Hatchet: Ripping Off Friday the 13th Without Shame?

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Adam Green is a director that a lot of horror writers and bloggers seem to love. I can see why to some extent, he’s like us. He’s a massive fan that got to make the same type of movies that he loved. And for that I respect the hell out of Adam Green. But at the same time I do believe the man is highly overrated. I’d take the slower style of Ti West over Adam Green’s stuff any day of the week. I also can’t get passed the fact that Green did rip off Friday the 13th in more than a few ways with his most popular film, Hatchet.

A homage to a film you love is fine and dandy. Everyone does that from time to time. But when I look at Hatchet I see a movie that seems like it was meant to be a Friday the 13th script, only it was went back over to avoid copyright laws. And I’m not just blowing smoke here, I have evidence!

The Origin Story
A boy that is deformed and made fun of dies by accident only he isn’t dead and he returns to kill for vengeance due to the death of a parent. Is that Friday the 13th or is that Hatchet? Oh wait! It’s BOTH! Friday the 13th wasn’t by any means an originator. The movie was intended to be a copy of Halloween originally. But as the movies go, one copy turns out another copy and so on and so forth. But there was a lot of differences in Halloween and Friday the 13th. All they had in comment was they were slashers and had a unstoppable killer (keep in mind this wasn’t the case in the original Friday). Hatchet went all out in it’s copying of Friday the 13th.

Kane Hodder
So you want a mad man (you know he DOES kinda look like Madman but that’s a different story) running around in the woods killing kids. Who can we pick for that? We can get Kane Hodder!!! Hell, why not!? He did play Jason and by all accounts he seems to be the fans choice overall for Jason. But since the Friday series moved on and Kane wasn’t being used, this opened up a perfect chance for Green to snatch up perhaps the most popular Jason for his film, which is a lot like Friday in it’s self. Hmmmm? Coincidence?? I think not.

Lake/Swamp It’s Still Water
While Jason tormented the lakes of Camp Crystal Lake, Victor couldn’t do that! After all, it would be even more obvious which film it was copying. So if Jason has the lake, what body of water can Victor haunt? A river? Naw, that’s too big! A pond? Nope, that’s too small. Oh I got it! He can run rug-shot over the swamp! Thank goodness he didn’t drown in it before hand or we’d really have a problem. So if you go into the woods to camp, you got to deal with Jason. If you go in the woods to the lake, we’ll that is where you’ll find Victor. Or maybe Swamp Thing.

Head-twisting Anyone?
Anyone remember that scene in Friday the 13th part 4 when Jason twisted off that dude’s head in the hospital? Well its OK if you missed it because Victor does the same thing to a man in Hatchet! Perhaps it’s not the most obvious connection between the two, but I caught that, Adam! I guess we could at least give the man credit for not having someone tossed in a sleeping bag and beat against a tree.

The Ending
The most obvious thing connecting the two and Adam Green doesn’t even try to cover this one up at all. It’s the same style, it’s nearly the same setup, and it’s even got the same music (or very close to it). Had this been the only thing about Hatchet that was also like Friday the 13th, maybe we could have let this go. But there is just too many connections. You know it was rumored a while back that Green turned down a chance to direct a Friday the 13th film. I can see why he did, he already made one.

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to make a script about about a family of cannibals that live in Tennessee. The main one uses a handsaw. I hope nobody notices any other films I’ll be borrowing from.

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Chuck Conry

Chuck Conry has been doing this for ten years! He does reviews, podcasts, and makes indie movies. The jury may still be out on if he does any of those things well.