All posts by Landon Evanson

HODDER HAVOC: BEST KANE KILL FROM EVERY FRIDAY AND HATCHET FILM

Five years after Uber Jason and just two after he was inexplicably and shamefully denied his (and we apologize for the term) dream match-up with Robert Englund in FREDDY VS. JASON (2003), Kane Hodder was cast as another woods-roaming killer with parental issues.

In the wake of four turns as the Camp Crystal Lake marauder, Hodder didn’t sit back and feel sorry for himself, nor did he quit, he simply got back to work and redefined himself. As one dream came to a close Kane helped make another come to life, and Victor Crowley was born.

Adam Green first conjured the idea of the Bayou Butcher at the age of eight when (ironically enough) summer camp counselors warned the children to stay away from a particular cabin or “Hatchet-face” would get them. Though they never elaborated further, the idea lived in Green’s mind for the next 23 years until he and his crew took a trip to New Orleans, embarked on a swamp tour and shot a teaser trailer. The rest, as they say, is history.

With Jason so ingrained in the consciousness of the culture, some may have thought it a risk to portray a character that could be considered a ripoff of Jason Voorhees, but those concerns were quickly put to rest because Hodder doesn’t do anything half-assed, and it wasn’t long before Victor Crowley was a beloved symbol of horror greatness.

Not only did Kane claim domain over Jason after the character had been played by six other actors prior, he took the opportunity to establish a character from the ground up and transformed it into a fixture of the genre. For a man who has the word “kill” tattooed inside his bottom lip, it’s only fitting that we celebrate what Hodder does best — lay waste.

Rather than a top ten, we choose to shine light on the most memorable murder from each of Kane’s four turns as Voorhees and Victor, respectively. Eight films, eight finishes. But we’re not going to focus on machetes or hatchets or even gas-powered belt sanders. Nay, because as Hodder told YellMagazine in 2013, his hands are his favorite instrument of death.

“Just anything barehanded because anybody can kill with a weapon,” Hodder said. “I think it’s much more personal.”

So, let’s get to know Kane Hodder a little better, shall we?

8. “I’M KICKIN’ MY ASS! DO YA MIND?” — JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY (1993)

Though it was tempting to go with Creighton Duke here because we feel that Steven Williams’ character was the Darth Maul of the series–one that deserved far more than it got–in the end, it was merely a bear hug and felt a bit too unceremonious. Come to think of it, the same could be said for the entire picture: a fantastic idea poorly executed.

That said, we decided to go with the film’s lasting image. True, Hodder was denied his chance to square off with Krueger, but he did get the chance to slip into the sweater and knived-glove and yank his own mask to Hades.

It’s not a kill, really, but Jason Jason was only around for about 10 minutes and Kane’s security guard was dispatched off-screen earlier in the flick, so the slam dunk of Hodder offing himself was effectively Mutombo’d. New Line took FREDDY VS. JASON off the table, we’re putting it back on.

7. THE CURB STOMP — HATCHET II (2010)

Alright, this one isn’t so much bare hands as pure boot, but it’s Kane eradicating one of Reverend Zombie’s (Tony Todd) makeshift militiamen who just happened to be Leatherface from LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III (1990) in the most brutally badass manner, so top that.

Sorry, R.A. Mihailoff, but as Kane exasperated at the conclusion of the “Raising Kane” behind the scenes featurette for HATCHET III (2013), “quit comin’ in the fuckin’ swamp!”

6. LITTLE MAC FOR REAL — FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKE MANHATTAN (1989)

Look, you’re reading this on a site called Nightmare Nostalgia, which probably means you love the warm fuzzies of yesteryear as much as we do, so it stands to reason more than a handful of you will pick up what we’re about to put down.

Long before Gun Media unleashed Friday the 13th: The Game, there was the Nintendo abomination that left Friday freaks frustrated as hell because they couldn’t play as Jason. We mean, seriously, there’s dropping the ball and then there’s that. In any event, you could hurl all the knives and rocks you wanted (see what we mean about abomination?) but it hardly put a dent into old Jason. But when he wielded that machete/ax/toothbrush it didn’t take long before you were a faceless corpse.

Which brings us to another NES classic, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!. The upstart boxer who had a dream of becoming the champ, only he was undersized so despite all the jump-jabs, it only took one good shot from Tyson for sleepy time. Sound familiar?

Yeah, two years after Punch-Out!! was all the rage, MANHATTAN gifted us with a round of live-action with Julius (Vincent Craig Dupree, as V.C. Dupree) as Little Mac and the man of the hour, Hodder playing Tyson.

Grab a Soda Popinski and have a seat ringside!

5. “IN THE END, THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE” — HATCHET III (2013)

Admittedly, I’m in the distinct minority here as someone who prefers Hodder as Victor as opposed to Voorhees, but then I’m also of the opinion that Derek Mears is the best Jason of all-time. So, when team leader Hawes (Mears) showed with his elite unit to hunt down Crowley, audiences knew his bluster and bravado would inevitably boil down to a knock-down, drag-out heavyweight tilt for the ages.

Those who knew the FRIDAY franchise, however, surely picked up on Mears’ character’s name being a JASON LIVES (1986) reference, so when the buildup of an epic showdown between two Jasons finally came to fruition, Green made it pretty clear whom he felt was the superior slasher. Bit of a twist on the end result, but she was foreshadowed to be sure. But hey, we’ve all been there. The anticipation mounts and mounts till you’re ready to erupt and when you finally crawl into bed and get that chance, erupt is exactly what you do. Quickly. Embarrassingly.

…or, maybe that’s just me. Moving on!

4. THE ULTIMATE FISTING — VICTOR CROWLEY (2017)

“Putting an arm into a vagina, out of the throat? Tricky. Tricky.”

No one could put it quite as eloquently as Hodder did with his Week 10 guest appearance on THE LAST DRIVE-IN this past August, so we’re not even going to try.

Scenes involving genitalia are old hat for Felissa Rose, but her role as Andrew Yong’s (Parry Shen) publicist Kathleen may finally be the one that rivals SLEEPAWAY CAMP’s (1983) final reveal. Look, she’s Joe Bob Briggs’ designated “Mangled Dick Expert” for a reason.

Kills don’t always have to be gory, sometimes they just need to be creative. And when Kane and Green get together, you can safely place money that you’ll lay eyes on something you’ve never seen before. The bonus? Vaginal Verizon never drops a call.

3. THE SLEEPING BAG — FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VI: THE NEW BLOOD (1988)

The perception of the character was forever altered the moment Voorhees emerged from the icy depths of Crystal Lake on May 13, 1988. From the giddiness of that initial glimpse at a hulking figure with a partially exposed spinal cord to the heaving breaths and absolute brutality that followed, it was clear that director John Carl Buechler’s push for Hodder to don the hock had changed the game, because Kane’s Jason was in all ways a Rubicon.

After six previous films that had turned Voorhees into a pop culture icon, Hodder came along and set the standard by which the character would be judged thenceforth. Anyone who needs further evidence need look no further than the fact that no other actor had (or has) fulfilled the role more than once, yet Kane would return for three more films following Part VII. While Hodder’s first turn in the franchise’s seventh chapter provided several memorable kills, nothing could top Judy (Debora Kessler) thinking that pulling the sleeping bag over her head would ward off the masked maniac like a bad dream. Kane plucked her from the tent and dragged it to the nearest tree with an enthusiastic aggression never before seen, and ensured that the Hodder era had only just begun.

While it’s true that Todd Farmer paid hilarious homage to this kill in JASON X (2001), nothing tops the OG

2. LIQUID NITROGEN FACIAL — JASON X (2001)

This movie has its detractors, but if one simply wants to turn their brain off, grab some popcorn and have a good time, you can do a lot worse than JASON X.

More proof, John Klein? In his final turn as Voorhees, Kane gifted us with his greatest Jason kill. And to bring it kinda-sorta full circle, his victim was named Adrienne (Kristi Angus), which we’re sure is a detail not lost on FRIDAY aficionados.

1, HEAVY IS THE HEAD — HATCHET (2006)

Our introduction to Victor Crowley allowed us some peeks at the bibs-wearing beast, but nothing could prepare us for the big unveiling As the group wandered about Honey Island Swamp looking for a way out, the elder couple decided to go it alone because they were done with the whole scene. Only thing was, they didn’t know just how done they actually were.

Oh, and that whole curiosity about would the character just be a rip off of Jason? That was put to bed in seconds. Hodder emerged from his shed with a roar and ran–yes, ran–toward his prey. He filleted Mr. Permatteo (Richard Riehle) in short order, then set his sights on Lumpkins.

Shannon (Patrika Darbo) tried to flee, but Victor hustled over, grabbed her by the hair and…well, we all know the not-so unfortunate end to that story: the finest Kane Kill of all-time.

So, yeah, it took mere moments for Hodder to prove that we weren’t in Crystal Lake anymore…Toto.

Eight kills in eight films that turned one actor into a two-time icon.

Such matters are always up for debate, so if your favorite kill didn’t make the cut or you take umbrage with the rankings, please weigh in using the comments section below.

Oh, and in honor of Kane’s 66th birthday on April 8, like and share this piece on Facebook and / or Twitter using the hashtag #HodderHavoc to be entered into a drawing to win this 11 x 17 VICTOR CROWLEY movie poster signed by Hodder at HorrorHound Indianapolis in 2018. The winner will be announced on Nightmare Nostalgia’s Facebook and Twitter on April 9.

Still a Dead-Eye 35 Years On: A CHOPPING MALL Interview with Kelli Maroney

When Season 2 of The Last Drive-In opened with a shot of CHOPPING MALL spelled out on the marquee over Joe Bob Briggs’ shoulder last April I nearly squealed. Okay, I might have squealed. But it was only because CHOPPING MALL is perhaps my favorite drive-in movie of all-time, and knowing that Barbara Crampton had already been on the show meant that we’d be getting a dose of Kelli Maroney had me straight up giddy with anticipation.

And judging by the reaction on Twitter, I was not alone. While it’s hard to believe that it’s been three-and-a-half decades since we spent the night with a group of horny teenagers taking on a gang of killbots, it isn’t difficult to understand why the film seems to grow in popularity the further it gets from its original release date of March 21, 1986. It hits the ground running and never stops.

With titles like FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (1982) and NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984) to her credit, Kelli Maroney is a bona fide queen of ’80s cinema, but CHOPPING MALL holds a special place in the hearts of many, including the star of the film.

“How could you not be delighted that people enjoy something as much as they seem to enjoy CHOPPING MALL? The appreciation and the gratitude is off the charts.”

Our appreciation and gratitude too is off the charts, not only for 77 minutes of awesome, but that Ms. Maroney shared a few moments with us over the phone in early February to discuss her memories of the shoot, her confusion over why no one ever told her Joe Bob was a fox, the status of a possible television series, and she even shared a personal tidbit about the picture that she’d never told anyone before.

Ladies and gentlemen, Kelli f***ing Maroney.

NIGHTMARE NOSTALGIA: Can you believe it’s been 35 years?

KELLI MARONEY: That’s what I always say. If you had told me in 1986 that in 2021 I’d be giving five interviews this week for CHOPPING MALL? (laughs) I would’ve said “What are you smokin’?” because it wouldn’t have been real to me. It used to be more NIGHT OF THE COMET but now it’s CHOPPING MALL. Even Joe Bob Briggs said “What’s the deal with CHOPPING MALL?” and his producer said “Dude, it’s the most popular thing.”

Even I said to (director) Jim Wynorski “Can you believe this? I can’t get over it. I can never get over it.” It never gets old, it’s always stunning. I’m tickled, I’m delighted and really touched because that’s the whole point of doing this is to connect with people and give them something that they enjoy. And this is beyond anybody’s wildest dreams to have done something that people like so much, but I had no idea it was going to be CHOPPING MALL.

NN: It almost felt like the anniversary celebrations began last year when CHOPPING MALL opened Season 2 of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs. We’re not going to rehash that conversation, but give us a peek behind the curtain of being on one of horror’s biggest stages.

KM: It was amazing. First of all, I got a message from (Briggs) on Twitter and I thought “this isn’t really Joe Bob Briggs,” but it was, it was John (Bloom). He’s a lovely guy and he’s extremely smart. And Joe Bob is a character obviously, but it’s just heightened. If John was always in his sense of humor, and it was just heightened and a little more Southern, it’s still him. So, you get there and everybody is so nice. At first I met Diana (Prince) — Darcy the Mail GIrl — and my friend Felissa Rose had been on before, so I reached out because I was excited. If you’re on Joe Bob you’re a horror fixture in that community otherwise you wouldn’t be there.

First of all, I had never met him before, so when he was on MonsterVision I had never seen that so I thought Joe Bob, what is he a big, fat guy with a beer belly that talks about boobs all the time? I had no interest. I didn’t know what he was doing because I’d never seen it, but no one ever told me he was a babe (laughs). Seriously, no one had ever said anything to change that perception that I had.

He’s a very big supporter of the Chattanooga Film Festival, which is lovely, and they gave me an award once, First Joe Bob did a little riff on NIGHT OF THE COMET — well, it wasn’t a little riff because that dude gets seriously in depth and it’s never little, he always gives a full talk — but my award was a paper mache slice of pizza designed by a local artist who is told what the recipient means to the festival and then the artist creates it. And I said, pizza? And Chris Dortch, who owns and runs the festival and presented the award, said “Yes, you’re like pepperoni pizza. You make everything better that you’re in.” I said “awww, that’s adorable. That’s so sweet!” So, I took a picture with Joe Bob, and even with my huge high heels on I am half his size because he’s tall and I”m petite.

So, back to Felissa. I asked her advice on guesting for the show and she said “don’t tell him something you’ve already told everybody else in interviews” So, I took that as don’t tell the same old story about how I wanted to be an actor since I was a little girl. Don’t bore Joe Job. Be entertaining. And Felissa has no problem just saying things, so she set the bar so high.

Sometime as actors you get all serious about things and nobody cares, they want you to be fun. And as you can see, I’ll just talk as long, until you tell me to stop (laughs).

I love when fans feel like they’re a part of things, and that’s what’s so great about The Last Drive-In. The whole Mutant Family gets on Twitter and it’s a lot of fun. But I was extremely thrilled when I found out it was true. In fact, Darcy direct messaged me on Twitter saying “let me know if you’d don’t hear from them because I’m not doing CHOPPING MALL if you’re not there.”

NN: You’ve probably seen tons of CHOPPING MALL cosplay over the years, but has anyone done it better than Darcy?

KM: No. No. And we had a long girl conversation about “can you even find this blouse anymore?” and the shoes that were closest to what I had worn were $100 so we weren’t doing that, but in two million years I never thought I’d be having a set conversation about that outfit (laughs). She had it down. She even had the patch, and she even did the limp — like at the end when I was limping — it was a thing of beauty. You can really tell she doesn’t just do it because it’s in the movie and she sees what they’re wearing, she’s got the whole thing down.

NN: Is it uncomfortable maneuvering around with a flare in your bra?

KM: You know I forgot all about it. It fit perfectly in there and I forgot all about it (laughs). As did Allison, she almost forgot she had it, too! She looks down and she’s like “oh yeah, I’ve got a flare!” I don’t know, it just fit right.

NN: You never know what movies are going to resonate with audiences, and 35 years later we’re still talking about CHOPPING MALL as you said, but did your head kind of explode like Suzee Slater’s when Liam Carroll posted his piece for The Spool (which you shared on Twitter) outlining how the film had helped him through anxiety attacks and depression. When you read something like that about a drive-in , B-movie that obviously means something to people, how does that make you feel?

KM: Through the internet and doing conventions you hear these kinds of stories a lot and that’s why you want to be an actor. You put up with the lifestyle and the uncertainty and everything that goes along with it because we just have that driving need to connect with other people. It’s such extreme validation to hear that back, that something I put my heart and soul into and it comes back in a wave. I wasn’t out there acting into a void, it’s hitting people and it means something to them. I’ve given them something and they’ve given me something, and it means that I didn’t waste my life doing something that didn’t mean anything, people like CHOPPING MALL (laughs).

NN: There were some rumors a few years ago about CHOPPING MALL doing a television series, and unless I missed something, did anything ever come of that or something that might still happen?

KM: Wynorski’s in charge of that. We were getting set to do a tease, and then I’m not sure exactly what happened because I think he had several meetings with Lionsgate but as they say in the industry, put a pin in it, which means put a pin in it like on a bulletin board and save it for later. It’s just a risky venture I would think, so I don’t know I haven’t heard anything about it for quite a while.

NN: We’re not going to ask you what your favorite scene or line from the film is because I know you’ve answered those questions a thousand times, but I am interested to know what your lasting image is. When you’re thinking about CHOPPING MALL and not being interviewed about it, what comes back to you most?

KM: I’m going to tell you something that I’ve never told anyone.

NN: I like to hear that.

KM: Ready?

NN: I am.

KM: Sometimes that song, the CHOPPING MALL theme goes through my head when I’m doing my makeup or driving around (laughs). And that is true, it is absolutely true (laughs).

NN: I introduced a friend of mine to CHOPPING MALL and he appreciates it as a B-movie, but I refer to it as a classic and one day he said “you know what, CHOPPING MALL is not a classic.” So, I said I’m going to be interviewing the star of the movie and we’ll see. His name is Chad, so if you have message for Chad as to why CHOPPING MALL is a classic, I’d love to hear it.

KM: Hey Chad, sorry you got dragged into this, but since you are (laughs), you can like it or not like it but I don’t like THE SOUND OF MUSIC particularly, but it’s a classic so you’re just going to have to eat this one on CHOPPING MALL. I’m sorry (laughs).

IN A YEAR THAT TOOK EVERYTHING, ADAM GREEN NEVER STOPPED GIVING

It has been a year of loss and pain. Our lives have been turned upside down, put on hold, or altered forever. One way or another, not a single one of us has been spared from the scars. Our nation has experienced a lifetime of trauma in less than a single calendar year, to say nothing of the upheaval of the social battles that have been fought day after day not only this year but for the past four and beyond.

We are hurting mentally and physically, emotionally and financially. We have experienced holidays where we have been unable to see our family and friends. The easy fixes of the past–going to the movies or a ballgame, swinging by the pub for a few beers with loved ones, or just popping by for a visit–have been ripped away from us. Each day blurs into the next, with nothing to look forward to that would offer the slightest variation between Tuesday and Saturday, and it has left us feeling very alone.

Experts have informed us time and again to stay in touch with those closest to us because it’s important to combat the isolation as much as social distancing will allow. That calling or texting or Zooming with those we love, however briefly, will help to alleviate the loneliness that has characterized 2020.

But despite not a single paycheck coming in for the entirety of this horrific year—a stark and terrifying reality that far too many can relate to—Adam Green never stopped giving. Never stopped reaching out. Never stopped providing us with something to look forward to. Hours upon hours of preparation fueled by nothing but a desire to keep people connected or giving them a reason to forget for a few hours.

The first image of the CORONAPOCAPLYSE appeared on March 23 with Green seated at a table rocking glasses and a Holliston tee shirt, a steaming cup of coffee to his right, about to embark on a fireside chat of sorts. Whether you call it fatherly or grandfatherly, for the next three days the filmmaker became a calming comforter as he read I, Survivor, the fictitious novel he co-wrote with Joe Knetter outlining the life story and harrowing events of the Honey Island Swamp massacre experienced by Hatchet III‘s (2013) Andrew Yong (Parry Shen). The worries and fears of the world raging outside the walls of our homes slipped away and for a few hours everything was alright. We could breathe. We could smile. Because we were together.

Every day through April 19, Green aired a live stream on YouTube to provide an outlet for those alienated from their lives. From features including DIGGING UP THE MARROW (2014) and the HATCHET series to every episode of HOLLISTON (2012) and ArieScope’s Halloween shorts, Green shared his library of creativity free of charge and it touched countless lives.

When the original CORONAPOCALYPSE came to a close, Green looked into the camera and offered a simple but touching message: “We’ll get through this,” continuing, “stay safe. Stay healthy. Keep being nice to each other. And keep talking to each other because talking helps.”

The shot faded from Green to a scene from HOLLISTON where his character felt as though he’d reached the end of his rope, that he couldn’t go on. And Oderus Urungus (the late Dave Brockie) delivered as motivational a speech as Adam’s imaginary friend was capable, asking “what it would have been like if (he’d) hung in there for just one more day,” echoing the words of Green’s close friend Dee Snider who encouraged him to chase his dream before HATCHET (2006) came to fruition with the words, “don’t you ever give up.”

With the gorgeous “Flying Theme” from E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) swelling underneath, images of Green’s work began cycling through to the beats of the John Williams before a message appeared:

“This was Adam Green’s CORONAPOCALYPSE.” but as the music continued powering us through tears, “Adam Green’s” faded into “OUR,” and if it hadn’t already been clear before, it was beyond dispute in the moment: this was not about anything more than giving the fans something to hang on to. Hope that the sun would shine again, and that the pandemic would one day fade into memory.

To the right of the screen was a chat, and as the final images played out, it was clear how much the CORONAPOCALYPSE had meant to so many:

“Got out of work just in time to cry.”

“It’s been a great 28 days!”

“THIS WAS EPIC.”

“Beautiful.”

“JUST ONE MORE DAY!”

“Thank you Adam and the whole @ArieScope family. I love you all and I will always remember and be grateful for this.”

Just before the final note rang out, in a nod to Snider and HOLLISTON and SCARY SLEEPOVER, one fan wrote “METAL!” Clearly, the Movie Crypt Fam is just that–family.

It didn’t end there, however. In September, CORONAPOCALYPSE II streamed the entire HATCHET and HOLLISTON series on back-to-back nights and again provided something to look forward to–an event filled with laughs and togetherness.

All the while, not a single week of the Movie Crypt podcast (hosted by Green and fellow director and HOLLISTON co-star Joe Lynch) was missed because of the pandemic.

To say nothing of the resurrection of the SCARY SLEEPOVER (2015) series in July with comedian Doug Benson, where Green once more demonstrated his deep understanding of what the people needed–an oasis.

The final two episodes of SCARY SLEEPOVER strategically aired on Thanksgiving and Christmas nights featuring fan favorites Corri English (HOLLISTON) and Parry Shen (HATCHET series), respectively. For many, holidays normally spent in the company of loved ones were instead endured alone, until 6 o’clock Pacific when Green and his guests delivered conversation and smiles and laughs and memories that left all who watched them feeling a bit less isolated.

Then came Yorkiethon 5, the Movie Crypt’s annual fundraiser for the Save a Yorkie Rescue for abandoned and abused Yorkshire Terriers. For years Green and Lynch welcomed guests into the ArieScope Studio for a 48-hour marathon where their motto is “we stay awake so they don’t get put to sleep.” But with the Coronavirus, having guests was not an option, so Green and company simply Zoomed with the likes of Anthony Mackie and Barbara Crampton and Joe Bob Briggs and raised nearly $30,000 in a year when money has been (for nearly everyone) harder to part with than ever before.

And all that, the streams and podcasts and series, without a single paycheck coming in for Green himself.

In a year where it seems everything has been taken away from us, Adam Green has never stopped giving. From laughs to love, Adam Green selflessly devoted innumerable hours of his time to give us what we needed more than anything–hope.

Those who follow Green know that he’s an empath with an enormous heart, but never has his love for the fans been more evident than in the most difficult year of our lives. Before signing off on the first CORONAPOCALYPSE (which this writer still can’t watch without tearing up), Green said “I hope that you get everything that you want in life. I love you,” and it’s time we make it clear that the feeling is very mutual.

“Keep being nice to each other. And keep talking to each other because talking helps.” Green wasn’t merely pontificating, he was simply informing us of what he planned to do. And he kept his word.

May you get everything you want in life, Adam Green, because no one deserves it more. We can never thank him enough for what he’s given us these past ten months, but what we can do is make two things abundantly clear: we are grateful, and we love him back.