Adam Marcus Chainsaws The Competition

As a senior at Staples High School in 1986, Adam Marcus did an independent study in English. He read every Shakespeare play, and wrote a critical essay about each.

He and his teacher — Kay Blumhardt — both loved it.

The experience — along with his rewarding work with Staples Players, beginning at age 11 in a summer production — helped spur his current career.

He and his wife have written Texas Chainsaw 3D.

The Bard — and Adam’s Players mentor Al Pia — would be proud.

Texas Chainsaw 3D

“Texas Chainsaw 3D” is not just a direct sequel to the 1974 classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It also massacred the competition this weekend. It made $10.2 on Friday — opening day — to blow past Django Unchained and, trailing those 2, The Hobbit and Les Mis.

Audiences loved it. Just as important to Adam, so did Tobe Hooper, the director of the original.

Though Adam has vast experience in the film industry — his romantic comedy So You Like This Girl won a student Best Picture award when he made it at NYU — Adam always credits Westport for his start.

And his inspiration.

For location, too. This Girl was shot here, with 200 background actors.

Adam Marcus (right) and his brother Kipp, in their Staples days.

Adam Marcus (right) and his brother Kipp, in their Staples days.

One of Adam’s best friends — from age 6 on — was Noel Cunningham. Noel’s father Sean is a famed producer/director, including Spring Break and Friday the 13th.

Sean helped Adam break into Hollywood. At 23, he became the youngest director New Line ever hired. The project was Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.

(The Hollywood Reporter, commenting on that 1993 2nd-place box office opening, headlined: “‘The Fugitive Wins; Rest of Box Office Goes To Hell.”)

Adam directed the 1999 film Let It Snow, and shot it in Westport. His brother Kipp Marcus wrote it. And it starred Bernadette Peters, who came out of a long retirement for it.

Adam and Kipp collaborated on many TV writing projects, working with big names like Ron Howard. Adam and his wife Debra Sullivan — they celebrate their 20th anniversary next month — also worked together often. Their credits include Conspiracy, starring Val Kilmer.

Debra Sullivan and Adam Marcus.

Debra Sullivan and Adam Marcus.

Adam and Debra’s next project — The Plantation, a remake of the 1943 cult classic I Walked With a Zombie — begins production in April.

Clearly, horror films are in Adam’s, um, blood.

“In this day and age, when everyone has a huge TV and surround sound, there has to be a reason to go to the theater,” he says.

“Horror and comedy are the 2 genres that you need to watch in a group.”

At Friday’s night’s opening, he notes, “the entire audience was screaming together. You can’t get that experience at home.”

Adam Marcus, with friends and admirers celebrate the opening night of "Texas Chainsaw 3D" at LA's Grove Theater.

Adam Marcus (bottom row, 3rd from left), with friends and admirers celebrate the opening night of “Texas Chainsaw 3D” at LA’s Grove Theater.

That concept of the importance of the audience comes directly from Players director Al Pia, Adam says.

And it was at Staples, Adam adds, that he learned so much about drama, theater and writing.

Gratefully, he says, “I’ve never had to work a day in another profession. I owe it all to Westport.”

But make no mistake: Hollywood is hard work. In the midst of The Plantation, Adam is already looking ahead to the project that follows.

It’s a remake of “The Pied Piper.”

Standing in for Hamelin will be: Westport.

24 responses to “Adam Marcus Chainsaws The Competition

  1. Sank T. Monious

    I haven’t seen the first chainsaw movie or this one and I have no ill will towards a Staples classmate who has found another way to be successful. But something is very much out of whack when on the heels of weekly multi-victim violence across the country whether by chainsaw, AR-15 or simply words on Dan’s blog, that this is what packs them in.

    • So you prefer they not show any violent movies when a tragedy occurs? Where was your rage when Django opened only a week after the Newtown shooting?

      • I think you know the answer to your question.

      • Sank T. Monious

        You ARE a fleabrain WC. Tinseltown can put out all the garbage they want and they only do it because cretins(like you) pay dearly to see them.

        • So then you were opposed to Django Unchained, right?

          • Sank T. Monious

            I haven’t seen Django. Have you? Most of Quentin’s movies have been pretty good for nothing if not for the dialogue. From what I’ve heard about Django he’s transplanted the plot and cast of Inglourious Basterds to the antebellum South. To your earlier point, I don’t think the movie makers are the problem. I think the people that watch them are. I think that for a movie dealing with chainsaw massacres to blow out all attendance records on the heels of serial mass murders says more about the audience’s taste than it does about the movie makers’. The movie makers will do what sells and will stop doing what doesn’t. That’s just my opinion. However, if you tell me that you think Django sucked I’ll definitely go see it. I was probably going to see it anyway. Pulp Fiction is one of my all-time favorites. What did you think of that?

            • I have not seen any of the movies, and I do not plan to (including this one). I just think your argument is so ridiculous and “holier than thou.”

              Give me a break. People look to escape.. even if it’s in an ugly way. Who are you to judge what the free market supports? That is capitalism. If people want to spend money to see a chainsaw murderer, good for them. Whatever.

              Also, how do you figure movie makers aren’t at least partially responsible? They make the movies and, furthermore, are the commonly identified as a source of inspiring many of the real life tragedies. So just think about that.

              • Sank T. Monious

                WC, You call me holier than thou but you’re the one that does all the preaching. All I said was that it was ironic (my opinion, not claiming to be the truth) that at the same time we seem to have a slaughterhouse (and they’ve been running almost one per week lately or haven’t you noticed) in our daily lives, we just can’t seem to pack ’em in tight enough to fantasy violence at the movies. I used to love to go to movies but its not escapism any more. Now if you don’t think that’s ironic then you’ve made my point about you being brain-dead without any effort necessary on my part. I never said that movie makers weren’t partially responsible but I did say that if the people didn’t go, they wouldn’t make them. I suppose you could debate chicken or the egg over whether or not the movies inspire the violence or the violence inspires the movies. So what? Does it really make any difference? I’d love to sit down with you, buy you a cup of coffee and just examine the pathology of your brain. I hope you’ll will it to science after you’ve gone.

  2. “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

  3. Eddie Wilder

    LOVE ADAM MARCUS!!!!! I rememeber mixing blood in the sink and filling “Squibs” for the best home made horror movies ever! Brians Backyard with Cranner attached to blood bags and fish hooks!!!!! Peace, Love and Adam Marcus!!!!!!!

  4. I saw either Adam or Kipp in Stalag 17 when I was in 5th grade. It was awesome. Imagine a play that takes place on one set in a high school auditorium having such an impact on me that I remember it 30 years later. It’s great that he’s having so much success doing what he loves.

  5. Sank T. Monious

    For the record, I never said that Adam Marcus wasn’t talented or that he didn’t understand the tastes of his audience. I just said that it was ironic (to me if not to anyone else) that at the same time we’ve got people massacreing students in Newtown, West Virginia, Arizona, Colorado and just about every other city in America that we can’t get in to the movies to see artificial violence fast enough. I guess that’s what the shrinks mean by “compartmentalization.”

  6. More Hollywood garbage !!

  7. Sank T. Monious

    I love Dan but truth be told he would eat a can of shit sight unseen if it was made by a Staples grad. He is loyal to a fault.

    • Wow. You are incredibly obnoxious. Give it up, man. Seems like you hold bitter resentment towards Adam — did he throw you in a locker back in high school?

      • Sank T. Monious

        Jim, this was my original comment:

        “I haven’t seen the first chainsaw movie or this one and I have no ill will towards a Staples classmate who has found another way to be successful. But something is very much out of whack when on the heels of weekly multi-victim violence across the country whether by chainsaw, AR-15 or simply words on Dan’s blog, that this is what packs them in.

        From where do you get what you just said?

        • I was not respond to your “original” comment. I was responding to the comment that is above. You know, the one that I specifically responded to. At 9:56 am. Duh?

          • Sank T. Monious

            The facts are what they are. Dan is well-known for endorsing anything that comes out of Staples. I wasn’t criticizing Adam, Dan or anyone else just noting sardonically that a chainsaw movie was packing people in who at the same time are appalled at the current violence. It’s a commentary on this country that big bucks are made either by selling weapons or selling movies that show what weapons can do. I suppose we could argue that a weapons ban that excludes chainsaws won’t be effective and if memory serves me right Sandy Hook also has a wood chipper homicide in its past so let’s ban them too while we’re at it.

  8. This is disgusting violent porn that degrades women. To be celebrated as art originating from Wesport is… unbeleivable.
    We should be against this as a community.

    • Staples grads can do no wrong; that is part of why Westport is so special. Didn’t you get the memo?