UnNews:Shit That Pisses Me Off - The Hatchet II incident
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9 October 2010
Hello. This is a new regular feature I've been thinking about doing. This is where UnNews writers can write editorials about their pet peeves, the things that really piss them off, especially if topical. The title and logo are references to the William Shatner sitcom, Shit My Dad Says, based on the popular Twitter account and soon-to-be-canceled sitcom.
In this edition, I'm going to talk about a big upset in the world of Horror/slasher films. As you are all aware, on Friday, October 1, 2010 -- magic happened. AMC Theaters released writer-director Adam Green's highly-anticipated and much-publicized blood-soaked sequel, Hatchet II -- unrated, the widest such theatrical release since 1985's Day of the Dead and 2007's There Will Be Blood (Lots of It!). You know, that movie with Daniel Day-Lewis as the guy who likes to drink milkshakes.
In a strange chicken-or-the-egg turn of events, the film barely made a profit and was quickly pulled from theaters across North America. All the geeks who spend their time on award winning and thought-provoking websites just had to flock and see that Social Network movie that the critics are raving about! It looks like a good movie, but what the fuck about Victor Crowley? Isn't Danielle Harris hot enough for you? Seriously!
This was to be a golden moment in unrated horror. Where else that weekend could you find nonstop blood, gore and carnage? You certainly don't find that stuff in Twilight or Harry Potter. Not that I'm dissing Twilight or anything, but where's the blood?
So what the hell happened?
Let's go back to the root of the incident -- The Motion Picture Alliance of Assholes (or the MPAA for short). Those inglorious bastards kept giving the film an NC-17 rating automatically and unfairly, although Green calls it a "tame" movie compared to all the torture porn movies of late. Not wanting to destroy the integrity of the film, Green severed all ties to the evil originization, with the intention of releasing it sraight-to-video, where it would only be noticed by people seeking the movie, Santa's Slay.
AMC Theaters came to the rescue, being big fans of the original. They decided to take a bold risk and ignore the corruption that is the MPAA ratings system. Historically, major theater chains such as Cinemark, Regal, Harkins, and Warren have refused to exhibit anything other than G, PG, PG-13, or R rated films. And in Canada, it's apparently illegal to exhibit an unrated film with the penalty of a large fine. The film started being pulled opening day across the continent.
Another finger to point -- AMC themselves. They may have plotted to sabotage the release. Remember that Rocko's Modern Life episode, "Wacky Deli"? That's exactly what I'm talking about here. Sabotage. Perhaps it was a publicity stunt on AMC's part...? Who knows if this was a good thing or a bad thing, pulling the film. At least it's given Hatchet II the greatest publicity of any horror film in years. The story even made CN-fucking-N. Way to go! Woo-hoo! CNN is hot for horror!
Currently, 11 people are demanding the film via Eventful.com (the site that helped bring Paranormal Activity and Savage County to the masses), and thats' a far cry from most films being demanded by users. Eventful users are now trying to demand the recently-released unrated remake of I Spit on Your Grave as an act of revenge for the Hatchet II casualty. So far, only three people have demanded it.
Since I'm fortunate enough to possess three arms (unlike most humans), I'll point my next finger at Dark Sky Films and Adam Green himself... and the fans who failed to see the film. Did they know the laws and regulations of Canada? Did they know the kind of risk they were taking? NC-17 is box office poison, and good luck with unrated. Did they pull the film as a publicity stunt to spike DVD and Blu-ray sales and On Demand?
And you, the fans! Where the fuck were you guys when the film opened in your area, if it did? IMDb users have reported a contradictory mix of sold-out shows and empty theaters. It's YOU who should take about 33 to 50 percent of the blame.
It's a shame that unrated horror has to be subjected to this kind of censorship when playing in theaters. Maybe next time though, Adam Green or whoever can release both rated AND unrated versions of Hatchet III just in case the MPAA plans their own "sequel."