Dialogue: Adam Green and Joe Lynch Talk 'Chillerama,' 'Knights of Badassdom,' 'Hatchet 3' and Everything in Between

Dialogue: Adam Green and Joe Lynch Talk 'Chillerama,' 'Knights of Badassdom,' 'Hatchet 3' and Everything in Between

Dec 08, 2011

Last week horror directors Adam Green (Hatchet, Frozen) and Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2, Knights of Badassdom) stopped by the Alamo Drafthouse to hold a charity event with all proceeds going to the American Legion Hall. Not only did they show their contributions to the horror anthology Chillerama (which also hit DVD and Blu-ray last week), but they also gave the fundraising crowd the first looks at a few of their new projects, including Lynch's Knights of Badassdom, which finds Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, Danny Pudi, Summer Glau and more as LARPers who fight a real demon, and Holliston, FEARnet's first-ever TV show, a sitcom starring Green and Lynch as struggling horror filmmakers. And, on top of that, the pair auctioned off exclusive goodies like screen-used props from Hatchet and Knights, signed DVDs and a whole lot more.

All-in-all, it was a very generous event, which is no surprise considering Green and Lynch are two of the most sincere and passionate genre fans in the business. And that's precisely why it was such a pleasure to sit down with them before the show to talk about all the movies above and more. We guarantee it'll be the only interview you read today containing the words "demon semen."

Movies.com: Why did you decide on this as your "next" projects?

Joe Lynch: It was never the "next" project for either of us. At the time Green was about to shoot Hatchet 2. He'd come off a crazy marathon run of doing Frozen and Hatchet.

Adam Green: I was in post on Frozen when we had just begun talking about Chillerama and both of us originally said no when [Adam] Rifkin and [Tim] Sullivan first brought it up to us.

Movies.com: So it was their idea?

Green: Yeah. We said no because it's like every five minutes someone is calling us saying, "We should do an anthology!" and it always sounds great in theory, but...

Lynch: And if you've done a ton of short films in the past like we have, they're always like, "Well surely you've just got some short you can give us!" or "Surely you can just slap something together and do something for nothing!"

Green: But it was this whole idea of having each one being from a different time period and not being anything like the other one that was really a selling point. And for both of us it was definitely about the opportunity to work with Rifkin.

Lynch: Definitely. Rifkin's The Dark Backward was one of the first indie movies I ever went into the city to see. To go from that to The Chase and Detroit Rock City.

Green: And Mousehunt!

Lynch: And Mousehunt, of course, though he doesn't like to talk about that one. We love ourselves an underdog.

Green: It also just sounded like a fun, easy side project. We weren't even going to tell anyone about it, we were just going to do it and be like, "Boom, here it is."

Movies.com: If I remember right you guys did keep it under wraps until Frightfest.

Green: Yeah, we kept it secret until it got to the point where we needed extras. Once we would need to make postings about "Come be an extra in this," we knew it would be out. So at Frightfest we said, "We've been working on this thing, it's called Chillerama, these are the directors." We really didn't say much about it. And then we showed The Diary of Anne Frankenstein in its entirety

Lynch: In a longer cut, too.

Green: Yeah. And that was a very cool way to do it; to not just do an announcement, but to also let people see it at the same time.

Lynch: It just adds a kind of legitimacy to it. And the thing with the extras was just that we knew someone would get a hold of the sheet and break down everything to see what was there and likely share stuff that wasn't ready for public consumption. We kept wondering how to not let the cat of the bag and then, I think it was May of 2010, they wanted me to shoot Zom B Movie right before Knights of Badassdom, and then we got like three cast members back to back to back, so it was like "Sh*t!"

Green had already shot his and Rifkin and Sullivan kind of had to do theirs after mine, so I came back from Knights and shot Zom B Movie at night while editing Knights during the day. After we did the announcement it was a lot easier for us to go, "Hey, we need zombies to f**k people, come on out!"

Movies.com: Considering both of you have an extensive history with short films, were there any curve balls working on your first anthology?

Green: Specifically in making mine, no. I've made 61 short films at this point, so this was just getting to make one that was a little bit longer form and with a bigger budget. For my Halloween shorts, the rule has always been one night only, no money and whatever we can come up with. And I think those were almost like boot camp for this. This was a walk in the park for everybody. We didn't even shoot full days. It was just fun and a joy the whole time. So that all went great.

What was difficult was... because my company was the one who put up financing for it, I had another layer of responsibility. And it's weird when you're making a movie with three of your friends and you're all going to be equal and all have creative freedom to do what you want, but at the same time my ass is on the line for the money. You don't want to pull rank ever and be like, "Look dude, yours is too f**king long, you've got to shorten it." Because they're not going to remember that as the President of ArieScope Pictures saying that. So that was always hard about it.

They all took the roles of producers as well, so at the most part that did help solve the problem, because they weren't just grabbing for creative freedom, they were thinking about the big picture, too.

Lynch: I think just knowing that I had 50 pages of stuff to shoot in six days was daunting. We shot 10 pages a day usually and I had 4 unites going at the same time. There were nights when Green was doing a unit, I was doing two units, and we had another guy doing an effects unit as well. It was just going, "How the f**k are we going to put this together?" I was running everywhere saying, "Okay, boobies look great. Blood looks great. Richard Riehle, you ready? Did we get that shot? Did we get the insert over there?"

It was madness, but it was good madness. I've always dreamed of doing a zombie movie at a drive in, and this was that. And they're f**king! It doesn't get any better than that! That really was the toughest part, just trying to fit in so much in such little time. All I was hearing from Green was, "Oh, we're having a light lunch, we're finished with our shoot, it's easy!" But we shot in a real drive-in, so we couldn't start until the final film ended around 11 and all the patrons were out before people started taking their clothes off.

I don't know if there are any drive-ins still around here, but what they usually do is that in the morning they set up a swap meet. So at the end of the day, when we'd be racing to get our stuff done, people would be showing up to start setting up their own stuff for the swap meet. Long story short, we had people from the swap meets start stealing our sh*t! We had one guy who stole cables, another who stole our fake gravestones. It was nuts.

The time constraints were the hardest, though. We were all doing this in our off time, so our significant others hated us. Except for my wife, who was on set.

Movies.com: Was she in the movie?

Lynch: Yes, she's the mother of the little kid, who is also my son.

Movies.com: At what point do you have your friends going, "Really, Joe? This is what you want me to do?"

Lynch: Shockingly, everyone who I made do horrible, awful stuff, was into it. AJ [Bowen], Ward Roberts, who is another filmmaker, my wife was obviously very up for the challenge. Everyone we came to... Director Mike Mendez is in the film, he's actually the very last shot that we shot. He just came by and was like, "Hey guys, can I help!" So I said, "Grab that stump and f**k it." "Really?" "Yes!" "Okay, it's a Joe Lynch thing, why not?"

And it ends up being the funniest joke in the movie because he's not even a zombie, he's just f**king this stump like, "What?" It kills! It was that loose, almost improvisational tone going in that opened everyone up. Even when we were doing Defecation, I had my composer in it. He was thrilled because I told him he got to do a sleazy '70s score, then I asked him to be in it and he said, "Sure, what am I doing?" "You're painting in sh*t. See you tomorrow!"

I think it was just the overall sense of fun and outrageousness that people took to. You can't make a Top Secret or a Naked Gun or anything Mel Brooks has done without knowing that a tongue is planted firmly in cheek-- or in our case, firmly out of cheek. Knowing that, everyone kind of came in going, "Let's get our hands dirty!" and they walked away covered in [demon semen].

Movies.com: Speaking of that, was the blue color a creative choice or was it practical because there's no way people would accept it otherwise?

Lynch: No, no, it was a creative choice purely because I wanted to make sure we weren't showing real [demon semen], because then it's just pornographic. So I had to think of something that visually and aesthetically would be more fun to look at. You've got Re-Animator using glowing green, Ninja Turtles with their greenish-yellowish. Even Street Trash uses a lot of DayGlo, and they were really smart about it, because even though they show a lot of really violent sh*t in that, because it's all green and yellow and everything it's a little less harsh, a little less offensive to watch. So turn it blue, it was a little more aesthetically pleasing to see popcorn covered in it.

It was a visual way of allowing the audience to go, "Okay, I can laugh. I can make fun of this." Plus, you call anything "demon semen," you're going to get a smile.

Movies.com: Moving on to what's next for you guys, what was the origin of Holliston?

Green: Holliston has been my passion of passion projects since I was like 15. When I first got of college, my first job was making really sh*tty commercials for a cable channel out of Boston.

Lynch: At the time they were works of art, I'm sure.

Green: No, I knew they were bad. And the clients knew they were bad. But that was where I first met Will Barrat, who is my cinematographer and business partner. We worked on shorts together then ended up making a feature for $400 called Coffee and Donuts which ended up winning an award at a film festival and getting bought by Disney to be turned into a sitcom, which is essentially what Holliston is. It was developed for UPN and I was going to be the writer. That sounds like it all happened very fast, but it was actually over a long struggle of time. Then UPN merged with the WB that year and the project was lost and Touchstone held the rights to Coffee and Donuts for five years. In the mean time I made Hatchet and Spiral and all those films. Then Joe and I were making these films called "The Road to Frightfest" and off of those we suddenly started being seen as this weird comedy duo of horror.

I'm still kind of confused how that happened, but then G4, where Joe was the director at the time, said "We want to do a show with you two guys because we think you're funny." So I said, "Okay, I've got it. It's these two guys who have – I think at the time for G4 it was a podcast, but it started as a radio show – who have this podcast..." And they said, "Great, let's do it!" but at that point in my career I didn't need the money, so I never signed a contract or accepted a check because I knew better. And sure enough, NBC Universal and Comcast announced the merger and all production was halted, but this time they couldn't touch it because I still owned it.

Then I made Frozen with Peter Block as the producer, and he ended up becoming the President of FEARnet. About a year-and-a-half ago he called me to set up a meeting and said, "I've got to figure out what our first show is going to be." I was like, "You mean FEARnet the website?" "No, it's a new cable network we're going to be launching soon. I need to figure out what my first original show is going to be, but I want you to be in it." "Well, I don't want to do any hosting or anything like that." "No, it's going to be an original show that's scripted." And I'm like, "Two guys who are trying to be horror filmmakers..."

And it just clicked, and it's the best version it's ever been because now it's closer to my real life. So all the stories in it are from my real life, and at some point I want to come back to the Alamo and show the original movie once people have seen the show just to see how much of this stuff has already been around for 13 years. Some of the better jokes in Frozen are all from Coffee and Donuts. It all just sort of ties together.

This has always been my dream project. I mean, who doesn't want a sitcom where they're the show runner, the writer, the producer, the director, the actor? It doesn't happen that often, so I'm so happy that FEARnet picked it. People have been wondering what it's like, and it's just like any other sitcom, but with violence. It's like if Seinfeld was talking and then all of a sudden his head exploded.

Movies.com: Moving on to your individual future projects, are you wrapped on Knights of Badassdom?

Lynch: We're wrapped on shooting, we're in post which will hopefully be done very soon. We'll then be rolling it out theatrically early-to-mid next year. It's a slow process – I love indie film! - but the response from Comic-Con really bolstered us. Before that it was just me in my own world, but that proved I really had something. So that will hopefully be done and out to theaters next year. I'm then moving into production on my next film, Everly, which is an action-adventure film.

Movies.com: Adventure? Doesn't it take place in a single room?

Lynch: Well, I guess I shouldn't say that. The adventure is going to be making it. [Laughs] It's Die Hard in a room.

Movies.com: I instantly fell in love with the plot description when it first hit. I am a huge, huge fan of films set in a single location.

Lynch: A lot of movies like that are like stage plays in a way. One of the recent movies that I watched that I think is a good typeface for the drama that can happen in those situations is 12 Angry Men. Not a lot happens, but the actors are the pyrotechnics. So I want to take that and try to shove Die Hard and The Professional and Michael Mann and little of everything into one picture where the camera can never leave the room. I'm not making it a big deal, but the idea is to really keep the situation completely confined to the room and the camera to keep that sense of claustrophobia. And when the sh*t hits the fan, man does it hit the fan.

We're casting right now and if all goes well, it's going to be f**king awesome. We shoot that early next year, which is crazy because that's when Knights and Holliston both come out. It's going to be a crazy year.

Movies.com: And so is the next for you Killer Pizza?

Green: Well, Holliston is in post, so I'm just starting on that. It's looking very likely that we're doing more seasons of that, and that already is a 72-hour-a-day job. I already wrote Killer Pizza for Chris Columbus, and now it's set up at MGM so it'll start the studio notes process. Hopefully it survives all of that and then we'll see. So I'm working on that as well, and Hatchet 3 starts shooting in April, though I'm not directing that.

Movies.com: Does it have a director yet?

Green: Yeah, BJ McDonnell is directing that. He was the camera operator on the first two Hatchets, he shot all of Rob Zombie movies, he's on Tom Cruise's new movie right now. He's kind of like an A-list camera guy, but has always been looking to direct. He shot every single thing in both Hatchet movies, so I wanted him to do it and it's fantastic that the Dark Sky guys understood that. Because there's always the temptation to go, "Well, let's get a director with some credits people know." But it's like, why not get the guy who's already worked on both movies? I mean, when I approached him with it, he cried. That's the guy you want, that's the type of enthusiasm you want to have.

Categories: Interviews, Horror
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