Clark Collis
January 09, 2018 AT 02:00 PM EST

Last August a group of horror fans gathered at Hollywood’s ArcLight Cinema for what was billed as a 10th-anniversary screening of writer-director Adam Green’s much-loved, and two sequels-inspiring, slasher film, Hatchet. Instead, the audience was treated to the first-ever screening of Victor Crowley, the secretly-made fourth film in the bloody saga about a swamp-dwelling psychopath played by horror icon Kane Hodder.

Once again written and directed by Green, the film picks up a decade after the events of the first three films in the franchise and stars Hatchet veteran Parry Shen as survivor Andrew Yong, who has spent the intervening time claiming that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the deaths of the 49 people killed in the original trilogy of films. Yong’s allegations have been met with widespread disbelief, but when a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past.

“The only survivor that was ever found was Parry Shen’s character Andrew Yong,” Green told EW last summer. “Now, ten years, later, he’s kind of become a little bit of a celebrity. At one point he’s compared to ‘the OJ Simpson of Honey Island Swamp’ because most people do not buy his story, but he got off because there was no evidence that he had done it. So, some people love him, a lot of people hate him, and now he’s written a book, which he is promoting on the 10th anniversary of the events of 2007. He is convinced to do one final interview back at the scene of the massacre, where he has never returned.”

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Although Green is best known as the creator of the Hatchet franchise, he has overseen a slew of other projects, including 2007’s Spiral, 2010’s Frozen, 2014’s Digging Up the Marrow, and the sitcom Holliston. He also co-hosts the weekly movie podcast The Movie Crypt with his fellow director Joe Lynch (Everly, Mayhem). “Hatchet was always just meant to be a trilogy,” says Green. “I was actually quite relieved and happy to be done with it and on to all the other stuff.”

That changed when the director fell into a depression following the death of Scream filmmaker Wes Craven in August 2015, and was subsequently prompted to return to the world of Hatchet by the late Dawn of the Dead director George A. Romero during an appearance the pair made at a convention in October of that year.

“When Wes died, all the horror filmmakers in my generation started calling each other, in disbelief and shock,” says Green. “That reality that our idols are not going to be here forever was suddenly very real. You start asking yourself, ‘Well, what have we done that even matters?’ For months, I was really in a depression, thinking that nothing we’ve been doing really matters, that it can’t compare. Then, at Rock and Shock, which is a convention in Worcester, Mass., I wound up being asked to moderate George Romero’s panel. After the panel, George said, ‘I know you’ve been going through a rough time, I know you’ve been taking Wes’s passing personally — you have to get over that, and get back on your feet.’ And as part of his pep talk he had said, ‘So, where’s the next Crowley picture?’ And I said, ‘There isn’t going to be one, I’m done with that.’ And he pointed to this standing ovation in the audience and he said, ‘You’ve got to understand, ’til they say it’s over, it isn’t.’ Forty-eight hours later, I’m back in L.A., and I’m sitting at my desk, and I’m typing ‘Ext. Honey Island Swamp. Night.’”

Victor Crowley costars Laura Ortiz, Dave Sheridan, Brian Quinn, Krystal Joy Brown, Felissa Rose, Chase Williamson, Katie Booth, Tiffany Shepis, Jonah Ray, and Green’s absurdly cute Yorkshire Terrier Arwen. The film will be released Feb. 6 on VOD and digital platforms, as well as Blu-ray and DVD. 

Watch the exclusive trailer for Victor Crowley above.

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