Scotty and Bobby Joe fight off the remaining evil in the original film, with only Bobby Joe making it to morning.
This time around she is the one to lose her hand. This time around she takes up the chainsaw appendage. This time she is the victor. But just as the sun is rising and she moves out of the cabin in the woods – the Applehead Demon attacks! She reads from the book of the dead and the portal opens bringing us up to speed with the end of Evil Dead 2. Bobby Joe is sucked through the portal and lands, yep, in Army of Darkness.
We’re not through yet. Bobby Joe lands just where Ash did but this time she isn’t surrounded by knights played by Sam Raimi’s siblings. This time she is all alone. But wait… there is a cave a ways off… she enters to find Ash sleeping from too much of the sauce – and wakes him up.
Now it’s Ash & Bobby Joe vs Army of Darkness II: Dead by Modern-Day.
That’s a working title, by the way. But yes, Bobby Joe has now found her way into the original Evil Dead timeline and will join forces with newly awoken Ash (following his adventures in Army of Darkness). The story continues from there with the alternate heroes of the two Evil Dead universes going back-and-forth on who’s more badass, and their general shenanigans as they fighting their way through history (courtesy of fun and ironic random time-jumps via the main evil force).
Will the two chainsaw-handed warriors take to each other like soulmates and quickly join forces or will they see each other as arch-enemies? After all, Ash did shoot Bobby Joe accidentally in Evil Dead 2, and I highly doubt she’s just going to let that go. The mind reels with possibilities.
In closing, yes, all of this is a bit silly, but what have the Evil Dead films become other than sillier and sillier. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I would love to know the origin story of Bobby Joe. What must it have been like to grow up as a BBBQ? How did she end up with such a catch as Jake? These questions intrigue the hell out of me and I would love to see them explored in a possible comic series.
The Evil Dead series needs a strong female lead. In the years since the original trilogy, both the remake and the STARZ series have tried to give us strong “Female Ash” characters with Jane Levy’s Mia and Lucy Lawless’ Ruby. While both were arguably successful attempts (I love Mia especially), I still think the best candidate was always Bobby Joe from Evil Dead 2.
That’s my pitch. What do you think? Let us know!
10 Terrifying Moments from Kids’ Movies That Haunted Our Childhoods
When the trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story dropped a couple weeks ago, I watched it with a tinge of dread. See, Han Solo traumatized me as a child. I was 7-years-old when I saw The Empire Strikes Back in theaters, and the scene where Harrison Ford gets tortured at Cloud City gave me my first bona fide panic attack. It was dark, intense, and completely out of left field in an otherwise fantastic franchise where no one ever bleeds (or screams).
I might be the only one who had such an adverse reaction to Solo’s torture (which happens, primarily, off-screen), but those of us who came of age in the 1980s can probably relate to encountering terrifying moments in otherwise kid-friendly films. For the most part, these were the days before PG-13, meaning there was a ton of leeway for movies that fell in between the extremes of Cinderella and The Shining.
In retrospect, 1980s kids were subjected to a litany of scares that would be considered highly inappropriate by today’s standards—perhaps explaining our generations’ intense love of horror! Return with me now to those terrifying days of yesteryear with 10 terrifying moments from kids’ movies that haunted our childhoods!
The Tunnel of Terror in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The only film on this list that wasn’t produced and released in the 1980s (and the only one I didn’t see in theaters) is nonetheless one every child of the era has seen: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from 1971. I remember my parents telling me that I was in for a treat when they sat me down in front of the TV at the tender age of 6.
I was already unnerved by the tall man in the trench coat and the bizarre antics of Gene Wilder’s Wonka, but that boat-ride scene completely destroyed my childhood. It wasn’t even the chicken decapitation or the centipedes that rattled me; it was Wonka’s unhinged shrieking! To this day, the scene gives me the willies (pun intended!); Wilder truly channels the dangerous intensity of a lunatic.
Gmork attacks Atreyu in The NeverEnding Story (1984)
The NeverEnding Story was an exciting alternative in the Disney-dominated landscape of kids’ movies in the 1980s—exciting and dark! But a kid trapped in an attic, a horse drowning in a swamp, a nihilistic turtle, and a devastating void all paled in comparison to Atreyu’s confrontation with the insidious Gmork.
Those green eyes staring out from the cave froze my blood. The fact that it could speak made it infinitely more terrifying; this wasn’t some primal beast, this agent of The Great Nothing was a cunning and merciless villain. The matter-of-fact way it informed Atreyu that he would be his last “victim” was beyond bleak. When the monster attacked as thunder roared and lightning struck, I screamed.
Though many aspects of The NeverEnding Story show their age, this moment remains, objectively, as scary as any horror movie werewolf attack.
The Wheelers Descend in Return to Oz (1985)
When Dorothy (played by Judy Garland) first arrived in Oz back in 1939, she was greeted by a community of cheerful Munchkins. When Dorothy (reprised by Fairuza Balk) returned to Oz in 1985, her reception was much colder.
The eerie silence of a seemingly abandoned wasteland was broken by an assault by Wheelers: colorful, mechanically enhanced cousins of the Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys. As adults, we can laugh at the impracticality of villains who can’t even maneuver stairs, but we weren’t laughing as kids, I can promise you that!
While the hall of heads, an unintentionally terrifying Jack Pumpkinhead, and a truly demonic Gnome King are perhaps the scariest moments of Return to Oz, the sudden and unexpected arrival of the Wheelers was a truly devastating moment. It obliterated all our happy memories of Oz in an instant, transforming the land of enchantment into a labyrinth of evil.
Large Marge Tells her Tale in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Many of the films on this list are dark from start to finish, containing multiple terrifying moments. But part of what makes the tale of Large Marge so impactful is that it appears in an otherwise completely lighthearted film. Sure, man-child Pee-wee Herman has always been subversive in ways that only become apparent as we get older, but he never dabbled in ghost stories or jump scares.
Luckily, the scary face of Large Marge was as funny as it was shocking, so even though kids like me hit the ceiling, our fears quickly dissolved into fits of hysterical laughter. Today, I remember practically nothing about Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, but I’ll have fond memories of Large Marge until the day I die.
The Emperor Turns to Ash in The Dark Crystal (1982)
Over 35 years after it’s release, The Dark Crystal remains a unique and beautiful anomaly. Jim Henson’s G-rated Muppets were left in the workshop! This film was populated by fascinating and terrifying characters, conveying a tale that wasn’t dumbed down for its audience. These factors give the film profound resonance and contribute to its status as an enduring classic
Like the title warns, this film is dark. The Skeksis are demonic, Augrah is arresting, and the Garthim are pure nightmare fuel. The process of draining Pod People of the essence and the stabbing death of Kira are horrifying. But it was the death of the Skeksis Emperor that really hit me like a ton of bricks.
There was something metaphysically terrifying about this moment; not only is the idea of a creature crumbling into ash creepy as hell but the effect was gasp-inducing. As a child, it was something I’d never seen before, a concept I’d never imagined, and it floored me. Death had never been conveyed with such shocking profundity.
The Lab Rats are Injected in The Secret of NIMH (1982)
When I sat in the theater in 1982, I don’t think I realized that The Secret of NIMH wasn’t a Disney movie, but I realized soon enough Mickey and Minnie weren’t hangin’ with these rodents! The Great Owl was petrifying and the finale was as harrowing as anything my young psyche had yet experienced, but it was the flashback of experiments conducted on lab rats that stuck with me and haunted my childhood.
It wasn’t just the brilliant animation that powerfully conveyed the rats’ pain as syringes were plunged into their bellies, it was a brutal moment of education they don’t teach kids in school. It was my first introduction to the realities of animal experimentation, and the fact that grown-ups would perpetrate such atrocities felt like a betrayal
The Ending of Time Bandits (1981)
In retrospect, it was irresponsible for any of our parents to think that Time Bandits was a kids’ movie just because the main character was an 11-year-old boy. In 1981, the only other film Terry Gilliam had directed was Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Yes, Time Bandits is funny and exciting with motifs common to kid-friendly time-travel fiction, but the film is nearly hopelessly bleak from start to finish.
Kevin (played by Craig Warnock) is completely neglected by his parents and essentially kidnapped by a troop of interdimensional robbers. He’s made complicit in a series of crimes throughout many dangerous eras, forced to endure wars and even the sinking of the Titanic. Eventually, Kevin is dragged into a realm of ultimate darkness. Though triumphing over Evil personified, he’s abandoned by God before returning home—only to find his home engulfed in a blazing inferno.
Though rescued by firemen, Kevin’s parents didn’t even realize he was missing and are soon reduced to piles of ash by a stray bit of concentrated evil. The friendly firemen take little notice, leaving our young protagonist utterly alone.
Faces Melt in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
A lot of my peers will count the human sacrifice scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as one of the most terrifying moments of their childhood. Not me. After what I’d endured in Raiders of the Lost Ark, I was ready for anything.
Since it gets less attention than its predecessor (bonus fact: Temple of Doom is a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark), I think people forget just how scary Raiders really is. It’s worlds darker and grittier than Doom, which has a colorful, comic book pallet by comparison, not to mention a clear emphasis on comedy. The spiders, the snakes, the boobytraps: they all put monkey brains and extracted hearts to shame.
But the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark is more intense than most horror movies, past and present. The face-melting evoked Cold War Era fears of nuclear annihilation and the idea of a vengeful God was devastating.
The Death of Shoe in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
I wasn’t always the jaded gorehound I am today; I was young and sensitive once. And even though I was well into puberty by 1988 (or maybe because of it) I was especially traumatized by a moment in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The hard-boiled plot loaded with barely veiled sexual innuendo was, for the most part, completely buried beneath a cacophony of cameos from just about every cartoon character ever penned.
But it wasn’t the fever-nightmare of Roger’s mania or even the emergence of Judge Doom’s true form that devastated me; it was the execution of poor Shoe, a paradigm of animated innocence unceremoniously dropped into a barrel of “dip” (a toxic concoction made from turpentine, acetone, and benzene).
Most kids in their early teens couldn’t stop thinking about Jessica Rabbit; I was haunted by the death of Shoe.
Supercomputer Makes a Human Cyborg in Superman III (1983)
There’s an evil streak that runs throughout Superman III, the third film to feature Christopher Reeves as the titular Man of Steel. While Superman II had its dark spots (specifically the devastation caused by Zod and his companions) there’s an undercurrent in Richard Lester’s follow-up that’s absolutely wicked—containing a scene that contributed to the destruction of my childhood.
A makeshift batch of Kryptonite turns Superman into an immoral, selfish thug before he participates in a troubling fight to the death with himself. But as unsettling as the concept of an evil Superman may be, the scene where the supercomputer turns Vera into a cyborg was some next level shit for 10-year-old me.
I re-watched the scene in preparation for this article and was shocked at its similarities to the moment in Hellraiser II when Dr. Channard is transformed into a Cenobite—especially the wires! No wonder it scared the hell out of me!
Exclusive: Making Effective Low-Budget Slashers w/ Black Creek Writer-Director James Crow
Today marks the release of writer-director James Crow’s new supernatural slasher flick Black Creek on VOD.
To celebrate the film being out there for your viewing pleasure, we wanted to catch up with the director and talk a bit of shop about just how one puts together a low-budget (effective) slasher film.
So without further ado what follows is our interview with writer-director James Crow (House of Salem). Give it a read and then let us know what you think!
Dread Central: The film’s central villain is very interesting. How much of the mythology/backstory is based on real legends?
James Crow: I’ve always been very fascinated and inspired by mythology and have always been very fascinated with Native American culture. I saw a very powerful film called Soldier Blue when I was younger about the Sand Creek Massacre and it has always haunted me. The skinwalker is based upon the Bayok, a shape-shifting creature that was meant to fly through the forests and Great Lakes. It eats the insides of its victims without waking them!
DC: What were some of the major challenges you faced during the shooting this particular film?
JC: Being out in the wilderness is great… in some respects. You’re not disturbed and don’t have things like traffic and planes overhead. You can be quite secluded and it helps with the atmosphere of film – and in some ways, it focuses the cast and crew. But it can be a challenge when you need quick access to things and problems arise. When you’re on a smaller budget and have a smaller crew than normal, it’s a challenge to be that cut-off. You have to be very resourceful!
DC: In addition to directing Black Creek, you also wrote the screenplay. What inspired you to try your hand at a slasher film?
JC: I think there are elements of the slasher genre there, but it has a supernatural element. I wanted to do something different than my last two films, which were far more supernatural. It wasn’t as heavy as some of the other films, and that was quite liberating. It was fun to enjoy doing something in the vein of a more old-school slasher.
DC: How did you pull off all of the SFX contained within the film?
JC: We shot the scenes as best as we could with gritty lighting and atmosphere. My director of photography Scott Fox is a real talent. Then it was all down to the amazing skills of Jeremy. His work on the edit was brilliant and he really brought a lot to the film. The combination of him and Scott – and, of course, Pete Coleman’s score – is wonderful.
DC: What advice would you give aspiring filmmakers?
JC: Keep being ambitious and aiming for new things. Don’t be afraid to go out and make movies. Don’t be constrained by people who tell you it’s impossible to do certain things.
DC: How did you go about casting this film?
JC: A lot of the cast I knew. Producer Craig spent a lot of time going back and forth with casting ideas. Robert Lowe is a fantastic actor I’ve worked with a lot, and Michael is very young but a big talent to watch for. Pierce Stevens always deliverers, and I loved his take on the sheriff. They make a brilliant double act. Chris O’flyng is a very talented guy and actually comes from Wisconsin. I think he gave the role a lovely vulnerability and played the troubled angst of an alternate teen brilliantly. I cast Leah for her wonderful warmth and beauty on camera, and she really delivers the likable girl next door and heroine. Brianna also is a real force and has some great comedic lines. Rachel Vadeer has something magical about her and Kaylee Williams and Michael Copan are really great pros, all of whom we were lucky to get.
DC: What were some of the films that inspired Black Creek?
JC: Obviously The Thing by John Carpenter, but also It Follows was a bit of an influence.
DC: What’s next?
JC: I have a Christmas horror anthology coming out in November – Nightmare on 34th Street – which feature Pierce Stevens, who plays the sheriff in Black Creek as a killer Santa. It also includes some other cast from Black Creek. We’re also in the final stages of another horror I shot with Scott Fox, A Suburban Fairytale, and we start shooting a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style comedy called Last Village on the Right next month.
DC: Are there plans for a Black Creek 2?
JC: I guess that depends on how well one does! I like the idea of a prequel though or spinoff. Hopefully, Craig Patrick and I will do something again soon, even more epic.
DC: What’s your favorite scary movie?
JC: I have too many. But my favorite horror is Suspiria. To me, it’s still totally iconic and out of this world. The soundtrack by Goblin is marvelous, but thankfully I’m doing really well with Pete Coleman on all my movies so far! And Black Creek is another treat, and I look forward to what he’s done on Ahockalypse with Craig. I’m sure it will be amazing, much like his score for Nightmare on 34th Street!
Thanks James for stopping by Dread Central and chatting with us about the new film!
Black Creek stars YouTuber Chris O’Flyng as well as Leah Patrick, Michael Copon, Kaylee Williams, Robert Lowe, and Michael Hill. It was directed by James Crow.
The film is now available On Demand HERE.
Returning to their family’s cabin in the dark, Wisconsin woods to scatter the ashes of their father, a troubled young man and his brash sister are terrorized by signs that an ancient, Native-American spirit, awakened by a ritual murder, has marked them for death.
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