Adventures in Fake Journalism: Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet

Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet is not a movie about Lizzie Borden. I can't stress that enough. Is it a movie about a young girl who murders her parents with a pair of scissors and a hatchet? Yes. Is her name Mary Hatchet? No. That's just something people call her because of the involvement of a hatchet in her murder spree. She's actually named Mary Mattock, which proves happily coincidental because her daughter later uses a mattock (sometimes called a pickaxe) in a tangentially-related murder spree some years later.

Why have I spent all of this time establishing that this is not a film about Lizzie Borden, despite being clearly inspired by that famous case? The answer follows, in the fake headlines that appear during the film's opening credit sequence:

DAILY (Sideshow Pictures) TIMES
Long Island Family Slain, Police Arrest 12 Year Old Girl
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Border's father, Andrew Jackson Borden, and her stepmother, Abby Durfee Borden, were murdered in the family home. The only other people present at the residence at the time were Lizzie and the family maid, Bridget Sullivan. Emma Borden, Lizzie's sister, was away from home.[2] The Borden sisters' uncle, John Vinnicum Morse, 

Frustrating the way that it cuts off so abruptly during a discussion of the Lizzie Borden murders, isn't it? Well, not to worry - in the next picture, we'll see a LOT more of the same text.

Court Finds "Mary Hatchet" Unfit to Stand Trial
Young Murderer to be Evaluated at Kings Park Psych Center
Durfee Borden, were murdered in the family home. The only other people present at the residence at the time were Lizzie and the family maid, Bridget Sullivan. Emma Borden, Lizzie's sister, was away from home.[2] The Borden sisters' uncle, John Vinnicum Morse, brother of Andrew Borden's first wife, was visiting at the time, but was also away from the house during the time of the murders. That day, Andrew Border had gone into town to do his usual round at the bank and post office. He returned home at about 10:45 a.m. About a half-hour later, Lizzie Borden found his body. According to Sullivan's testimony, she was lying down in her room on the third floor of the house shortly after 11:00 a.m. when she heard Lizzie call to her, saying someone had killed her father, whose body was found slumped on a couch in the downstairs sitting room. Andrew Borden's face was turned to the right hand side, apparently at ease as if her were asleep. Shortly thereafter, while Lizzie Borden was being tended by neighbors and the family doctor, Sullivan discovered the body of Mrs. Borden upstairs in the guest bedroom. Mr. and Mrs. Borden had both been killed by blows from a hatchet, which in the case of Andrew Borden, not only crushed his skull but cleanly split his left eyeball. On the morning of August 4, 1892, Borden's father Andrew Jackson (repeats from here)

Wow, I've got to say, I'm learning a lot about Lizzie Borden from these articles. Movies (such as this one) had always suggested to me that the murders were committed during the night, but no, it seems they were a mid-morning affair, occurring around brunchtime! I wonder where this is from? The presence of an endnote marker suggests a webpage, so let me google it... Ah, here we go.

Next we see some paperwork from the mental hospital to which she was consigned:

Patient is prone to violent fits of rage, h
tendencies, extreme breakfrom reality for su
followed by prolonged bouts of 

This is followed by a diagnosis of her problem:

Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Hormonal imbalance causing emotional and psychological stress-
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Anger and/or anxiety
Severe and sudden mood swings
Feelings of isolation and hopelessness
Disassociation and/or breaks from reality

So unlike the news articles, this time they actually went to the trouble of writing up forms that related to the plot of the film!

Next things take a turn, as we're presented with the police incident report for Mary's second rampage-

So much wrong here - there's no number of victims listed, the means of attack is both 'Motor Vehicle' and 'Bare Hands', also the actual classification of offense and location on the real form that the production staff obtained has been crudely scratched out, making it look like the police were reusing forms. Seriously, though, how did the art department person in charge of this forget to scratch out the 'motor vehicle' under cause of death when they were writing in their own entry? Weird.

Also, and this one's really strange, the rampage's date is listed as 11/88 - which would contradict this title card:

Saying she wasn't even raped and impregnated until '89, which would suggest the murders resulting from her child's supposed death happened in November of that year. On Remembrance Day.

Back to newspapers!


The rest of the article is just the Lizzie Borden text from above - although, I've got to say 'Several Wounded' is a weird way to describe a crime that culminated in Mary walking around holding a severed head in her hands.

Long Island's Notorious "Mary Hatchet" Kills Again, Gunned Down At Scene

And that's the whole article! No room here for repeating the Borden Text! The next article is even more interesting-

Death of Mary Hatchet Spawns Local Holiday, "Blood Night"
The celebrators of Blood Night usually consists of seniors. In high school 17- or 18-year-old students in their final year-
students who are completing their final year of study, usually between 21 and 23 years old. Classmates traditionally nominate-
above and beyond the call of duty to contribute to their school. Other times, students vote for the nominees. Once the-
dates are announced, the entire student body votes for the Queen and King (by secret ballot) or by some other means de-
rules determine when the Homecoming Queen and King are crowned. Sometimes, the big announcement comes at a p-

So this was a strange hybrid article - a headline and one sentence about the movie, followed by Wikipedia's article on Homecoming cut and pasted in to the rest of the article. Anyone frustrated by the way that my version (the movie's version) cuts off abruptly can just click over there and read the whole thing!

Long Island Asylum Shuts Down After 100 years of Operation
The Kings Park Psychiatric Center was established in 1885 by Kings County, Richmond County, and the Bronx County, to form the famous New York City. The official name of the hospital in its first ten years was the "Kings County Asylum," taken from the name of the county that Brooklyn occupied. The hospital was revolutionary at the time in the sense that it was a departure from the asylums of folklore, which were overcrowded places where fross human rights abuses often took place. The asylum, built by Brooklyn to alleviate overcrowding in its own asylums, was a "Farm Colony" asylum, where-

Yes, the article about the closing of the asylum is just the Wikipedia article about it. There's not even a first sentence pretending it's about the movie! For shame, guys.

No need for any transcribing here! In addition to the missing apostrophe, the body of the text is just the Homecoming message again. The next one is way more interesting-

As the heading of the article noted, the specter that was seen regularly by "scores of persons" in the area of Sweet Hollow Road was indeed a playful character, jumping and dancing throughout the belfry. It also exhibited other curious behaviors, such as "enlarging and decreasing in size according to the angle of observation", or following certain witnesses and hanging around their homes for hours. Some people even claimed to-

Once again the art department went to the internet and made a minor change to an existing article to transform it into backstory for their movie. The problem is that they changed it so little that the article still refers to a playful ghost hanging around a belfry, rather than a malicious one hanging around a road. Oh well, at least they put in a little effort!

Pranksters and Vandals Strike Again On "Blood Night"
Though vandalism in itself is illegal, it is often also an integral part of modern popular culture. French painter Gustave Courbet's attempt to disassemble the Vendôme column during the 1871 Paris Commune was probably one of the first artistic vandalist acts, celebrated at least since Dada performances during World War I. The Vendôme column was considered a symbol of the past Napoleon III empire, and dismantled as such.
After the burning of the Tuileries Palace on May 23, 1871, Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche himself meditated about the "fight against culture", wondering what could justify culture if it were to be destroyed in such a "senseless" manner (the- (Repeats here)

Okay, now I'm actually a little entertained by their choice of subject - they wanted to do a fake article about Blood Night vandalism, and they chose a real article about Vandalism as Art. That's pretty funny, guys.

-Grave of Mary Mattock
This morning care takers at Sweet Hollow Cemetery found the grave of Mary Mattock spray painted and defiled. Officials blame the vandalism on local kids out celebrating "Blood night" A term coined by the local communities in honor of the death of Mattock. In recent years, pranks and vandalism on "Blood night" have increased to an unacceptable level. Mattock has been dubbed "Mary Hatchet" since she murdered her parents while she was a young girl (indistinguishable)

Check it out! They finally wrote an original document for the movie! And it's not very well written! Now I guess I understand why they weren't super-psyched to write up the rest as well. I love how much of a stretch the grave vandals went to add a new message. Sorry, guys - no matter how hard you try, a capital P will never substitute for a capital H when attempting to spell 'HELL'.

Shops and School Vandalized on Blood Night!

Okay, A: an exclamation point in headline is great, if hugely unrealistic. 2: Apparently they actually spray-painted an outbuilding on a sports field for this movie? Nice work, guys!

Ghosts of Long Island
Mary Hatchet and Other Local Specters
While Long Island may not be known as a ufological or cryptozoological hotspot to most, if there's one thing that the island does have plenty of, it's ghosts. The most famous case from Long Island would without a doubt have to be the "Amityville haunting", spawning a series of movies and national interest in the events that took place in "High Hopes" despite the case eventually being exposed as a hoax. Regardless of this fact, reports of hauntings and ghostly experiences have being noted in local newspapers for over a century, serving as a documentation of the island's paranormal history. While there are many cases that could be discussed and analyzed, for now a small catalog of reports taken from that most Fortean of newspapers, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, shall serve as a quick illustration of the nature of ghost reports near the end of the 19th century.

Apparently the art department was really fond of this webpage - the ghost story piece was from the bottom of the page, and this was the top of it!

Town Officials Condemn "Blood Night"
Parents speak out against Blood NightThe School Committee took some shots Monday night. After a year of controversial changes, a partial school closure, personnel losses, and bus route shuffling, the committee and Superintendent Gary Burton heard it all and then some from nearly 100 parents. The meeting came after weeks of letters, phone calls, and e- mails sent to school officials and the Globe. Most of the problems began last winter, when the School Committee - citing dropping enrollment and the need to trim the budget in the face of a $1.9 million Proposition 2 1/2 override request that passed in April - to partially close the Loker School and move all the first- through fourth-graders to the town's other two elementary schools, Claypit Hill and Happy Hollow.All the kindergartners now attend Loker. Busing was one of the major issues. Parents reported that children are sitting three ofour to a seat and sometimes on the floor, and that longer bus routes mean students are getting to school late and getting home even later. Parents also complained about the placement of bus stops on busy streets, including one near West Plain Street and Bent Avenue, where an elderly woman was struck and killed in the crosswalk Sept. 4.

Another single sentence about the movie before dropping in text swiped from the web. This time I can't provide a link the the whole article, since it's hidden behind a paywall. Here's the opening!

Okay, let's wrap our heads around this one, shall we? No, not the exclamation point again, I'm done complaining about that.

How can it possibly be the 20th anniversary of Blood Night? Setting aside the "did it happen in '89 or '88" thing for a moment, let's look at whole idea of the movie - kids are celebrating the time that a brutal killer murdered a bunch of people and then got shot to death. I'm not suggesting that isn't the kind of thing that teens would do - teens are obviously a-holes. I'm simply pointing out that while this tradition would absolutely start up at some point, it wouldn't have begun the next year after the murders.

Not only that, but this being the 20th anniversary of the rampage invalidates the entire plot of the film, which revolves around Mary's daughter suffering from the same disorder as she did, getting her first period and then going on a supernatural murderous rampage. Except according to the film's own timeline, this film's villain should be twenty years old.

Actually, a lot of this movie's plot problems could have been solved by simply shifting the original rampage a couple of decades back and making this film's villain the original killer's granddaughter.

That wouldn't have solved all of the film's problems - really even more than a couple. But it would have helped, and that's what matters.


busterggi said...

Listening to you & the DM watch this thing was hilarious!

C'mon do "Curse of the Blue Lights" sometime.

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