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Killers, Queens, Classics, and Cameos: Adam Green’s Hatchet Series

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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!

***

KILLERS

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.

***

QUEENS

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!

***

CLASSICS

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!

***

CAMEOS

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!

BUY IT HERE!

Synopsis:
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.

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Zena’s Period Blood: Dying for a DEAD END

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It can be difficult finding horror films of quality, so allow me to welcome you to your salvation from frustration. “Zena’s Period Blood” is here to guide you to the horror films that will make you say, “This is a good horror. Point blank. PERIOD.”

“Zena’s Period Blood” focuses on under-appreciated and hidden horror films.

How do you turn $900,000 into $77,000,000? Offer directors Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa the initial amount and give them the freedom to let their minds wander. In 2003, both directors accomplished this unimaginable feat with Dead End. Under the clouds of a small budget, typical poster and insubstantial trailer, most viewers forecasted one long stretch of boredom. However, 15 minutes in and I was as hooked as a pervert in a strip club with his tax refund money. In 83 minutes, the movie unravels and exposes intelligent craftsmanship with story, acting and location, introducing us to the Harrington family and their demise.

After 20 years following the same route, Frank Harrington (Ray Wise) decides to take his family down a shortcut to his in-laws home during Christmas Eve. Wife Laura (Lin Shaye) sings in the passenger seat, serving as the optimistic family unifier who is often ignored by her husband and children. Behind Frank is their oldest child Marion (Alexandra Holden), unnervingly sheltered under the arm of her soon-to-be fiancé, Brad. And forever mom’s favorite boy is Richard (Mick Cain), who rocks out to Marilyn Manson blaring in his headphones. After this brief introduction to the characters and their distinct personalities, we witness everyone fall asleep, including Frank, who refuses to let anyone else drive.

Several seconds pass before the Jeep Wagoneer veers into the opposite lane. Gradually, a honk pleads from an approaching car, startling the Harrington family and forcing Frank to fight with the wheel until he brings the Jeep to a stop. Wide-awake, the family begins to move forward, now entrapped on a new, never-ending road.

I could elaborate on so many scary details in the movie, but the never-ending road stands out the most. What makes it worse is that there are signs for a town called Marcott, with an arrow indicating the town is straight ahead. But the Harringtons never reach the town. This scares me because I believe that every human being has a mental list of things they are scared of or things they should keep an eye out for in certain situations. Unfortunately, this movie exists to expand that list. What sucks for me is that my husband likes taking back roads. Because I strive to have a happy marriage and a peaceful death, I usually fall asleep to avoid an argument and the grim reaper, both of which usually exist on these particular roads. However, I never imagined that a back road could become a never-ending road. Man that would suck!

Speaking of never-ending, the directors became devils of discomfort by never really showing the deceased’s mutilated body, leaving your brain struggling to piece together the unseen image long after the movie ends. Throughout the movie, the family and Brad are picked off one by one. We mainly suffer these devatations through the reactions of the family members that are still alive, sometimes witnessing them lift a severed ear or caress a charred hand. This movie taught me that I can still taste bile at the back of my throat when a mutilation is suggested rather than shown.

Directors Andrea and Canepa accomplished greatness in Dead End with little time and little money. It is a testament that imagination coupled with skill is the true combination to capturing a big budget feel. I hope that all the individuals behind this movie have a long, never-ending road ahead of them because they have delivered brilliance to the world. This is a good horror. Point blank. Period.


In addition to contributing to Dread Central, Zena Dixon has been writing about all things creepy and horrific for over six years at RealQueenofHorror.com. She has always loved horror films and will soon be known directing her own feature-length horror. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @LovelyZena.

 


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5 Zombie Films That Flipped The Script

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The undead have long been a source of horror for cultures around the world. The thought of our loved ones returning from beyond the grave as shells of their former selves has filled countless people with feelings of dread, grief, and terror. Then there’s that whole pesky “they want to eat our flesh” thing going on. As if being in mourning wasn’t enough, now I’ve got to worry about remaining intact?

Netflix’s upcoming horror/thriller Cargo stars Martin Freeman as a man who wanders the Australian outback with 48 hours to live after being bitten by a zombie. The twist in this story is that Freeman has his one-year-old daughter with him and he needs to find a safe place for her before he turns.

Having seen the film, I can tell you that it’s pretty damn fantastic. The zombies are distinct enough that you’ll feel like you’re watching something new and the themes hinted at through the story, while not entirely unique, are so rarely touched upon in zombie films that it feels like a fascinating experience. Cargo has no issues bravely facing racism, xenophobia, environmental concerns, and the fear of loss, not only of one’s life but of all that will never be experienced. It’s horror with heart and it never shies away from that, for which I applaud it.

Because of the release of Cargo, we decided to take a look at five other zombie films that brought something new and exciting to the table.

Stranded in rural Australia in the aftermath of a violent pandemic, an infected father desperately searches for a new home for his infant child and a means to protect her from his own changing nature.

Cargo was directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke from a script written by Ramke. It stars Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter, Caren Pistorius, Kris McQuade, Simone Landers, and David Gulpilil.


Night of the Living Dead (1968)

It may not seem all that original now but George A. Romero’s 1968 classic really was revolutionary upon its release. Prior to this film, zombies were mostly thought of in terms of the Haitian folklore that was seen in movies like White Zombie. In that film, zombies weren’t mindless ghouls intent on devouring the living, they were freshly dead corpses resurrected by a Bokor (a necromancer) who wiped the mind of the zombie and made them their personal slave. Romero changed all that by taking the same concept and removing all possibility of the ghouls being controlled. Rather, they became the shuffling corpses that are now cultural icons.


Train to Busan (2016)

South Korea’s 2016 zombie film received, rightfully so, wild critical acclaim and the love of horror fans across the globe. Wasting no time in getting into the action, Train to Busan felt like a breath of fresh air because it masterfully blended humor, over-the-top action, horror, social commentary, and genuine emotion. Elements of each of these traits have been seen countless times throughout zombie films but the culmination of everything made Yeon Sang-ho’s film one of the best entries in the genre in this decade, possibly this century.


28 Days Later (2002)

Raw, gritty, vicious, and undeniably beautiful, 28 Days Later is a masterpiece of intensity and emotion. The first zombie film in many years to truly make it feel like the world was over, it created a believable story and focused on interesting, nuanced characters. As with Train to Busan and Night of the Living Dead themes of class warfare and social commentary were most certainly present, creating a film that felt fresh and exciting. There’s a reason 28 Days Later was credited with revitalizing the zombie genre and it’s because it brought new, albeit infected, blood into the mix.


Maggie (2015)

Seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger in a dramatic role bereft of action or comedy should already clue you in that this movie is aiming to do something different but it’s the actual meat (no pun intended) and potatoes of the story that offers a fresh perspective on zombies. Schwarzenegger’s Wade is distraught and desperate after learning that his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) is infected with the “Necroambulist virus” and has days left before she changes into a cannibalistic creature. Rather than focus on the terrors of what might be, Maggie opts to focus on what we know will be lost. Maggie will never know what an adult life will be life. She will never know a love that lasts the rest of her life nor will she have the chance to be a parent. Her grief at what she will never experience is matched by Wade’s overwhelming anguish that he cannot protect his daughter or be there for all those moments that could have been.

As King Theoden mournfully stated in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, “No parent should have to bury their child.”


The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)

What if the zombie was actually the character we, the audience, were pushed to care the most about? Enter Colm McCarthy’s 2016 brilliant film The Girl With All The Gifts and you’ll have that same experience. Never failing to bring scares, the film also isn’t afraid to ask how can we love that which can put us in so much danger as well as cause us so much pain? Sennia Nanua positively shines as Melanie, a young girl infected with a fungal disease that will send her on a mindless, flesh-hungry rampage were it not for a cream that remaining humans can rub on their arms to curb her appetite. As with 28 Days Later, The Girl With All The Gifts doesn’t shy away from commentary on race and class differences. But its true strength lies in its ability to make you feel for the very thing that should strike fear into your heart.


This post was sponsored by Netflix.

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Interview: Author Alex White on ALIEN: THE COLD FORGE

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Titan Books new novel Alien: The Cold Forge finds a group of scientists conducting experiments on the titular beasts on a remote space station, and as you might expect, things don’t go so hot. While the basic setup may sound like familiar ground, author Alex White manages to twist and subvert expectations at nearly every turn, developing a book with some great characters, creepy horror setpieces and intriguing tweaks to the Xenomorph lifecycle.

I recently got to ask Alex some questions on Alien: The Cold Forge, covering how he got the job, alternate story concepts and if there was anything from the movies that was off bounds while he was writing the book.


Dread Central: Hi Alex. First off, could you give a quick overview of your writing career prior to Alien: The Cold Forge?

Alex White: I started out writing screenplays, which was a major part of my independent studies in college. Around 2005, I started seriously writing novels, and I sold my fifth book, Every Mountain Made Low, in 2015. My agent, Connor Goldsmith, parleyed that into the Alien deal for me, as well as my forthcoming three-book space opera, The Salvagers. The first book, A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, arrives June 26th of this year.

DC: How did the concept for The Cold Forge come to you?

AW: My agent called me to let me know that I’d scored a pitch meeting with Titan editor Steve Saffel, and I had to come up with a couple of ideas, fast. I was at Adaptive Path’s UX week when Double Robotics did a presentation using their telepresence robot, and I was fascinated by the idea. What if you had one survivor in an alien outbreak who was cut off, only able to influence the outcome through telepresence? How would the other survivors react? Would they be grateful or upset?

I was also dealing with a lot of Silicon Valley tech bros at the time, and Dorian naturally evolved from the amoral folks that work at a lot of those companies. When we’re chasing profits, it’s important to ask: who gets hurt? Dorian doesn’t have that reflex.

DC: Did you pitch any other ideas for Alien stories to Titan for the book?

AW: I pitched three, but I only really remember two of them. There’s the one that eventually became The Cold Forge, and there was another that took place on a military academy on a planet overrun by aliens. The idea is that you have a bunch of troubled outcast teens who’ve been shipped away from home to get discipline, then an outbreak kills most of the adults. It sounds YA, but I wanted to turn it into full-on Lord of the Flies.

DC: Pretty much every character in The Cold Forge is flawed or corrupt in some way. Was it fun to write a story without any traditional heroes?

AW: Absolutely, because honestly, I think it represents the reality of a survival scenario. Also, can you imagine living with your coworkers for years at a time? I doubt I’d be able to survive that with a clean conscience, myself.

DC: Dorian Sudler has to one of the great all-time assholes in the franchise to date. How did you dream up such an odious character?

AW: I was dealing with a lot of Silicon Valley tech bros at the time, and Dorian naturally evolved from this utter prick of a venture capitalist who shared a cab with me one evening. When you’re dealing with big data in particular, it’s easy to violate privacy, manipulate people and outright disenfranchise folks (Check out Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil). On my product teams, we have a strict rule: “Don’t pitch me anything you don’t want used on you.” With any advancement, you might churn a good profit, but you also might end up ruining someone’s life. That’s why it’s important to ask: who gets hurt? Dorian, like that venture capitalist, doesn’t have that reflex.

DC: The relationship between Blue Marsalis and her android/nurse Marcus is also pretty intriguing, where she uses his body as an avatar to escape her own bed-ridden condition. Where did that idea come from?

AW: While I’ve already talked about Double Robotics, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my friend’s father passed from complications of ALS around that time. Another friend of mine has a terminally-ill daughter, and watching the trials that poor kid has to endure is heartbreaking. I wanted the readers to feel the difficulties that come with a terminal condition, as well as the discrimination. Terminally-ill people are often treated as though they’re already dead. Friends drift away, unable to witness the pain unfolding before them.

Blue deals with all of that, especially the fact that her life is considered worthless by the others. If they’d managed to get to an escape pod, do you think Blue’s crewmates would’ve rescued her? If she’d died out there, who would’ve spoken a kind word?

DC: The Cold Forge reveals Facehuggers don’t actually implant an embryo but inject a black goo-like substance instead that rewrites DNA. Did you receive any pushback about making this change to their life cycle?

AW: Nope! It’s 100% in keeping with Alien: Covenant and you never actually see a larval injection onscreen. In fact, 20th Century Fox requested ZERO changes to the manuscript and sent a page full of compliments, which is probably a first!

DC: The book feels somewhat inspired by video game Alien: Isolation, including how the Xenos are depicted and certain passages like Sudler hiding in a weapons locker. Have you played the game?

AW: Oh, I absolutely did. My god, that game was a masterpiece. The thing that really stuck with me was the audible weight of the creatures. I’d never felt them so substantially in the movies.

DC: Are you a fan of any of the other Alien Expanded Universe stories, be it games, comics or novels?

AW: Oh yeah. In the 90s, I had every Dark Horse book and comic. I played all of the games, especially AvP and AvP 2 (and that badass Capcom beat-em-up that took all my quarters). Strangely enough, the creator of the AvP games was Rebellion, and their publishing arm is the company that bought my debut!

DC: Were there any story ideas that were off-limits while writing the book, e.g. mentioning certain characters or events from past movies?

AW: When I started writing, Covenant hadn’t come out yet, and Prometheus was considered a separate license, so I couldn’t use the black goo. About a month into my contract, Covenant came out and boom! I get to use everything I want.

DC: How have you found the fan response to the book so far?

AW: Incredible! They love it, and they’re so happy to tell me that. I’m really blown away by the kindness and excitement from this fandom. There are a lot of really great folks out there, especially the ones from AvPGalaxy.net.

DC: Would you pay another visit to the Alien universe if the opportunity presented itself?

AW: You bet! I’ve always got a few more ideas in me. I’m also planning to do a commentary on my thought process while writing the book, which you can find in my newsletter.

If you fancy picking up a copy of the book for yourself, click this here link! If you like Alex’s work and you want to keep up to date with his next book, he can also be found on Twitter @alexrwhite

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