The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Announcement

Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hatchet (2006)

Photobucket

A few months ago, over on my Tumblr blog, Matt, Movie Guy, I made a quick post about how The Social Network was on its way from Netflix, and was it any good. I got a reply telling me it was overrated, and that I should check out Hatchet II instead. I was like, dude, you're at the wrong blog, you need to hit me up at the DTVC, but I'll give it a look. I'd heard some about the first Hatchet, that it was supposed to be a throwback to the 80s horror I liked, that it boasted a pretty stellar cast of horror greats, and that the director, Adam Green, grew up somewhat nearby in Massachusetts. I figured it was finally time to check it out.

Hatchet takes place in New Orleans, where a boy named Victor Crowley, who's hideously disfigured from birth (think Toxic Avenger crossed with Chunk from Goonies). Anyway, he dies after some kids pull a prank on him on Halloween, and he haunts the local swamp. Enter a group of people on a tour run by an unscrupulous Asian, and they're on a collision course to wackiness!

Photobucket

Get out your slide whistle and your rim shots and your "waa waa waaaaaaah", because we're going on a comedic romp. The only thing they didn't do was queue up the Benny Hill music and have Hodder chase the kids around in fast-motion. Hey African American guy, remember when you had a fade back in high school? Ha! That joke was even funnier the three hundred times I've heard it in beer commercials and national cell phone ad campaigns. Hey, remember that Seinfeld episode when some dude made a snide remark to George, and he thought of the comeback later? Hey, let's combine that with the high school fade joke! But wait, it gets better, that's right kids, STD jokes! "But mom, we had STD jokes in the last 30 horror comedies!" "Hey, you kids don't know how lucky you are. There are people making bad horror comedies in Third World countries that wish they had that crabs bit we just did. You just remember that mister!" Don't get me wrong, for about 20-25 minutes at the end, this had some great gore-- my personal favorite was when Kenny from The Cosby Show was felled using the double arm amputation technique, a la Toxic Avenger IV-- and Kane Hodder was great as the villain, with fun cameos from Robert Englund and Tony Todd; but is it worth it if I've got to sit through 40-45 minutes of bad comedy to get to it? Seriously, the only bad joke cliché they didn't go to was the man-purse. Guess they needed to save something for part 2.

We've seen horror comedy done well before. Evil Dead 2 is the best example, but there's also Bad Taste, Dead Alive, Blood Diner, and Bloodsucking Pharaohs from Pittsburgh. The problem here though, is the comedy didn't match the gore, meaning we should've had more of the latter. Think about the great Friday the 13th flicks of the 80s. As the kids were making their way to the camp, people in the area were getting bumped off simultaneously. Break up that 40-45 minutes of nothing with a few good kills here or there, that way if the jokes fall flat, it's not the only thing to hang your hat on. The one gag I did like though was when one of the bimbo's phones went off, and the ringtone was Paula Cole's "I Don't Wanna Wait".

Photobucket

I had to go way back into the archives to find the last time we had a Cosby kid on here, and that was the girl (woman now) who played Rudy Huxtable. She was in Death Toll starring Lou Diamond Phillips, which you probably don't remember me reviewing, but it was pretty rough. Now we have her best friend, Kenny-- oddly enough, both were in films set in New Orleans. What I need to do now is seek out some Theo Huxtable flicks. As I mentioned above, Kenny's double arm amputation death was one of my favorites.

We had some top notch horror talent here, starting with a cameo from Robert Englund. There was another one with Tony Todd, which had a very predictable bad joke about his tour group and insurance issues, but he did his best with it. Then you had Kane Hodder in duel roles as the deformed killer, and his dad. I didn't know this, but Hodder has had small parts in numerous flicks that we're reviewed here in the past-- usually it was something like "Thug #3", but that's still pretty cool. I imagine stunt-wise he's probably been in a lot more. The stars here were Joel (David) Moore, who has been in such classics as Dodgeball and Grandma's Boy; and Tamara Feldman (no relation to Corey as far as I know), who, at the time did a lot of commercials, but now, according to imdb, has a reoccurring role on Gossip Girl. Throw in Kenny from Cosby, and veteran character actor Richard Riehle, and the talent was there to make something really special. Unfortunately the jokes couldn't get them to the church on time.

Photobucket

Check out the shirt Moore is wearing. It's for Newbury Comics, a place that I spent a lot of money at in high school. It's a record store chain in and around Boston, and between the one on Newbury St. and the one in the Garage Mall on Mt. Auburn, I blew I don't know how many paychecks on rare import discs and cool band T-shirts. Bands that are now barely memories, like Oasis, The Prodigy, and Blur; Sponge, The Chemical Brothers, Orbital, and Underworld-- I could go on. Speaking of music, that was another area this film could've killed it on if they wanted to go 80s throwback, but didn't quite do it. Marilyn Manson? Try Dokken baby! Though they did have some good Friday the 13th music for a scene near the lake that mimicked the one in (was it?) Part VII where Jason pops out of the water. That was cool.

Man, this is a tough call, because between the cool cameos and the great gore, this has its moments; but the chunk of time that's lost to bad comedy really hurts it. For most people, it's the gore that's hard to watch, but I guess for me it's hearing the same jokes I've heard over and over for the past ten years. Also, I watched the unrated director's cut, so if you're going to do this, make sure that's the one you get.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0422401/

(PS: Check out the image page for a clip of vintage horror comedy that I uploaded.)

12 comments:

  1. I've had the disc for a while and haven't watched it yet.. didn't know it was so riddled with 'comedy'. Still if the gore and cameos are good I'll probably enjoy it. Dokken! Why not go the whole hog and roll the credits to The Final Countdown?

    ReplyDelete
  2. A slow pan from feet to head of a barely-legal teen (who gets offed by the third act) to the tune of Cherry Pie by Warrant?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hear the same thoughts about this movie from a lot of people. I, for one, absolutely loved it and I get what he was going for. I even love the jokes...but I love stupid stuff anyway.

    But I'll let you know that part 2 is pretty similar...you have to sit and wait for 45 minutes...but after that it's AMAZING GORE.

    6 foot chainsaw :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. This was ok. The sequel was a little better. It had a Troma feel with all the gore.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There's one scene that was like a play on Girls Gone Wild with two topless chicks prancing around for a dude with a small video camera that would've been perfect for the "Cherry Pie", and it was just one of those scenes where, after the girls put their boobs away and we're treated to too many repetitive "hey, these chicks are airheads" jokes where I was like "wow, it's almost been ten minutes, are we still in this scene?" Just give us the damn Warrant, cut the scene down, and call it good.

    I can see what you're saying Mr. Gable, but I kind of feel like I got what he was going for too, and he missed it. It was like he tried to regurgitate a bunch of Chappelle Show gags-- I'm surprised we didn't get "I'm Rick James Bitch!"-- and that not only wasn't a throwback to anything, it just wasn't doing anything for me either. If I want humor like that, I can hang out at the local sports bar on a Saturday night.

    The Troma thing is interesting, because those guys have been doing horror comedy well for a long time now, and I think this wanted in on some of that, but it just didn't quite make it in the comedy area-- the gore was there though. I'll end up checking out part two at some point anyway, so we'll see how that goes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well comedy is very subjective, and I perosnally thought the comedy in this iflm worked well for the most part, the Asian guy cracked me up the most.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yer right, the comedy was not tailored properly for the genre. Hatchet was more a comedy, actually, than horror, really. A bunch of misfits and comedy archetypes run around and wind up killer juice. Highly overrated, just like the director is. Genre cameos are for shit, if you only use them for clout, rather than for an earnest performance.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'll give you the genre cameos being used for credibility or faux substance that wasn't there. It's a tough thing, because the actors themselves did great in them, and I can't begrudge them taking those parts in order to get the work. I'm glad you brought it up as an issue though, because it's something I should've touched on.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I really dislike this movie and don't understand why SO MANY people are such huge fans of it. There's a "Hatchet Army" for crying out loud. It's supposed to be a throwback to old-school slashers, but it didn't feel like one at all... it just felt like a really amateurish modern-day slasher movie with annoying dialogue. HATCHET 2, on the other hand, seems to get everything right and is a much more solid and entertaining film overall. That's just my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It definitely wasn't a throwback-- I don't remember Marylin Manson music in any 80s flicks, nor do I remember 45 minutes of blah. I'm curious to see part II, and since this is a review site I'll end up doing it eventually. I don't know, it seems like doing a good throwback slasher shouldn't be too hard, so hopefully I'll agree with you that part 2 got it right, because no matter what you say about part 1, it didn't do that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just added you to my blogroll. Hope you can do the same! Cool site! http://www.rarovhs.com.ar/

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks man, and it's done, you're listed over in the Other Great Sites section. Good stuff.

    ReplyDelete