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HATCHET 3: Victor Crowley – Last of the Boogeymen!

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The latest instalment of Adam Green’s Hatchet series is being screened at this year’s Monster Fest. Victor Crowley makes his third appearance as the Bayou Butcher of Louisiana on Friday 29th November. A love letter to the slasher films of the 80s and the boogeymen that populated them, the Hatchet films, and its star, represent a by-gone era. Despite recent attempts at rebooting the likes of Halloween and Friday the 13th, it would appear Myers, Voorhees and company can indeed sputter out and die – who knew?

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inning with Halloween in 1978, John Carpenter along with writing partner Debra Hill would conceive of a villain who was more a force of nature than a man. Known to cast and crew as “The Shape”, the intention with Michael Myers was to present a true embodiment of evil. With a plain, indistinguishable boiler suit and mask, Myers represented a blank slate to which the audience could project their own fears. Hill contributed much of the dialogue between friends and family, baby-sitter and children – while Carpenter brought the fear (Carpenter had even visited a Mental Institution during his time at college!)

Many will be familiar with the origins of the now infamous mask. Modelled on William Shatner, the mask originally represented Captain Kirk. The Halloween crew enlarged the eye sockets, changed the pigment of the skin to a ghostly white and changed the hair. For all intents and purposes Myers might as well have been a mannequin. Nick Castle gave fluidity to Myers as the man behind the mask however. With no words Castle managed to convey a sense of relentlessness and power.

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The now infamous mass-murderer, Jason Voorhees was in fact the victim in Sean S. Cunningham’s original Friday the 13th. Supposedly drowned by a group of bullying kids, it was his mother, the camp cook at Crystal Lake, who took vengeance for her son’s apparent death.

Jason took centre stage in the sequel (1981) after witnessing the decapitation of his mother by the hands of the irresponsible teens, whose sinful lifestyle Jason would later seek to dispel. Interestingly the hockey-mask wearing, machete wielding killer we all know and love was not fully realised until the third entry into the Friday the 13th franchise. Further characteristics like his regenerative capabilities and ethereal-like nature weren’t added until much later. This iconic character would be re-designed and re-sculptured throughout his cinematic lifespan – with fans the world over arguing over their favourite incarnation. Though, surely nothing beats cyber-Jason?

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Wes Craven introduced us to Freddy Krueger in 1984 with A Nightmare on Elm Street. Based on a handful of stories concerning fatal cases of sleep apnoea, Craven devised a character that would attack you at your most vulnerable. The character himself was based on a man who took pleasure in scaring Craven half to death when he was a young boy. Staring out his bedroom window late one night, he discovered a man staring straight back at him. Swiftly recoiling, Craven moved away from the window. Five minutes later he looked again. The man was still there – looking directly at the young Craven and smiling. When it came to his weapon, Craven devised a primal-like claw – a glove with blades for fingers was his contemporary concoction. His red and green sweater represented two distinct colours which competed for superiority when presented together – an optical effect which gave the beholder a sense of unease. Along with his facial scarring (the result of being burned alive by a group of vengeful parents), Craven had created an unsettling character which worked on many levels, beyond mere aesthetics. Starring in a total of eight features (including 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason), Krueger would plague the nightmares of many a youth. Finding increasingly inventive ways of killing his victims, Krueger had a devilish charisma about him – a trait which came off as parody towards the end of his run (Cravens, New Nightmare the exception).

Monster Fest will be screening the first six Nightmares back-to-back in the aptly titled A Nightmare on Lygon St, after Hatchet 3 on Friday 29th November. For more information, check out the Festival website here.

Also worth checking out is Never Sleep Again – a fascinating and comprehensive look at the Krueger mythos and the Nightmare series in its entirety!

Other notable boogeymen include; Pinhead from the Hellraiser series, Candyman, The Djinn from the Wishmaster series and The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers (a third entry to this series has recently been announced. Look out for Jeepers Creepers 3: Cathedral in the New Year!) Like the big three, these characters are worth noting on account of their lasting iconography. Many will hold their original appearances as sacred, yet further appearances have added much to their lasting appeal. Jason Voorhees was a work in progress – and Craven’s New Nightmare and Steve Miner’s Halloween H20 proved that there was still bite to these aged characters!

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Hatchet Face, also known as Crowley, made his debut almost 30 years after Michael Myers in Adam Green’s Hatchet (2006). Green had grown up on the likes of Freddy and Jason, and his love for these characters was clearly evident. Taking a cue from Jason Voorhees, Green’s manifestation would be a deformed outcast, bullied and ultimately killed (in a very sad twist). Kane Hodder, famous for playing Jason Voorhees a total of four times, embodied the role of Hatchet Face and has appeared in the role in each consecutive sequel – even appearing as Crowley’s father, Thomas, in flashback.

Every boogeyman has a specific local they inhabit – from Camp Crystal Lake to Springwood, Haddonfield to the ghettos of Chicago. Crowley is no exception. The swamplands of Louisiana would be Green’s choice – an effectively creepy backdrop for the action to play out. Green would go further, utilising Louisiana’s affiliation with voodoo and black magic, in a quest to deepen the mythology of his character.

Similarly with every antagonist there is a main and often recurring protagonist. Marybeth is Crowley’s challenger in the Hatchet series (played by Tamara Feldman in the original, subsequently replaced by Danielle Harris). I say challenger because she could’ve avoided a lot of trouble were it not for her vengeance-seeking quest – stupid!

Like the Friday the 13th series, Hatchet 2 picked-up where the original left off. It’s my understanding that the third entry will follow suit. There’ll undoubtedly be a recap for those unfamiliar with the series, but who cares when you’ve got lashings of gore, nudity, and laughs – not to mention performances and cameos by some of the genres best! Bring a bunch of friends to the screening this Friday and have a blast – you won’t regret it!

For more information on tickets and screening times, please visit the Festivals own Hatchet 3 page here.

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