Adam Green says his new series “Holliston” is a lot like “Friends,” except “occasionally people get stabbed in the face.”
FEARnet’s first original series casts Green as Adam Green, a struggling filmmaker trying to make his way in the world of horror movies. The horror-com, set in Holliston, Mass., follows two pals (Green and fellow filmmaker Joe Lynch) working at a cable access station where they host the late-night horror series “The Movie Crypt.” Guest stars slated for the first six-episode season which begins tomorrow night include Twisted Sister veteran Dee Snider and GWAR singer Oderus Urungus.
Green insists “Holliston” is very much like traditional sitcoms -but with a genre twist. In one “Holliston” episode, Lynch’s character is eating Green’s peanut butter, so Green does what any horror fan might do – pretends to “scan” his friend and makes his head explode.
“You could never do that in a normal comedy,” Green tells Big Hollywood. “Even if you’re not used to that kind of gore, it’s presented in a way that’s really fun.”
Green began his show business career pitching a show not too dissimilar to “Holliston,” but the project got entangled in development hell when fledgling networks UPN and The WB merged. So Green fell back on plan B – making a name for himself in horror circles.
He did just that with his well-received homage to old-school slasher films – “Hatchet” – and a Sundance-approved thriller where gore took a back seat to tension – “Frozen.” One of the producers on “Frozen,” Peter Block, took over at FEARnet and wanted to bring an original series to the horror channel, the director recalls.
So Green dusted off the bare bones of his old series concept and went to work. Literally. He’s the show’s creator, writer, director and star, and when he says he also did craft services for a couple of days it’s not a laugh line.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve taken on … I really haven’t slept since last April,” he says. “The physical toll has been monstrous, but it doesn’t feel like it.”
The Green seen on screen may be a bit … pathetic, but the director says the wait to bring his vision to the masses was worth it.
“It’s so clichéd, that everything happens for a reason,” he says. “Now, it’s closer to my real life than it ever was.”
“Holliston” isn’t exactly like the show he originally envisioned. But he had the freedom to tweak the project as he saw fit.
“When you develop for a network, like NBC, they already have their shows that are working, and new shows are designed to fit with other things. With FEARnet, we’re their first original show, there’s no mold we had to fit into.”
The six-episode first season includes episodes that run nearly 40 minutes long, another reason why Green appreciated the blank canvas offered by FEARnet. Not that studio executives didn’t add their two cents to the show.
“Normally, the last thing you want is those dreaded set visits from the network,” he says. “With this, we wanted them there all the time … everybody was on the same page.”
Horror comedy could be the most daunting sub-genre. For every film like “An American Werewolf in London” there are countless more that couldn’t successfully merge the two.
“To make a horror comedy work, you keep the comedy out of the horror. If you start making fun of what’s scary, there’s no horror any more,” he says, a balancing act he first tried with “Hatchet.”
“If we made [‘Hatchet’ killer] Victor Crowley funny, there’s no movie there,” he explains.
Green revisited his own past to help create “Holliston,” but he didn’t expect for those old wounds to feel so … raw. The Green character hearkens back to his early days, a time when his career seemed in turmoil, his heart had been recently broken and he desperately needed a break.
“You write it, rehearse it, block it, and when you’re performing it you start feeling that stuff again. It’s brutal. I didn’t expect that,” he says.
In one episode Green’s character bumps into an old flame and her new beau, a doctor.
“In the show, it’s hilarious, but if you look closely … I’m crying through much of the scene. I kept apologizing [to the crew], but everybody behind the monitor is laughing,” he says.
“Holliston” airs at 10:30 p.m. EST Tuesday nights on FEARnet.