'Hatchet II' director Adam Green slams the MPAA: 'They're evil'

HATCHET-2Writer-director Adam Green tells EW he believes the Motion Picture Association of America to be an “evil” organization that has treated his new film Hatchet II unfairly. The independently financed sequel, in which horror icon Kane Hodder reprises his role as a deformed, swamp-dwelling killer named Victor Crowley, is released today through the AMC theater chain without a rating.

Green says that AMC had volunteered to exhibit an unrated version of Hatchet II after the MPAA declined to give the movie an R rating. “Even after us cutting two minutes out of the movie, [the MPAA] told us that we just couldn’t kill people like this,” says Green, who also wrote and directed 2006’s Hatchet and the recent, chairlift-set horror film Frozen. “I was done. I wanted to go straight-to-video. But it turns out the people who make the decisions at AMC were big fans of the original Hatchet and loved the sequel. I think the quote was that they thought it was the best slasher sequel they’d ever seen. They said, ‘Well, why don’t we do it unrated?'”

Green also expressed his concerns that the director is now “a marked man” in terms of his relationship with the MPAA. “It’s bad,” says the director. “I know they’re going to be out for blood with me. And the ratings board, I’m sure, is very certain that we’re not going to do any business and then they’re going to say to everybody, ‘You see what happens when you don’t play by our rules?'”

HATCHET-2Green previously crossed swords with the MPAA over the original Hatchet, a gag-filled love letter to ’80s slasher flicks. “With the first Hatchet, I had an epic battle with the ratings board,” he says. “They kept giving the movie an NC-17. There is absolutely no way that movie should have gotten an NC-17. All the gore in it is so ridiculous and over-the-top that you can’t take it seriously. It was a terrible, terrible loss when Hatchet I came out in theaters. None of the fun stuff that people had been reading about for two years was in the movie anymore. But the MPAA is notoriously hard on independent movies. It’s a money thing with them. The studios pay the salaries, so they’re willing to let things slide for studio movies. One of the examples I use is the The Hills Have Eyes remake [which was distributed by Fox Searchlight]. I’m not slamming these movies — I like them. But The Hills Have Eyes got an R-rating, and Victor Crowley chasing somebody with a belt sander got an NC-17. How is that possibly fair? It’s a sham. The whole thing is a sham.” Despite the cuts made to the theatrical version of Hatchet, the film has become a cult favorite in the horror community. “Hatchet is all in good fun,” says the director. “When I do conventions, the first thing fans say is, ‘Thanks you. I forgot why I even liked horror. I didn’t get into this to watch somebody be tied down and tortured.'”

Green hopes those fans will support Hatchet II and justify AMC’s decision to exhibit the film unrated.”[The MPAA] are a very big and powerful — even though they’re evil — organization,” he says. “But if people support this, and we make enough noise at the box office, it will change the game for the genre. That’s when it’ll be a win. It’s up to the fans now to support this, so it isn’t all in vain, and we can start to change the system. I’m really hoping for a [box office] miracle.”

When EW contacted the MPAA about Green’s allegations, the Association responded with the following written statement from Joan Graves, Chairman of the Classification and Rating Administration: “The Classification and Rating Administration [CARA] is independently funded through submittal fees and does not distinguish studio films from independent films when it comes to issuing a rating. It is a voluntary system. Filmmakers may choose to release a film without a rating and it is completely the exhibitor’s decision as to how they will proceed with an unrated film.”

You can check out the trailer for Hatchet and a teaser for Hatchet 2 below.

Are you a fan of Hatchet? Will you be seeing the sequel? Do you think Green has a point?

Comments (30 total) Add your comment
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  • Nicole

    I’ve never seen Hatchet, but I tend to agree with the director about the MPAA. I’m Canadian and we aren’t governed by them, but their ratings do often appear on movies when they’re released here on dvd, and certainly the MPAA rating at least somewhat influences the rating provided by the various provincial ratings boards here.

    Since seeing the documentary “This Film is Not Yet Rated”, it’s amazing to me how much power is given to this organization, and how secretive it is (and how few opinions actually end up deciding the fate of the movies we watch). If you haven’t seen the documentary, you really should – it’s fascinating and infuriating all at the same time.

  • Genevieve

    Green is right! I am a fan of Hatchet, first seeing it at Fantasia festival in Montreal. We are allowed to see lots of naked girls and stupidity in most movies, but some blood and gore, is too much??? Hatchet is so violently over the top bloody that you just know is not true! I,ll will see it this week-end and i will buy it on DVD.

  • Numfar

    I highly suggest the documentary “This Film Has Not Been Rated” if you want to learn just how stupid the MPAA is…

    • asojax

      yeah i agree if you can find that movie since the mpaa went out of it’s way to make sure it was NC17 and that no one would carry it. What kind of “independent governing group” has heads of the big studios working there? the mpaa in so many ways is a crock, why is it the esrb can give video game developers detailed lists on why they rate a game but the mpaa can’t tell you why it’s rated a certain way with more than 6 words?

      • Melissa

        If you have Netflix you can watch it instantly.

  • Flip

    The first one was sickening (I didn’t want to see it, but I wasn’t the one renting the film), and the second one sounds just as disgusting. I won’t be seeing it. I agree with the MPAA on this one though.

    • Flipsucks

      Awesome, ANOTHER organization rife with conflicts of interest deciding what is good for me.

      Thank god for the MPAA, seeing as I’m completely incapable of making decisions for myself. I humbly realize that my own principles and values are inferior to those which can be decided for me by others. I submit myself unto them and the higher powers at Time Warner, Viacom, etc. that run them. Thank you for having my best interests at heart.

      Funk the MPAA.

      Keep up the good fight Adam!

      Flip, maybe you need a babysitter, and that’s fine, but I don’t.

    • lucia

      if u dnt want to see it ok. but that doesnt give mpaa the right to not let others see it by not giving it a fair rating

      • maxpowers

        What the hell are you and flipsucks talking about. It’s not like the MPAA is some sort of legal censorship. They do nothing but give you a content warning. If you want to see the movie then you can see the movie (assuming you’re of adult age) regardless of what the MPAA rates it. True, if it’s NC-17 alot of theaters won’t play it, but that’s up to the theaters not the MPAA so the theaters would be the ones preventing you from seeing the movie.

      • asojax

        it’s true the mpaa is not legal censorship they are mainly there as a guideline for adults, however most city and states have laws in place that actually turn mpaa ratings into legal censorship, making it so NC-17 films can’t be played there. For instance my city i live in has a “clean viewing ordinace” in place so no one under the age of 18 is allowed to see R rated movies without a parent, NC-17 films can’t be played in theaters because of this ordinace, and if you contact the city officials they all give you the same garbage, first it’s no idea what your talking about, then it’s oh that law well it’s for your protection, then they finish with no we can’t change it. Who voted this law in, where did it come from?

      • Brian K

        It’s not that the MPAA is a legal censor, it’s that they’re a monopoly. They are not an independent organization, they are funded and run by the movie studios themselves, and they are demonstrably unfair in their ratings practices. Studio films nearly always have their ratings reduced on appeal, while independent features almost never do.

  • devilsidkick

    all I can say is @#$%ing awesome I loved the first one,its a real flashback to the good ol days of fun horror not that SAW crap.

  • devilsidkick

    oh flip then why even comment or read the article then. please go back to watching crap like twilight and leave the fun stuff to adults OK.

    • Casey

      devilsidkick, so only people who agree with you should comment on the article? He was sharing his opinion which is what the comment section is for (and the writer did ask whether or not the readers would be seeing it).

  • Felicia

    Have to agree with him about “The Hills Have Eyes”; that movie was much more disturbing than anything in “Hatchet”.

  • Michele

    Producers always rail at the MPAA. As Joan Graves says, it is a voluntary system for both producers & exhibitors. Box office success won’t make any difference to the MPAA, but may help convince other exhibs that the content will work. If a movie makes money, they’ll be interested.

    • Steve

      If we lived in a world without money, you’d be right on target. However, the MPAA’s rating can push theaters not to show a movie, especially in this case. Like something mentioned before, there are movie regulations in many towns which prohibit unrated/NC-17 movies. In addition, theaters that screen an adult rating/unrated movie pull from a smaller section of the population and can carry a stigma, so they may make less at the box office. All of that is in the control of the MPAA.

  • BHM1304

    MPAA stuck up their own asses and nice canned (lie) statement from an entitly whose bread is buttered exclusively by the studios. Joan Graves is a JOKE.

  • tim

    The violence in this film (if it’s like the previous) is more silly than disturbing so I don’t get the controversy.

  • Dan

    So, he’s hoping for a box office miracle. Well, he can keep dreaming on that one. Let’s see if this sequel can even come close to the original’s worldwide gross of $208,550. The first one did horrible, so this is likely to do way worse. Here’s hoping to that!

  • RacerX

    My problem with the MPPA is their double standards when it comes to rating movies. A big budget studio film is more likely to receive a R rating than a independent film with the same levels of sex or viloence.

  • Sarah

    Titanic anyone??? It came out as PG-13, and people threw a fit because it was obviously an R movie, but the studio had the power to pay off the MPAA.

  • Kerri

    I saw the second hatchet yesterday, it was disgustingly awesome. Better than the first. It’s awesome amc is putting unrated movies in their theaters.

  • Nick

    Everyone should see “Frozen”. It was terrifying!

    • Derek

      I couldn’t even move for the entire middle part of that movie!

      • mermaid lust

        nick, i totally agree! “frozen” was a great movie. i just rented it at random and it was a great thriller!

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