If spending a lifetime watching horror films has taught us anything, it’s the basic tools for survival that would apply to just about any kind of hellish situation. The only problem is the writers of our favorite flicks see fit to just have characters fall into the same kinds of pitfalls over and over. You know them well, but just in case Dread Central is proud(?) to present the …
1. Parents just don’t understand: Yes, no matter how crazy or odd the behavior of their children becomes, these horror parents just refuse to care, say, or do anything about it. In severe cases the statement “He/she must be on drugs!” is often spoken.
2. We travel in packs! Whether monster or slasher, the fodder must consist of a group no smaller than six members of either friends, family, or tourists. Another characteristic of this cliche is that the members must consist of all ranges of gender, race, and stereotypes.
3. Arise ye Baddie! Our beloved baddie has just had a bridge collapse on him and it looks like everything is gonna finally be OK … But wait! A closeup of the rubble reveals an eye opening, a hand rising, or even a weapon thrusting from the ashes! Way to let us in on the upcoming secret “surprise” attack finale, Mr. Writer!
4. Let’s investigate! What was that strange bump in the night? I have an idea! Let’s go stumble around in the dark and check it out. I suppose it could be a serial killer or maniacal slasher or even a bloodthirsty mutant beast, but I’ll bring this flashlight; that’ll scare ’em away!
5. Bad luck Baddie: This of course is a reference to the inevitable occurrence of a string of miraculous, heaven-sent events unfolding to ensure the demise of our beloved baddies and the survival of the inept heroes. Never mind that until now the guy/monster has been completely unstoppable.
6. Can you hear me now? Oh no! The baddie’s gonna get me! Damn, the phone is out! I’ll climb out this window … It’s jammed! OK I broke it with a chair, now I’ll drive away to safety … Oh, what do you know, the car won’t start! This has got to be the lamest, most unoriginal, overused plot ploy ever! Any writer who even considers using this turd of a script concept should stick to writing commercials and sitcoms.
7. I’m gonna run! Um … Over here? – The baddie makes his presence and intention known and the would-be victim must make a run for his life. Five feet away is a car. Twenty feet away is a house. A quarter of a mile away is a dark, menacing forest. Their choice????? The forest of course! Run, rabbit, RUN!
8. Hey, I didn’t know MacGuyver was in this flick! Our heroine has exhibited nothing but Paris Hilton-level intelligence throughout the entire movie. But once she’s the only survivor left, she discovers the brains to build an incredibly clever, ingenious, and lethal trap/weapon out of nothing but a rubber band, shoelace, and half-eaten hamburger! You go on with your bad self, Richard Dean Anderson!
9. The Bachelorette: Horror Edition: Ah yes, nothing sparks the mood for romance like seeing all of your closest friends/family hacked to itty-bitty pieces! Somewhere amidst all the blood and guts, our hero/heroine finds the time to make that special connection with that special someone. This guarantees a final scene containing coy looks followed by a long sloppy session of tonsil-hockey. And BTW, it’s purely coincidence that they are the only two survivors.
10. Zoloft saved my life! Our hero/heroine begins and spends the majority of the movie lacking self confidence, popularity, ambition, and is more or less a completely insecure mess. But at the right moment, they discover themselves, believe in who they are, and break out of their self-loathing-basket-case shell to whup some serious baddie ass! Who needs a session with Dr. Phil? Just survive a horrible bloody massacre, and you’ll be fine!
11. Bombs can’t kill the hero/main character: Any time our film involves a bomb, we have one of two things happen:
A.) Bomb time does not run on our time. We will see our hero running from the bomb, they flash to the screen of the bomb. It’s at 3, and our hero still has a long way to go – he must be dead. Then it flashes back to him running for about 5 seconds so by this time we should hear BOOOOOM! But WAIT! What’s this? We are back to the bomb and it still has 2 seconds left. Then they will make the dramatic dive out of the window or door just as the bomb blows up.
B.) Our hero becomes a master bomb technician. Not only does he disarm the bomb, but he will do it with 1 second left on the timer. As if to say “Fuck you, bad guy. Beat that!!
12. Where are you guys? Similar to “Let’s investigate!” This is usually where we have one or two characters left. All of their friends are either missing or have been brutally murdered by some maniac. Yet, they will still hear a sound or see a figure and keep calling out to their friends, walking deeper and deeper in their own death trap. Your friends aren’t answering you because they are dead. Keep up your idiotic antics and you will be next.
13. The crazy scientist: No matter how many of his friends or people around him he has seen the mutant/monster brutally murder, he will still insist “We must capture it alive to study it”.
14. OK, he’s dead: This is when our hero has finally managed to knock down the bad guy. After having his friends killed and almost being killed himself, it seems that knocking the bad guy down is a victory. Rather than bashing in his brains to ensure death, he will turn the other way and walk away or start running, just asking for the chase process to begin again.
15. Well … I guess we’ll just blow him up: It will always take these geniuses many failed attempts at trying to shoot the monster and use every other method of death before they realize why not just get the military involved and either blow him up, burn him, or freeze him.
16. Uh-oh! Teenagers are bumping uglies! Watch out, viewer, two hormonally charged teens are about to drop trou and have a roll in the hay! One can be sure that a grisly death is on the way when they finish, or in some cases, while they’re goin’ at it!
17. No…that WASN’T the wind: Here’s a great one. We usually have two teens equally as dumb. The guy always wants to get it on, but just as they are about to … there’s a sound!! The girl asks “What’s that??” Now you figure the first thing that comes to mind for both is “Holy shit, that’s probably the maniac that was just chasing us with a knife.” But no … his response is always “It’s probably just the wind”. Sorry, guys, but it’s never the wind.
18. Don’t ever ask for directions: – You’re better off just driving around looking for where you’re going and running out of gas than asking for directions. But if you must ask for directions, don’t go to some rundown gas station in the middle of nowhere or some house in the middle of the woods. What you are doing then is not really asking directions but rather “Could you demented backwoods fellas tell us the best place to go where you can hunt us down one by one and brutally murder us?”
19. Have I made it clear that this killer is crazy? The grisly/unthinkable acts of violence aren’t enough to prove the killer’s unstable ways. We have to get cheesy/trite commentary from the killer before, during, and after each kill. Can be a good thing if done right, but when done wrong, it just makes the killer seem like a poorly thought out stereotype.
20. No one is going to listen: This one is very similar to “Parents just don’t understand.” No matter what is going on or how crazy it looks, neither the police, your parents, or anyone else will believe you. There can be a body ripped to shreds which clearly not even a group of teens can do; yet, you will still be blamed.
21. Listen to the “crazy” guy: So if you and a group of friends are going camping or something and some crazy looking guy says “Don’t go there” or “You don’t want to stay there,” it’s usually a good idea to listen to him. 99.9% of the time that “crazy” guy isn’t so crazy and knows exactly what he’s talking about.
22. Don’t be a tough guy: This one pretty much speaks for itself. If you act like a tough guy, then you’re dead. You may be able to last a while, but you will be brutally murdered by the time the movie is over.
23. The double twist!!! We all know a lot of movies have been throwing a twist in just for the hell of it. What about the double twist though? This is where we get a twist at the end of the movie which sometimes isn’t even bad. But then we get another twist within the last few seconds that makes absolutely no sense and just seems to be there for the hell of it, usually all but ruining the movie.
24. My light won’t work?!?!? This is when a character has a flashlight. They may be walking in the dark woods or a dark house, and the light will be working fine. But as soon as they hear a bump in the night or some maniac killer is after them, the light will suddenly decide to stop working, resulting in the death of our character.
25. He’s gonna change: This is where we have a husband/boyfriend beat his wife/girlfriend or abuse her. Yet, she will still go back to him, sometimes even more then once insisting “He’s a changed man”. Once an abuser, always an abuser. THEY DON’T CHANGE.
26. See no evil, hear no evil: A lot of times in a horror flick you’ll get the monster operating from an attic, a basement, a shed, etc., where there are all kinds of people living. Everybody hears the weird noises. Everybody sees the footprints or bloody trail left behind. But they continue to go about their lives and chalk it all up to mice, cats, “house noises”, etc.
27. Why do we own this? This entry refers to the fact that there seems to be a lot of ordinary people who not only own weapons like machetes, but casually leave them lying around just in case a baddie shows up and forgot his at home.
28. I’ll be back! This one’s real simple. No, you won’t. If these lines are penciled in to be read by any actor/actress, it’s curtains for that character sooner, rather than later.
29. It came from outer space: Of course – That’s right, a strange bloodthirsty creature has descended upon a small town. The writers couldn’t think of anything original to explain its methods/appearance/origin, so naturally it must have come from the Last Great Frontier. Ugh!
30. Fuck leaving, let’s kill it! Sometimes some survivors have a legitimate chance to pack up while they’re still alive and get the hell out of there. More times than not, though, they develop this personal grudge and decide to stay and kill it/him instead. I don’t know about you, but if i just saw 10 or more people savagely killed, I’d give the baddie his/its due and get the hell outta there alive. Besides, local law enforcement can handle the situation! Can’t they?
31. Mommy Dearest: When it comes to slashers/killers, we almost invariably learn later on that issues with Mother played a big part in their going “postal” on the innocents (Friday the 13th, Halloween, Black Christmas, and of course Psycho, just to name a few). It worked for these movies, but after seeing it done so many times, it’s def a cliche now!
32. Stand back! I’m an expert: When dealing with baddies, a lot of the time one of the characters in the group is an “expert” on whatever is killing people in large numbers in the movie. This character’s function in the plot is to basically explain everything not only to the other characters but also to the audience. Occasionally good info, but usually just redundant and something you already knew anyway.
33. Rules are made to be broken: Why is it that 9 times out of 10, when we have a really cool baddie, the writers have to ruin it by inventing some “magical” or “special” way of killing it? I mean, c’mon! There’s no shame in being offed by a simple double-barrel shotgun blast to the head! These rules usually just make the story that much more unbelievable and over-the-top silly.
34. I’m just to damn horny: This is when two teens feel the need to crank out a quick one or go into some long make-out session. Usually there would be nothing wrong with that, but when there’s a killer on the loose and your friends are dying around you, all of your focus should be on not being the next to die.
35. The shoulder grab!!! This is where we have two characters, usually a male and a female. The female will already be scared shitless because there is some type of killer/monster on the loose and her friends/family have died right in front of her. Our genius male character figures the best way to get her attention is to silently sneak up behind her and grab her shoulder. How about you call her name out or even whisper it out? Or at the very least walk a little heavier so she can hear your damn footsteps. That is just one example of the shoulder grab. I’m sure many of you have seen it in other situations also.
36. Oh, the suspense…or lack thereof: This one happens in all types of horror, be it zombie/monster/killer. I will use zombie as an example. It usually happens early in the movie, well before we get to the action. We will hear some type of bump or knock or scratch. Then the suspense music kicks in, and we watch as the camera follows our main character. As this is happening, we are all going “OK, movie, we have seen this before. You’re gonna get to where you heard the sound and it’s gonna be a freaking dog, cat, or one of your friends, not some zombie tearing apart some hapless teen like we all want it to be.” And what is it when our character and camera reach their destination??? It’s a freaking dog, cat, or one of their friends.
37. Hey, a coincidence…and another…and another: Yes, I think you can figure out what this one is. We don’t have one or two coincidences but an entire movie filled with them. I mean, how many times can the main character just escape death or just happen to run into the right or wrong person or just miss being caught before the director realizes “Wow, this movies just has way too many coincidences to be taken seriously.”
38. I mutated myself!!! This could technically be part of “The dumb scientist” cliche. Why is it that every time a scientist thinks he has perfected whatever he is working on, the dumbass always decides to try it on himself, horribly mutating himself and ruining his life in the process.
39. Good job trapping yourself: (Zombie only) Ah yes, you gotta love how when you have a horde of zombies after you, these brilliant people decide to trap themselves inside a house or some type of abandoned building. Nothing like having a pack of zombies engulf you as soon as they break in. And they will break in, and everyone knows that. As far as i know, zombies don’t climb so why not find the fattest tree and wait those S.O.B’s out.
40. Damn right I’m a sharp shooter: (Another zombie only) Something about zombies just gives everyone an amazing trigger finger. Our people can range from an ex-military guy who has fired many weapons in his life to a ditsy clueless blonde, a nerdy little teenager, or some fat slob; yet, they are all equally as gifted with a gun in their hand. It also doesn’t matter the type of gun. It can be a hand gun, machine gun, shot gun, or a sniper rifle. Our characters will always find it in themselves to not only shoot the zombie but to also make sure it’s a head shot. Pretty fucking good considering you have never shot a gun before or been this scared in your life.
41. I didn’t know this was a PS2 game!! When a director is making a movie on a low budget, he can’t make the monster CGI. Even CGI on a bigger budget movie a lot of the time doesn’t look that great. But I swear on some of these lower budget movies the monster looks like he was cut straight out of a PS2 cut scene. It amazes me that some directors want their names on these pieces of garbage. You’re much better off just sticking a man in a rubber suit. At least that would look decent and give a cheesy 80’s feel instead of a garbage feel.
42. The dream/daydream: The name pretty much speaks for itself. Usually one of our main characters will either have a real dream and wake up in bed or they can be at work or something and having a daydream. It usually will have them getting killed or killing someone. It’s always something really dramatic ,and we all KNOW it’s not really happening and just a dream. So why even put it in? There is no way you can tell me anyone actually falls for the dream.
44. Maybe his/its vision is based on movement: We all know about the many cliches characters commit with what they choose to do when the baddie shows up. This cliche is about what they don’t do. I mean, try something. Anything. Run, punch, kick, dance a jig! Just do something besides stand there and scream or sit on the ground and look up at your impending demise.
45. Slow-mo pre-butchering: This one is strictly for the slashers and serial killers. We’ve all seen it: The victim is down/trapped and the killer is moving in for the death blow and…he SLOWLY raises the weapon up over his head. This would be a good time to take some action, victim.
46. Oppressed by “The Man”: Sorry, friends and NAACP members, but if you’re a member of any minority, you’re not gonna make it to the end of the movie. How often does a Black, Latino, or Asian character wind up being the lone survivor?
47. Boo! OK, let me try again. BOO!!!!!! This one really annoys me. It usually happens in the first half of a movie where they will have all these dumb jump scenes. Where maybe a knife will fall or an animal will jump out or something. We always gotta get the spooky jump scene music with it, too.
48. We all know… This is when you know everything that’s going to happen in the movie. Some movies are so predictable, it seems like all we are waiting for is the idiot characters to figure out what we already know.
49. Ominous fog, as per usual! Yep, we’re walking through the forest, parking lot, etc., and a ridiculously thick and visible fog rolls in! Nobody sees it. Nobody worries about it. Nobody even friggin’ mentions it! As a viewer all you can say is, “Gee, wonder if somethin’ bad is about to happen?” Blech!!
50. Chug…chug…chug: The engine to my car won’t start when I most need it to. Like when I’m about to get killed for example. Do car engines have minds of their own and just like to fuck with their owners? They’re probably laughing the whole time as the hapless victim is frantically turning the key and only getting a chug chug chug. Seriously, though, instead of trimming the gore or nudity in a movie, they should be forced to trim the dumb parts like cars not starting.
51. Electricity: Marvel at it and all of its BLUENESS! Noticed this one just the other day. Many a time has a baddie (or group of baddies) been sent back to hell via a nice flesh-searing electrical shock. And although electrocution is a gruesome way to check out, it doesn’t make for a very visibly gory death. So what did the movie makers come up with? Make it BLUE! But why stop there? Along with making it blue, let’s make it course up and down the body for maybe 30 to 60 seconds! And of course there must be a funny dance performed by the one being fried. It’s really quite silly since in reality being electrocuted does not last a full minute, and the current is definitely not visible to anybody who happens to be viewing it as it occurs. Also, if you watch closely, sometimes the person being zapped is either grounded or not in position to complete a circuit. Thus, they would have been fine anyways. But hey, it sure is fun watching ’em do that funny dance!
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Five Chilling Period Haunted House Movies
One of the joys of horror is that it’s timeless. Urban legends featuring terrifying creatures have been the basis of countless stories, movies, games, and shows. The fear of the future is ever present in movies like The Cloverfield Paradox and Pulse while the past haunts us in The Witch, The Masque of Red Death, and Black Death. There isn’t a period of time that finds itself free from fear. At every turn in history, the fear of the unknown (as well as the known) has plagued the minds of populations, no matter where they are on this planet.
Tonight, advance screenings of The Lodgers begin across the country. In the Brian O’Malley-directed film, twin brother and sister Edward and Rachel are held to their ancestral home by strange and terrifying spirits. When Rachel falls in love and aims to break the rules she is strangled by, everything begins to fall apart. Set in early World War 1-era Ireland with much of the film taking place in the historic Loftus Hall, The Lodgers is a beautiful entry in period horror films.
If you go to one of the screenings we have lined up and find yourselves craving something similar, here are a few titles that may just scratch that itch!
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar, this phenomenal film follows Nicole Kidman and her two children as they await the return of their father (her husband) from World War II. Her children, who suffer from extreme photosensitivity, can only live in darkness, the blinds constantly drawn and the outside a potential death trap. When three caretakers arrive to help the family, strange occurrences begin happening and the family become convinced that they are being haunted.
The winner of a staggeringly high amount of awards from the Goya Awards, Saturn Awards, Online Film Critics, and more, The Others became a smash hit via strong word of mouth, resulting in phenomenal near-$210 million box office pull.
Following the story of Sarah Winchester, the heiress of the Winchester Rifle Company, and her mission to build a mansion that contains the ghosts of those killed by her company’s wares, Winchester may have received a tepid reception from critics and fans alike; but there is no denying that it absolutely bathes in its production design. You may not get the scares you’re after, but you’ll certainly get a visually captivating experience.
Voice From the Stone
A far more muted kind of horror film, Voice From the Stone delights in the texture of its location. The cracks in the walls, the way hands slide against a sculpture, the way the local flora sways in the breeze… All of this is coupled with a romance story set against the threat of jealousy from beyond the grave. Touching and emotional, Voice From the Stone is a beautiful kind of horror.
The Woman in Black
Perhaps most “horror” of films on this list, The Woman in Black is about as Gothic as one can get. Dark hallways, a foreboding landscape, and an ever-present threat of ghostly terror around every corner all make for a film that should not be watched in the dark…unless you want to be scared when you turn off the lights in your own home.
While marketed as a horror film, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is far more invested in its romance than the scares it has to offer. Yes, it’s full of ghosts and practical FX and takes place in a dilapidated English mansion, but the focus relies more heavily on the relationships in the film than the horrors lurking within the walls of Allerdale Hall. Visually beautiful – it’s a del Toro film, so who expects anything else? – and full of absolutely stunning production design, Crimson Peak was well-received and will make a wonderful double feature with The Lodgers.
Venture Into These Influential Horror Movies Set in the Woods
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost
There is something inherently terrifying to me about horror films set in the woods. This may seem strange to those who know me since I live in a state that is known for its bountiful forests. Hell, as I look out my window while typing this, I see an endless horizon of treetops the branches poking and prodding the sky.
I’m not sure if it’s the inability to see around oneself without obstruction or if it’s hearing the sound of nature’s animals but rarely seeing them that sets me on edge. What I do know is that forests are exceptional at hiding things from those they don’t wish to see. That inability to know one’s surroundings, as well as what inhabits them, is haunting. What lurks around that thicket? What’s waiting underneath that pile of leaves? What waits in amidst the branches overhead, biding its time before it strikes?
These questions, and more, always linger in my mind whenever I watch a horror film set in a forest. It’s why they are usually so effective at haunting me for days on end. And with David Bruckner’s terrifying looking The Ritual available now on Netflix, I wanted to revisit some films that I believe use the woods to extraordinary effect. Having seen The Ritual, I can give you my personal guarantee that Bruckner effectively uses the setting of a Scandinavian forest to his full advantage, turning what should be a picturesque landscape of tranquility and beauty into a phantasmagoria of haunting visions that make every square inch of foliage appear threatening.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, especially if I missed something!
Neil Marshall’s debut feature-length film not only reinvigorated the werewolf genre, it’s remained an enduring title that receives well-deserved love from the horror community.
Following a group of soldiers on a training mission in the Scottish Highlands who are attacked by a group of werewolves, Dog Soldiers features a fantastic cast including Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham. It makes wonderful use of its setting, allowing the creatures to lurk in the trees before striking with deadly force.
Sam Raimi’s classic cult horror film sends a group of college students to a secluded cabin where a recording of a demonic incantation raises evil forces that possess and pick them off one at a time. Creating a horror film that is remembered for decades after its release is no easy feat but creating a franchise that is beloved through an entire community and is still going to this day? Kudos, ladies and gentlemen. Kudos all around!
Tucker & Dale vs Evil
Perhaps one of the most entertaining horror comedies to ever be released, Tucker & Dale Vs Evil is not just a fantastic film, it’s a magnificent spoof on the “inbred hostile redneck” subgenre, which primarily takes place in the woods. Poking fun at Deliverance, Wrong Turn, The Hills Have Eyes, and the like, the film could never have worked had it not been set in the stereotypical “cabin in the woods”. Many films have tried to capture the same magic and heart that Tucker & Dale possesses but very few have come even remotely close.
The Cabin in the Woods
Coming off one of the greatest spoofs of the “cabin in the wood” trope to one of the most clever satirical commentaries on horror, The Cabin in the Woods was, and still is, a fantastic horror film that faces its tropes, welcomes them with open arms, and then finds ways to make them feel fresh again. Now if only we can hear what’s going on with that potential sequel…
The most recent entry on this list, A24’s The Witch was critically lauded and remains one of the most fascinating theatrical experiences I’ve had in a long time. Utilizing brilliant sound design, haunting music, and a forest that loomed over a dysfunctional family like some hungered beast waiting to strike, The Witch has haunted countless viewers while remaining one of the most discussed horror films in the past couple of years. Rightfully so, I might add. It’ll be very interesting to see how The Witch influences horror to come.
Friday the 13th
Can I really talk about influential horror movies that take place in the woods without bringing up the Friday the 13th franchise? Even Jason X, which took place in freaking space, brought it back to Camp Crystal Lake and made use of the trees!
Now, some could argue that a campground isn’t the same as being caught up in the woods or even that it’s different from a standard “cabin in the woods” scenario. To that I say bollocks! They’re miles from help and the forest is oppressively bearing down upon them at pretty much every turn. The killer can be lurking behind any tree, coming at you from any direction… Your campground isn’t safe if it’s surrounded!
The Blair Witch Project
This is it. This may very well be the most influential horror movie to take place in the woods. Obviously one could make the argument that Cannibal Holocaust was the reason that The Blair Witch Project even exists but I believe that Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s film did more for horror in the long run, not just as what many believe to be the foundation for modern day found footage but also because of its brilliant marketing campaign. The impact of The Blair Witch Project is still being felt to this day and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
The Ritual stars Rafe Spall, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton. It is based on Adam Nevell’s horror novel of the same name.
Reuniting after the tragic death of their best mate, four old friends from university set out to hike through the Scandinavian wilderness. But a wrong turn leads them into the dark and mysterious forests of Norse legend, where an ancient evil still exists and stalks them at every turn.
Killers, Queens, Classics, and Cameos: Adam Green’s Hatchet Series
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.
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