All posts by Landon Evanson

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.

Kane Hodder Finally Has His Tommy Jarvis

I don’t want to scare anyone, but I’m gonna give it to you straight about Jason. Well, one of them. Come to think of it, the path may be more meandering than straight but we’ll get there, just stick with me.

To many, Kane Hodder is the definitive Jason Voorhees. From his spine-tingling introduction from the icy depths of Crystal Lake to his heaving breaths to what Robert Englund described as “his bulk,” Hodder incomprehensibly set the standard for a character that had already existed for six films when he first donned the hock in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD (1988).

Which was why Friday fans simply could not fathom that Hodder wasn’t asked to return opposite Englund for what had been the most highly anticipated film of the franchise, FREDDY VS. JASON (2003). After playing the masked maniac for 4 installments, the Kane era unceremoniously (and inexplicably) came to a close.

What’s worse, the Tommy Jarvis trilogy wrapped just before Hodder assumed the role, which meant that despite four takes, what many felt had been the finest portrayal of Jason never got to square off with his chief rival.

But that’s where a kinda-sorta Friday the 13th gift entered the fray.

Five years after JASON X (2001), an upstart filmmaker from Holliston, Massachusetts offered Hodder the role of another woods-roaming, crazed killer–and Victor Crowley was born.

While Adam Green had a trilogy in mind when production began on HATCHET (2006), he couldn’t have known that the villain he’d conjured at the age of eight (from stories about a hatchet-faced killer told by, ironically enough, camp counselors) would achieve icon status, no more than he was unaware that one of his original casting decisions would become what he has come to describe as his “secret weapon.”

Enter Parry Shen.

A consummate professional and on-set leader, Shen would go on to appear in a pair of Green’s Halloween shorts [THE TIVO (2008) and FAIRY TALE POLICE (2009)], and an episode of HOLLISTON, to say nothing of his roles in each installment of the HATCHET series, where Green has identified Shen as the true final girl of Honey Island Swamp.

Like Hodder in the Friday franchise, Shen has appeared in four HATCHET flicks, though it’s been more Shemping-but-not-really, because I, Survivor has played three different characters: Shawn, the hustling faux-boat tour guide in the original, his brother Justin in the sequel, and finally Andrew Yong, the paramedic turned wanna-be author in HATCHET III (2013) and VICTORY CROWLEY (2017), respectively.

Nestled betwixt the gore and the giggles, however, is the gift. See, with three characters over four films Shen is not the final girl of the series, but rather its Tommy Jarvis.

Let’s break it down. Hodder never got to square off with Jason’s nemesis, so Green gave him one. Just because the intent didn’t necessarily exist doesn’t make it any less true. In fact, on numerous occasions, Kane has commented that Shen is someone he just can’t kill off for good. Why does that sound familiar? To steal one from ROUNDERS’ Teddy KGB, “kid’s got alligator blood. Can’t get rid of him.” I mean, Louisiana. Swamps. Gators. It works, just let it be.

Look, three different actors played Jason’s frequent foe, so who cares if one actor has played three characters that Crowley just can’t dispose of?

I get it, Jarvis never died. But he did suffer a couple of wounds in A NEW BEGINNING (1985), and Jason did kinda-sorta drown him in JASON LIVES (1986), So, while Shen’s Shawn and Justin were both, shall we say, dispatched in the first two HATCHET pictures, with Yong, Shen now has a character who has narrowly escaped (twice) and like Jarvis been overwhelmed with trauma and fear.

It wouldn’t be surprising for Yong to be approaching Thom Mathews levels of vengeful should we get a fifth chapter of HATCHET because at some point you just have to assume that he believes Crowley belongs in hell and wants to see that he gets there. But then there’s that whole issue with Shen’s character being a bit of frightened bunny coupled with the mid-end credits glimpse of Marybeth Dustan (Danielle Harris) waiting in the wings.

Yong wasn’t the one who resurrected Crowley, but he was dragged back to the swamp against his will, so Jarvis-like similarities aren’t really a reach. Perhaps we’ll see a pair of final girls team to take down the Bayou Butcher, but the Honey Island version of Mathews and Jennifer Cooke just sounds better, doesn’t it?

Regardless, it’s sure to be a hell of a ride.

Ted White had Corey Feldman, Tom Morga was blessed with John Shepherd, and C.J. Graham battled Mathews, but Hodder never got his shot.

Until he wandered from a lake to a swamp. And found Parry Shen.

REVIEW: ‘NEVER HIKE IN THE SNOW’ OFFERS A GLIMPSE AT WHAT ‘FRIDAY THE 13TH’ COULD BE

Ten words have haunted the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise since 1981. Since that time, ten other films have played out on screens the world over, but with the notable exceptions of John Shepherd’s Tommy Jarvis (FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING, 1985) and Jason as human being courtesy Derek Mears (FRIDAY THE 13TH, 2009), the words”let’s think beyond the legend, put it in real terms” have fallen on deaf ears.

One filmmaker heard Ginny Field (Amy Steel), and more importantly, Vincente DiSanti is still listening. Womp Stomp Films dropped its fan effort NEVER HIKE ALONE (2017) three years ago and provided FRIDAY fanatics with something that was much more than a new adventure steeped in “real terms”, it was a glimmer of hope that with the right people driving the RV, Camp Crystal Lake could return to glory.

NEVER HIKE ALONE was the FRIDAY film we’d been waiting for, but it turns out that it was but an appetizer for the delectable, 25-minute dish to come. NEVER HIKE IN THE SNOW takes place shortly before the events of ALONE but writer / director DiSanti takes the time to illuminate the emotional toll this universe inflicts on its residents. In other words, Womp Stomp puts it in “real terms.”

DiSanti introduces us to Mark Hill, a 17-year old aspiring photographer and his mother Diana, played to perfection by Courtlan Gordon and Anna Campbell, respectively, but also reacquaints the audience with a pair of old friends. No longer a deputy, we find Sheriff Rick Cologne (Vinny Guastaferro) investigating a case in Wessex County, and once more Thom Mathews is the punk he wants to punch silly.

Unlike the aforementioned Shepherd in A NEW BEGINNING, Mathews wasn’t afforded the opportunity to display the tax of Tommy Jarvis’ associations with Voorhees in JASON LIVES (1986), but that ended with NEVER HIKE ALONE and rages all ahead full in SNOW. The lingering repercussions of those experiences didn’t end when the credits ran on Part VI, and those demons are still very real in 2017 (when SNOW takes place).

Jarvis knows exactly what’s going on when hikers come up missing, and wants to put an end to Jason once and for all. Cologne, however, remains an obstacle and fans will be thrilled to find that the animosity between the two remains as heated and entertaining as ever. Though it’s cliche to say “never skips a beat,” the relationship between Rick and Tommy may be even more contemptuous than it was 30 year ago and the passage of time hasn’t tarnished the magic.

Beyond the performances (which are stellar), it’s the production value that will leave fans in awe. DiSanti’s writing is clean, crisp and sensible, but the brilliance doesn’t end there. Director of Photography Evan Butka takes the snow and the dark and blends them into something wickedly beautiful, Mike Api’s editing is seamless, and Suzan Jones’ sound mixing brings the picture alive. But what would a FRIDAY flick be without makeup effects? Norah Hewitt and Rachel Lynn Gerwig’s work here is something to behold, with kills that will stay with you long after you’ve walked away from the screen, and it’s all topped off with Ryan Perez-Daple’s foreboding score that clutches with tension throughout.

DiSanti continues to raise the bar for further studio releases. Rehashing the same old story, or worse–rushing the same old story for a cash grab–will no longer be acceptable, and we have Womp Stomp to thank for that.

In fact, it reminds this writer of something Hall of Fame baseball manager Sparky Anderson once said about a fellow enshrinee, “I would never insult another catcher by comparing them to Johnny Bench.” The sentiment holds true for DiSanti and the Womp Stomp crew because referring to the NEVER HIKE entries as fan films ventures beyond insult, it’s downright offensive. Look, there are many well done fan films in existence, but poorly made ones outnumber them 50-to-1 and the NEVER HIKE pictures are more than a group of friends with some camera equipment and a dream, they are a highly motivated and capable team led by DiSanti. Womp Stomp is not a group of uber-fans taking a weekend to pay homage, they are laying the groundwork for the direction the franchise should embark upon once the legalities surrounding FRIDAY are settled.

Womp Stomp has set out create the FRIDAY THE 13TH film fans have been yearning to see since the ’09 reboot, and if we’re honest, even before that. And that is exactly what they have done. Twice.

To take it a step further, several years ago when rumors of a FRIDAY television series began to gain traction there was excitement, but devotees of the franchise had long since been accustomed to disappointment. Would it actually happen, and if so, would it work as a serial? NEVER HIKE IN THE SNOW answers that question with an emphatic yes.

Shudder gave CREEPSHOW six episodes last year and should strongly consider handing a similar FRIDAY run to DiSanti and Womp Stomp because frankly the effect of resurrecting The Last Drive-In would pale in comparison to the flood of FRIDAY freaks rushing to subscribe for a revival of the Jason and Tommy rivalry.

For Camp Crystal Lake to return to its glory days requires three things: the vision of someone who loves (but more importantly) understands the franchise, who also possesses the chops as a writer and director, and then whichever studio ends up with the rights simply needs to get out of their way.

Let’s put it in real terms: that someone is Vincente DiSanti, the most important addition to the FRIDAY family since Kane Hodder.

NEVER HIKE IN THE SNOW went live on YouTube at 9 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, October the 13th.