This month’s Horror Icon is a comparatively young filmmaker, who somehow manages to do more work in a year than most of us could manage in a decade. Simultaneously an actor, director, podcaster, writer and producer, Adam Green may not be the most famous man around (not just yet, anyway), but he is definitely already a Horror Icon in his own right. Few genre filmmakers are in as covetable a position as Adam Green right now. Both a mainstream hit and an indie darling, Green somehow manages to straddle the line between making it big and remaining comfortably under the radar, foregoing the media hungry excesses of other notable talents such as the Soska sisters, or Ti West, all the while cultivating an almost unrealistic ubiquity that would make most of us pass out.
Considering just how omnipresent he is, Green should be really, really annoying. He constantly seems to be everywhere at once, at every convention, screening, and festival, always smiling, always eager, always talking far too much, exceeding his allotted time and stopping to share anecdotes with everyone who comes into contact with him. And yet, everyone loves him, to the point that, just this week, he sheepishly admitted that his last scheduled appearance of 2013 wasn’t actually going to be his last.
There’s nothing horror fans love more than one of our own making it big, and in this respect, Green’s massive, worldwide popularity is totally understandable. A diehard horror fanatic from Holliston, Massachusetts, Green graduated from Hofstra University in 1997, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Television and Film Production. Much like the character he portrays in his hugely popular TV sitcom Holliston, one of Green’s first jobs was producing and directing commercials for a local cable company.
Though his feature debut came with the offbeat rom-com Coffee And Donuts, which starred Green in the lead role and was loosely based on his own life, he properly burst onto the scene with his gorefest, love-it-or-hate-it slasher series, Hatchet, the third and final instalment of which premiered to a rapturous crowd at this year’s Frightfest. Simultaneously a nod to, and a disembowelment (literally) of, eighties slashers, the series was described by Green as “old school American horror” and pitched disfigured villain Victor Crowley (Horror Icon Kane Hodder) against a variety of stock characters, before he ultimately meets his match in Final Girl Marybeth (played by Horror Icon Danielle Harris). Funnily enough, though it divided critics and, indeed, genre fans, at first, the Hatchet series has proven to be a massive cult hit, with several members of this year’s Frightfest audience even shedding a tear as Crowley met his final demise.
Green showed his versatility with the incredible, terrifying, and wonderfully clever Frozen, a much more realistic horror film featuring three, very unlucky friends (up-and-comers Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore and Kevin Zegers) who get trapped on a ski lift overnight and have to fight against freezing to death, while simultaneously avoiding the hungry wolves below. Critics could barely fathom that it was an Adam Green flick, such was its deep emotional impact and genuinely frightening premise, which seems directly juxtaposed against the relentlessly gory, balls-to-the-wall (literally) madness of Hatchet. Frozen was a massive success at the Sundance Film Festival, where it launched in 2010, and received rave reviews after its release into North American theatres later that same year.
Elsewhere, Green stars, writes and directs in the hugely entertaining horror-themed sitcom Holliston, alongside his friend, collaborator and fellow horror filmmaker Joe Lynch, with whom he also presents a weekly podcast, called The Movie Crypt (trivia fans will have spotted that this is also the title of their fictional horror cable show, on Holliston) which achieved an almost immediately rapt audience of listeners, thanks to some very candid interviews with horror legends such as Sid Haig, alongside the natural banter between best buddies Lynch and Green. The podcast is so successful and far-reaching, that it has even been cited by lecturers in UCLA as mandatory listening for film students, and they often include it as part of their curriculum.
Starring Laura Ortiz and Corri English as the ditz and the eye candy respectively, and with hair metal legend Dee Snider as Lance Rockett, the crazy, stuck-in-the-eighties boss of the local cable station, for which the struggling filmmakers work to pay the bills, alongside Gwar’s Oderus Urgungus as Adam’s imaginary friend, Holliston is often described as The Big Bang Theory, if only its writers knew what nerds were really like. The horror references are endless, and the guest stars are wonderfully diverse, featuring everyone from John Landis to Danielle Harris. Most importantly, though, is that Holliston is touching and hilarious in equal measure because, not only is it very intelligently written, very well acted and directed, but it speaks to horror fanatics in a language we can understand, involving us in a narrative to which we can easily relate.
Never one to stay quiet for even a moment when he could be working on something exciting, Green is currently busy with Digging Up The Marrow, a documentary he directed, produced and starred in as himself, the subject of which is monster art. Green collaborated on the project with urban artist Alex Pardee, and the two recently turned up as a surprise at the annual Buttnumbathon at the Alamo Draft Theater, in Texas, to give a special sneak preview of the film, for which the audience gave rave reviews, in spite of being sworn to secrecy. Green is also slated to write and direct Killer Pizza, a big budget project which is being produced by Chris Columbus and is based on Greg Taylor’s novel of the same name.
Speaking at this year’s Frightfest (for far longer than he was supposed to, as per usual), Green noted how easy it is to lose faith as a struggling filmmaker, actor, writer, whatever, when the knocks just seem to keep on coming. But, as he says himself, if he can do it, anyone can. It’s this humility and generosity for his fans – or friends, rather, since the man cannot help but stop and talk to everyone who approaches him and has not one ounce of ego – that make Green so likeable and relatable to such a wide spectrum of people. Though his Hatchet series has its detractors, it’s difficult to find anyone who genuinely despises him, or thinks his work is useless or unimaginative. He’s one of our own, and he’s a Horror Icon in his own right, in spite of the fact he’d never, ever willingly accept that label.
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