October 25, 2016
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“Hatchet” director scores unrated victory for horror filmmakers

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Rarely do you hear of a major movie theater chain bending the rules to make room for an unrated film to screen.

Most companies, be it Regal or AMC, would prefer to program safer, crowd-friendlier fare like a Pixar feature of a Ben Stiller “Museum” comedy rather than risk offending people with challenging, adult material.

But AMC is daring to take a risk, and for that, they should be applauded.

Under the umbrella of its AMC independent program, the chain has announced that it will be exhibit Adam Green’s “Hatchet II” in the top 20 markets across the country without an MPAA rating beginning Oct. 1. This unprecedented act of bravery marks the widest release of an unrated genre film in more than 25 years, according to a release.

“Having a movie as graphically over the top as ‘Hatchet II’ come out in major theatres unrated is an absolute dream come true,” said Green. “Not only for the genre fans, but for the entire make-up effects crew who normally have to watch their amazing achievements get sliced and diced for theatrical release.”

Now, I haven’t seen the original “Hatchet.” But this sequel features a number of horror-tested actors including Danielle Harris (Rob Zombie’s “Halloween”) and Kane Hodder (“Friday the 13th”), who reprises his role as serial killer Victor Crowley. The film also stars Tony Todd (“Candyman”) and R.A. Mihailoff (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”).

Still, the fact that AMC would take a chance, and not block the wider-release of Green’s film, is worth reporting. We’ll see if it has a lasting effect on how theater chains program genre films. If fans show up, it could force chains like AMC to pay attention to what audience’s crave.

“This is an important event for the horror genre and I hope the real horror fans support ‘Hatchet II’ and help change the way genre films are released theatrically from this day forward,” Green added. “Kudos to Dark Sky Films and AMC theaters for truly honoring the spirit of old school American horror and doing this right. Gorehounds won’t know what hit them!”

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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