Last year the FEARnet original comedy series “Holliston” came storming out of the gate to become wildly popular among horror fans and, according to series creator and star Adam Green, grew a following outside the horror community as well.
“Holliston” returns to FEARnet this Tuesday, June 4, and Dread Central was lucky enough to sit down with Green to talk about the evolution of the series from its initial offering last year until now and what fans can expect to see with this new season.
“I think the biggest difference from Season 1 to Season 2 is there is a level of confidence now,” Green said. “It’s very evident from the first 30 seconds. Not that we’ve necessarily hit our groove, I think we had a groove in Season 1, but that we know that it’s working and we’re not afraid anymore. And the “Holliston” Christmas Special really showed that. Because with Season 1, a lot of times we found ourselves debating…’Do we pull back on some of this emotional stuff?’ ‘Are people going to hang with this or are they going to be “get to the next joke already or get to the next horror reference or horror moment”?’ But once Season 1 started airing, it was almost immediate how positive the response was. We really did not expect it.”
Green continued, “Nobody had ever done this before. It’s really uncharted territory, so we were expecting the worst. We didn’t know if horror fans would watch a sitcom in the first place. And would they be like ‘This is too weird.’ or ‘Why is there a laugh track?’ or just ‘What the fuck? What are these two idiots doing?’ The fact we are acting in it, although the fact is we’re barely acting because we’re just being ourselves. We figured there would be people who would be like ‘These two suck.’ Because it wasn’t in the cards that we were supposed to be sitcom stars. That just wasn’t expected. But lo and behold we barely got any negative reaction.”
Not only did “Holliston” not receive negative reactions, the response was more amazing than Green could ever have imagined. “The best part about it is when you do a movie like Hatchet, Spiral, Frozen, you get an influx of fan mail and a lot of it is usually like ‘I love this movie’ or maybe a question or two. But “Holliston” wasn’t typical fan mail,” Green said. “They were almost like thank you letters. The letters we would get would be like four to 10 pages long and the main four of us (Green, Joe Lynch, Corri English, Laura Ortiz) read every single one of them because we see each other all the time and they would come by the office where I would drop a stack of mail down and say ‘You guys have got to read this.’ People would write to us with their own stories about things they’re struggling to do. Surprisingly, only about one percent of them were for people who are trying to be filmmakers. It was always a very unique, different story about something someone was aspiring to do. And also people’s personal stories about the break-up they never got over or the one they’re going through now.”
Green understands that between the laughs and F/X, the characters in “Holliston” are simply experiencing the same things as their audience. “I think what the characters are going through is very universal for horror fans,” Green said. But you don’t have to be a horror fan to identify with these characters. It definitely has a level of coolness to it. My hamster’s name is Horace Pinker. We showed the show to a room full of elderly people…I’m still not sure how that happened…and I’m thinking ‘This is gonna bomb.’ But they laughed at everything! Even the Horace Pinker thing. They thought that was the funniest name ever. They don’t know that that’s the killer from Shocker, it’s just a silly name for a hamster. But the idea that all these characters are in purgatory and they all have a dream bigger than where they are now, they all have something that they’re hoping to accomplish with their lives and going through the things that everyone goes through. And I think that’s the thing everyone identifies with.”
But as universal as the themes and characters are in “Holliston,” Green appreciates the fact that his horror brethren enjoy the show on a much deeper level. “The horror fans in particular, which was really the first line we had to cross, a lot of them were just saying thank you for portraying horror fans as real people,” Green said. “A lot of people are quick to judge us and are like ‘If you like that stuff, then all you care about is blood and guts and monsters and jump scares and depravity and it’s not true. If anyone in the world understands what it’s like to be beaten down and disenchanted and dejected and not get the girl and not get the guy and not get the job you want, it’s us. And I think that’s why we stick together and that’s why horror is a community where other genres just have fans. You don’t see romantic-comedy conventions.”
Green sees the new season of “Holliston” as much freer. The premise has been developed and now Green can simply advance the story. “We don’t need to set up the characters in Season 2 like we did in Season 1,”Green said. “We don’t need to establish the world and the tone and who everybody is and what the relationships are. It’s all there now and just like with every sitcom, Season 2 is better. And, I hate to say better because I love Season 1, but it’s just off and running now.”
And as good as Season 1 was, it was perhaps the “Holliston Christmas Special” that FEARnet ran over the holidays, that brought the show to an entirely new level. “What you saw in the Christmas Special was us being able to run with what we wanted the show to be, which wasn’t just absurdity and weirdness and funny and gory moments, but genuine heart. We made the Christmas Special, which was extremely personal to me because it really mirrors my life at that time.”
It was perhaps a scene that was deleted from the network airing of the “Holliston Christmas Special” (but ran online) that had the biggest impact on the viewers. “The scene that most people had comments about was the hallway scene with me and Corri at the end of the episode,” Green said. “It was all improv because I wanted it to be real, and I didn’t want to know what I was going to say. And she was crying and I was crying and the boom operator was crying and everybody was just like ‘Holy shit!’ and we debated that scene for a long time. Is it too much, will it turn people off? And the scene was cut for television, but that scene was the one most people wanted to talk about. It was very hard to do and…brave, I guess…to put myself out there like that. It’s one thing to act or do interviews, but it’s another to completely bare your soul and breakdown and cry in front of everyone, especially when you’re the guy who made Hatchet.”
Green discussed the adventure of creating the show. “”Holliston” is my favorite thing I’ve ever done, my most passionate passion project, the thing I came out here to do,” Green said. “A lot of people don’t know about that because I didn’t really talk about it. When I was doing promotion for Hatchet, people would ask me ‘What is your dream project,’ You don’t want to admit to another sane human being that ‘I really want my own sitcom that I write, direct, show run, produce and star in.’ You can’t really say that to someone because it’s ridiculous. And the fact that it took 13 year to get this thing going…because it had been set up at various other places over the years. As the development process would progress, it would become something I didn’t want it to be. Like the first thing to go would always be the imaginary alien in the closet and, of course, all the horror stuff. It could never be that we would be horror directors. It always had to be something else. And they took the whole tone of it and my voice and sense of humor would go.”
Adam Green stars in “Holliston” on FEARnet. Season 2 begins this Tuesday, June 4. Green also writes and directs the show. He stars beside Joe Lynch, Corri English and Laura Ortiz.
Look for Part 2 of this interview tomorrow.
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