[31 Days of Halloween] Day Eighteen: It’s All Guts and Glory in ‘Hatchet II’

This decade has brought not one, but three entries in Adam Green’s ultra-gory slasher series. Starting with Hatchet II, which kicked off the decade with its October 1, 2010 release. That alone would give merit to Hatchet II’s selection as our Franchise Friday pick of the week. But really, it’s because this sequel is so damn fun. Writer/Director Adam Green ups the ante on scope, body count, and excess gore at every turn.

Above all, though, there’s no better time than now to revisit Hatchet II; it’s John Carl Buechler’s final appearance in the series as Jack Cracker. Buechler, who passed away earlier this year, was vital to our genre. He was vital to the Hatchet series, too. It was he, and his shop, that designed and created the gore effects and Victor Crowley. For the sequel, the baton was passed to shop foreman Robert Pendergraft, making Jack Cracker’s final appearance feel like firm closure.

Synopsis: Picking up from the precise moment where the previous film left off, Marybeth escapes the clutches of swamp-dwelling killer Victor Crowley. After learning a startling truth about her family’s connection to Crowley, she amasses a small army of hunters to retrieve the bodies of her fallen kin and exact revenge.

Key Players: Horror fixture Danielle Harris takes over as fierce final girl Marybeth Dunston. Series staple Kane Hodder resumes his role as everyone’s favorite resident of Honey Island Swamp, Victor Crowley. Also look for returning actors Tony Todd, Parry Shen, and John Carl Buechler, of course. Notable horror director Tom Holland appears as Marybeth’s Uncle Bob. R.A. Mihailoff, AJ Bowen, Alexis Kendra, Ed Ackerman, David Foy, Colton Dunn, and more round out the cast as the hired hunters.

Why It’s on the List: The first three Hatchet films are a perfect escalation of violence and scope; three parts of one continuous story. The first film involved a small swamp tour caught in the crosshairs, and this film sees a bigger, more prepared group going in for battle. With that means way more over the top, creative death sequences. And boatloads more gore. It’s that sense of fun and creativity that makes this series so entertaining. For longtime horror fans, it’s also a great showcase of our favorite heroes. Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, Tom Holland, Tony Todd appear in this entry alone.

Fatality!: Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen Hatchet II yet: Reverend Zombie tries to pull a fast one on Crowley and Marybeth, and suffers greatly for it. As in, one of the grisliest deaths in the film. It’s essentially a Mortal Kombat Fatality…

Where You Can Watch: Hatchet II, the R-rated version, is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Hoopla.

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