Hatchet III (2013)

Swamp Ghost, Victor Crowley, Unleashes One Last Blood Soaked Rampage in Adam Green’s Final Entry in the Retro-Slasher “Hatchet” Trilogy!

Hatchet III” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD this week, and Hell’s comin’ with it! Trilogy writer/producer, Adam Green, turns over the directing chores to “Hatchet” (2006) and “Hatchet II” (2010) cameraman, BJ McDonnell, but there’s no real discernible change in style or tone. This is still Green’s vision of 1980’s slasher cinema pumped up on steroids; a grown horror fan’s homage to his “Fangoria”-reading, Jason Voorhees loving adolescent past. Green’s Victor Crowley, played by Jason Voorhees fan favorite and “Friday the 13th” legend, Kane Hodder, delivers the appendage tearing, brain smashing, head chopping carnage that 80’s kids only dreamed Jason dealt his victims as they watched through the fingers covering their faces.

This isn’t rocket science and Green & McDonnell aren’t likely to win any great accolades for their work here. The script is pretty clumsy, and important plot points are covered two or three agonizing times just in case the viewer was busy getting a beer from the fridge the first time around. At least we’re spared an unnecessary “catch up” for those just tuning in. “Hatchet III” runs a brief 81 minutes and doesn’t waste any of it trying to win over a new audience. It picks up the very second “Hatchet II” ended and rockets full steam ahead through the end credits.

Heroine, Marybeth, played by Scream Queen royalty, Danielle Harris (“Halloween 4” “Halloween 5”), has just shotgun blasted Victor Crowley’s face into a pulpy mess before punching a squishy hole right through his brainpan, leaving poor Crowley’s head a bit lumpier for this sequel. Crowley falls onto his own chainsaw, which cuts him in half. For a lesser horror villain, this would be a career ending defeat, but not for Victor Crowley.

A new character played by Caroline Williams (Tobe Hooper’sTexas Chainsaw Massacre 2”), an ex-journalist who specialized on the legend of Victor Crowley, introduces our heroine to the only effective, supernatural way to get rid of this savage swamp ghost forever. Zach Galligan (“Gremlins,” “Waxwork”) plays her ex-husband and irritable small town Louisiana sheriff who is tasked with cleaning up all the bodies from last night’s Crowley bloodbath.

If you haven’t already noticed, there are a lot of B-list horror star cameos in this film. Look out for Sid Haig (“House of 1,000 Corpses,” “The Devil’s Rejects”) as a racist redneck with the key to defeating Crowley, Sean Whalen ( Wes Craven’sThe People Under the Stairs”) as a queasy ER first responder and Derek Mears, who played Jason Voorhees in the “Friday the 13th” remake, as a badass SWAT team leader. Mears’ bit of stunt casting might at least perk the interest of fanboys wanting to see an all too brief “old Jason” VS “new Jason” smackdown.

This is Kane Hodder’s show, however, in cahoots with the good old fashioned, gooey practical effects guys. There’s absolutely nothing scary about “Hatchet III,” and I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be. Victor Crowley doesn’t bother stalking his victims like Michael Myers. He doesn’t bother tormenting them like Freddy Krueger. Crowley leaps into a group of victims like a limb ripping tornado. He rips flesh like it’s a Stretch Armstrong doll and blood spurts from the stump he leaves behind like it’s coming out of a fire hose. It’s these “old school” rubber, latex and stage blood gags that the audience for this series comes to see, and “Hatchet III” does not fail to deliver in this department.

How does it stack up to “Hatchet” and “Hatchet II”? I think results will vary from fan to fan. I still think the first film delivered the most fun package of 80’s thrills and chills, but back in 2006 a return to these kind of midnight movie gore-fests seemed like a breath of fresh air. I’d say it’s pretty much on par with “Hatchet II,” which Adam Green told me personally was his clear favorite of the three.

I spoke with Adam Green at the Days of the Dead Horror Convention in Indianapolis just a few weeks ago, which is the only reason I can confirm that “Hatchet III” is the last entry in the Victor Crowley saga, at least with Green’s involvement. Green wrote the script in a way that he considers the nail in the coffin to Victor Crowley’s wicked ways, and those who enjoyed the first two bloodbaths should be just as well served with this finale.

Hatchet II is currently available on Redbox, Amazon on Demand and DirecTV on Demand (www.SaveonTVDirect.com).

The Phantom of The Ville

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