“The bad stuff is easier to believe.” No one has ever summarized life quite as succinctly as Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) did with seven whispered words in PRETTY WOMAN (1990).
The bitch of it, though, is that for a cruel as the world can be, often times, no one proves nearly as degrading as our own minds. The term “impostor syndrome” is something that many–dare I say, most of us–relate to all too well. It’s so easy to see the talent and accomplishment of another, yet almost impossibly difficult to recognize in ourselves when we glimpse into a mirror.
Few, if any are exempt, including the subject of this piece — Adam Green.
Following a series of personal losses years ago, Green fell into despair, and has often commented that when he looked back on his career, all he could see was failure. Though things have improved somewhat, it’s still a struggle for him (and many others), so on his 47th birthday, a few reminders of how badass he really is.
Much like Green, I’m long-winded, so bear with me. And let it be known, I am an unapologetic fan of a fellow horror geek who made good.
A little over five years ago, Dee Snider appeared on Green’s SCARY SLEEPOVER series and fielded a set of rapid fire questions about various items to determine whether they were “metal or not metal.” Despite absolutely zero access to the “world’s foremost metallurgist,” I’m going to stick with the theme.
THE HATCHET TRAILER
Well before HATCHET (2006) took the festival circuit by storm and put ArieScope on the map, Green flew to Louisiana with Sarah Elbert (producer), Will Barratt (director of photography), and a few other friends to piece a trailer together from a vision that Green had been harboring since summer camp at the age of eight. Counselors shared a tale about a “hatchet face” that would get the kids if they didn’t stay in their cabins at night. Though he inquired, no elaboration was ever given, but the story built in his mind, and as a result of that kickass trailer, twenty-odd years later, that vision came to fruition and Victor Crowley became a reality.
It all began with a fun project meant to crack up his friends, but COLUMBUS DAY WEEKEND (1998) was just the first of 23 — twenty-three! — consecutive years of Halloween shorts, the most recent being GHOST DOG (2021). Along the way, Green and some of his closest friends have put together classic Halloween fun starring genre mainstays including Kane Hodder, Sid Haig, Joel David Moore, and Brea Grant. Along the way there have been laughs aplenty: DON’T DO IT (2016) featured Chase Williamson and a talking pumpkin that refused to give its life for the sake of trick or treaters, HALLOWEEN HUGS (2012) highlighted a hilarious Spanish-speaking, hug-loving creature voiced by Laura Ortiz, and of course, the viral sensation that was JACK CHOP (2009) with Paul Solet as the infamous Nicolo. There have been hints that Green and company will stop at 31, but even if that’s true, there’s a long way to go and more fun to be had.
CREATING A HORROR ICON
I mentioned Victor Crowley, right? Yeah, while Green had a trilogy in mind when he embarked on HATCHET, there was no guarantee that he’d get the opportunity to expand beyond that first act. But as we all know, there have now been four forays into Honey Island Swamp, Marybeth Dunstan (Amara Zaragoza, Danielle Harris) is a bonafide horror heroine, Parry Shen dies harder than John McClane, and with endless shirts and figures, Hodder’s Victor Crowley is part of the horror pantheon.
Without delving into the fuckery that led to its abrupt end, HOLLISTON ran for two seasons on the now defunct FEARNET, but no sitcom has ever (is there even another?) combined horror, humor, and heart quite like HOLLISTON. How impressive was this show? It gave us the single best Christmas special I’ve ever laid eyes on and made HALLOWEEN 5 (1989) relevant. That good. Don’t believe me? Catch the entire series on Shudder and I’ll happily accept your apology.
KEEPING THE FOURTH HATCHET FILM A SECRET
These days, it’s almost impossible to keep anything under wraps. Try as they might, someone inevitably gets liquored up and lets it slip. Not so with VICTOR CROWLEY (2017). Some way, somehow, Green’s cast and crew uttered nary a word for the better part of two years, for what was supposed to be a tenth anniversary screening of HATCHET. That’s when Green addressed an assembled throng at the ArcLight Cinema in Hollywood with a tale of how he was “done,” Victor Crowley and the HATCHET saga was at its end. More than two years prior, Green hosted a panel for the late George A. Romero after which the Godfather of Zombies took him aside and pointed out the myriad HATCHET and HOLLISTON shirts in the audience and reminded Green that HATCHET no longer belonged to him, it belonged to “those kids.” It inspired Green to pen and later direct the series’ fourth installment, and I’ll never forget Green’s reveal that “we’re not here to watch HATCHET, we’re here to watch the new HATCHET movie.” That disembodied “what the fuck?!” from the crowd was all of us.
DIGGING UP THE MARROW
We all have artists whom we appreciate, but how many can say that they were so inspired by an artist’s work that they fashioned a feature-length film around it? Adam Green can. He dug Alex Pardee’s unique monster art so much that he wrote a script about an ex-detective who believed that monsters were real and that he’d discovered their portal into our world — the Marrow. Did we mention that Ray Wise — Ray fucking Wise — reached out to Green to tell him that they needed to work together on a project? The result was William Dekker and one of the most unique horror flicks you’ll ever see.
What began as a show to bolster HOLLISTON (The Movie Crypt was the name of the late night, cable access horror show hosted by Green and Joe Lynch on the sitcom), is now 460 episodes strong. From heartfelt conversations with Hodder and belly laugh moments with Leigh Whannell, The Movie Crypt is a can’t-miss for aspiring filmmakers. Green and Lynch share priceless tales about their own experiences as writers and directors, and feature guests who’ve done everything from makeup to cinematography, and tackle important issues that need to be discussed, such as their recent episode featuring a conversation about gun violence in America. If you want to laugh and learn, The Movie Crypt is an appointment podcast.
“We stay awake, so they don’t get put to sleep.” The tagline says it all. Each year (usually in early December), Green and Lynch stay awake for 48 hours to raise money for the SAVE A YORKIE RESCUE. Endless guests stop by (in-person or over the phone) for interviews and stories, the duo watch films and offer commentary, there’s live music, table readings of various scripts, and an auction with items donated by genre insiders to help raise funds that go toward saving dogs that would otherwise be put down. This past December, Yorkiethon VI raised over $37,000 for the cause. Wait, that says it all.
Well before Disney swooped in and took the title, FROZEN (2010) was and remains Green’s masterpiece. A group of three friends head out to the slopes for a Sunday of skiing, but when they slip some money into the hand of the chairlift operator for one last, late night run, things goes south. The operator gets called away and tells his replacement that there are three more out there, Unfortunately, when a triumvirate come gliding through, it appeared all was well, and the lift got shut down leaving the trio suspended high above the snow below. No lights, freezing temperatures, and no one knows they are there — with not a soul set to return to the resort for five days. What follows is a well-crafted descent into hell as the group struggles to survive. No spoilers for those who haven’t seen it, but that early morning pan with Emma Bell? Let’s just say that people often comment that THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005) is Rob Zombie’s best film, when in reality it’s THE LORDS OF SALEM (2012). The same holds true for Green: HATCHET gets all the love, but FROZEN is his finest film. And not for nothin’, but the Impractical Jokers conjured a punishment thanks to this one.
FAIRY TALE POLICE
Made for XBox’s “Horror Meets Comedy,” FAIRY TALE POLICE (2009) came about after Green saw a bumper sticker that read “Humpty Dumpty was pushed.” First he wondered how would one know he was pushed, then how could one prove it? To be brief: hilarity ensues. Following the exploits of a pair of detectives (Shen and Rachel Leigh Cook) as they venture over the river and through the woods to deal with Little Red Riding Hood and grandma getting run over by a reindeer,, this brilliant short is one of Green’s best. Cannot recommend highly enough.
Few places are as cool as the ArieScope studio. With, a life-size Victor Crowley, movie posters, and trinkets galore, the space contains an abundance of what Tony Todd referred to as ”eye candy.” It provided the perfect setting for Green to invite friends (who also happened to be notable horror personalities) over for a sleep over. Folks such as Derek Mears, Ti West, and Felissa Rose spent the night playing games, feasting on junk food, and telling stories about what frightened them in real life — all the warm, fuzzy nostalgia of the sleepovers of our youth. There were laughs and tears, and though we never wanted it to end, SCARY SLEEPOVER wrapped with four crowdfunded episodes in 2020. This one is particularly special to me, because it helped get me through a very rough time in my life, and I’ll never forget it.
Oh, and by the way, in the early days of the pandemic, Green held what he deemed the Coronapocalypse. For a month straight, he did a daily live stream to share all of his films, shorts, and series to give people something to distract and look forward to, that provided a glimmer of joy and hope. But above all, to provide a place for people to come together and talk — to stay connected. No paycheck. No fanfare. Just giving when it was desperately needed. And that is most METAL of all.
So, you see? It’s a daunting task for any of us to take a step back and actually see what we’ve accomplished, even for someone as talented as Adam Green. He may not be able to view his work through the same lens as we do, but every one of the incredible pieces he’s created is a career in of itself. And when you string them all together, his greatness is indisputable.
To steal his SCARY SLEEPOVER intro style to close, here’s to Adam Green:
The writer, the director, the podcaster, the dog advocate, the comedian, the mentor, the “proud, sick motherfucker until [his] dying day” — Adam Green is a horror icon and as METAL as they come. And hopefully for one day, the good stuff is easier to believe.