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John’s Horror Corner: Hatchet III (2013), Kane Hodder returns as Crowley in this AMAZING gore fest that bests the franchise in the dismemberment department.

March 21, 2018


MY CALL
: Perhaps redeeming the franchise for the previous sequel, and matching the former glory of part 1! Oh, and sooooooooooo wonderfully, deliciously, splatteringly gory!!!! MOVIES LIKE Hatchet III: Of course see the first Hatchet (2006), Hatchet II (2010), and the Friday the 13th (1980), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Wrong Turn (2003) franchises comprise the more serious suggestions—being that these are the movies being lampooned.  But Final Destination 5 (2011), Piranha 3D (2010), Piranha 3DD (2012), The Hazing (2004) and Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010) seem to better capture the flavor of Hatchet.  For more gore-geared hilarity, try Drag Me to Hell (2009) and The Cabin in the Woods (2012).

Part II SIDEBAR: So after Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder; Friday the 13th parts VII-X, Hatchet) survived being burned alive and speared through the neck in part 1, he pulled a Jason Voorhees and aquatic-ambushed Marybeth (then played by Tamara Feldman), the credits rolling with Marybeth in his clutches. Replacing Tamara Feldman as Marybeth, Danielle Harris (Halloween I-II, The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond) escapes Crowley and assembles a hunting party to put an end to the curse and avenge her murdered alligator-poaching family.  Part II ended when Marybeth gave Victor Crowley a mutilating head smashing with his own hatchet and then finished off his skull muck with a shot gun. So, clearly, he’s dead now, right? Psssssh.

As if apologizing for the notable drop in quality observed in part II, director BJ McDonnell picks up former writer/director Adam Green’s (Frozen, Hatchet I-II) spoofy franchise and begins part III with a mushy gooey extra sloppy opener! That’s right, Crowley impossibly got right back up with nothing but Sloppy Joe filling for a face! Gorehounds will rejoice as Marybeth buries her fist into Crowley’s caved in face with all the lip-smacking sound effects of stomping your boots in thick sludgy mud. Oh, and the chainsaw-induced gore… just delicious!

Franchise Timeline SIDEBAR: Note that part 1 took place in just one day, and part II was the very next day… much as the swift continuity of Friday the 13th parts II-IV. Now part III begins right after Marybeth shot Crowley in the face… or what was left of it. So these three movies span only three back-to-back days in movieland.

Sheriff Fowler (Zach Galligan; Waxwork, Gremlins) and his local Crowley folklore expert ex-wife (Caroline Williams; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Leprechaun 3) team up with Marybeth and SWAT leader Hawes (Derek Mears; Friday the 13th, Cursed) to put an end to the unkillable mutant hillbilly Crowley. Rounding out the cast, Parry Shen (The Hazing/Dead Scared) returns yet again in a third role (Andrew) in as many movies after playing the part II’s brother (Shawn) of part I’s tour guide (Justin)!

This third franchise installment brings viciously awesome pacing and completely redeems 2010’s slow starting (and slow middling) sequel by delivering a defibrillator death scene, loads of spine-ripping and limb-tearing dismemberment, torso rending, severed head throwing (at other victims!!!!), head gauging, head exploding, head splitting and smushy gushy head stomping. The gore is heavy and by the end everything is painted in blood! Amid the zany fun are nods to Predator (1987; shooting down the forest), Jason Voorhees’ incredible resurrections (e.g., the knife in the head), 80s death curses (e.g., Myers and Voorhees), and Fright Night’s (1985) disturbingly messy melting death.

The whole curse thing was probably the weakest aspect of the movie, but who could even care or notice? There was so much action and blood and gore… horrorhounds will find themselves smiling throughout the entire running time of this wonderful sequel that does true honor to the 2006 original and forgives any hiccups of part II.

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