Horror’s Icons: Victor Crowley


In 2006, Adam Green released Hatchet, his contribution to the horror world. Hatchet was unlike most horror films to come out in the 2000’s because it was a slasher film and didn’t rely on ghosts or anything else. And the newest slasher to enter the world was a hulking madman by the name of Victor Crowley. And although the newest addition to the slasher genre, Crowley has already made a name for himself in the horror world.

Crowley may be the newest slasher to hack his way onto the screens, but his story is a throwback to the old days. Long ago in the Louisiana swamp, a young, deformed boy named Victor Crowley was hidden from the world by his father Thomas. But on one Halloween night, everything went wrong. A group of kids decided to play a prank on Victor and threw fireworks in his house. The prank soon turned dangerous as the house was soon engulfed in flames and Victor was trapped. When his father got there, he tried to use a hatchet to tear down the door and rescue Victor. But what Thomas didn’t realize was that Victor’s face was pressed up against the door and was hit with the hatchet and died. Thomas remained there and eventually died from a broken heart. The Crowley family was gone. Or so everyone thought.


Victor gets a "head" on the competition

Victor gets a “head” on the competition

In Hatchet, Sampson (Robert Englund) and Ainsley (Joshua Leonard) Dunston, father and son, are fishing in the Louisiana swamp. Soon, both are killed by a huge monstrous being. We are then brought to Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras where a group of friends are enjoying the, um, activities. One of the them, Ben (Joel David Moore), is depressed about recently breaking up with his girlfriend. He wants to leave the city and go on a haunted swamp tour he heard about. He and his friend Marcus (Deon Richmond) go to Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) and he can’t give them the tour but directs them to a smaller business that will. They embark on the haunted swamp tour with a group of people, one of whom is Marybeth Dunston (Tamara Feldman), daughter and sister of the two killed at the beginning of the movie. She suspects that Victor Crowley is responsible but no one will believe her. Once stranded in the swamp, the group soon meets their fates at the hands of a giant killer with a disfigured face dressed only in overalls. They have met Victor Crowley and will all ultimately met their demise except for Marybeth. She survives the horror while killing Crowley. Well, temporarily at least.

Hatchet II was released in 2008 and picks up right where the first movie left off. After the horrible swamp tour, Marybeth (now played by Danielle Harris), finds that people act differently when they learn her last name. Upon returning to New Orleans, she pays a visit to Reverend Zombie and he informs her that her father was one of the boys that set Victor’s house on fire. Knowing that Victor will not stop, she gathers a group of hunters and goes back out to the swamp to kill Victor Crowley once and for all. But we horror fans know that this, of course, does not go as planned and the bloodbath ensues. Marybeth is the last survivor again and, once again, “defeats” him.

Leatherface must be jealous

Leatherface must be jealous

Victor Crowley returned with the release of Hatchet III earlier this year. Again picking up right where the previous film left off, Marybeth destroys Victor and rips his skull and spinal cord from his body. She brings this with her to New Orleans and walks right into the police station with this trophy. She informs the people there that she killed Victor Crowley but they do not believe her and lock her up. She tells them where the massacre happened and the police and paramedics head out to the swamp. They are met out there by a SWAT team but that doesn’t help. Crowley, still alive and well, destroys everyone in sight. While in prison, Marybeth is visited by the Amanda, sheriff’s ex-wife who wants to help her. She has been trying to prove the existence of Victor Crowley for years and this is her shot. Eventually Marybeth decides to work with her and they head out to destroy Victor. Amanda tells Marybeth that the only way to truly kill Victor is to give him what he wants: his father. Amanda gives Marybeth the urn that contains the ashes of Thomas Crowley. At the swamp, she empties the ashes on Victor, which begin to melt him. Marybeth, nearly dead from fighting with Victor, grabs a gun and blows Victor’s head off. She dies after this. Or does she. The last look Marybeth shows her gasping for air, leaving her return, and Victor’s, up in the air.


The real swamp thing

The real swamp thing

The Hatchet series features plenty of terrific actors. Joel David Moore and Deon Richmond, from the first film, are two well-known actors that have had many good roles. Moore even made an uncredited cameo in the third film. Parry Shen was another great actor in the series and even made an appearance in all three films, playing three different characters. In the first film, he played Shawn, the ill-equipped tour guide. In the sequel he played Shawn’s twin brother Justin. And in Hatchet III, Shen played Andrew, a paramedic that was out at the swamp.

But the series is probably best recognized for the horror veterans that have been a part of the films. Hatchet featured horror stars like Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project), Tony Todd (Candyman), and John Carl Buechler, a special effects master and director best known for Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.

Hatchet II was no different as it featured Danielle Harris (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers), Tom Holland (Child’s Play), and R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III), along with the returning Todd and Buechler. The final film featured the return of Harris with newcomers Zach Galligan (Gremlins), Caroline Williams (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2), Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects), and Derek Mears (2009’s Friday the 13th).

But there was one man that was present for all three films and he is the man responsible for portraying Victor Crowley. The man that did so much for the role of Jason Voorhees was now taking on another horror icon. That man is Kane Hodder. But not only did Hodder play Victor, he was seen out of make-up playing the role of Thomas Crowley. Hodder is no doubt one of the most legendary figures in modern horror history and playing Victor Crowley was just another role that allowed him to show his unique acting while being in make-up.

And while Hodder was the man behind the adult Crowley, I couldn’t conclude this article without mentioning who played the young Victor. When we see Victor as a child, that is actually a woman playing him. Rileah Vanderbilt, 33, plays the future killer. She is also seen in the third film, trading in Victor’s disfigured face for some regular make-up to play Officer Doughtery. Interesting to note too is that she is now the wife of Adam Green, the man responsible for bringing us Victor Crowley.

Well, there we have it. It may be short and sweet, but that is my look at Victor Crowley. He hasn’t been around for long and doesn’t have the amount of movies as some of the icons, but he was still worth looking at. And now that his story has been told, it is time to move on. We go from one of the biggest horror icons to possibly the smallest. Next time on Horror’s Icons, the Leprechaun gets his pot of gold.


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