To anyone that is “in the loop” per se when it comes to internet gossip and cult movies it will come as no surprise when I tell you that Sam Raimi is remaking his cult sensation “Evil Dead”
The lifeblood of this series really consists of two men, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. For todays movie buffs there is no introduction needed. Sam Raimi was behind one of the biggest comic book movie franchises (even if it died with its third installment) and Bruce Campbell is, in my opinion, the biggest B list actor that ever lived.
To give a little background into this series we need to go back to the late 70’s. A young Sam Raimi just finished two small time films, the second being “Within The Woods.” Wikipedia hails this as a “prototype” for what would become Evil Dead.
“Within The Woods” was completed in 1979 as a film short, and in 1981 Evil Dead was born.
I am not going to lie, I have watched the original Evil Dead but that was a very long time ago and truthfully my main memories are of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. It really doesn’t help that you really don’t need to see the original to jump right in to Evil Dead 2. It’s a very strange beginning to a franchise. It is called Evil Dead 2, and it is the second part of the “trilogy” however it acts more like a reboot than a sequel.
The original is worth a watch if for nothing else but to see the early work of Raimi, and to get a feel for the origins of the series… if this does not interest you I swear I will not pass judgement on anyone who skips right to part two.
The basic story revolves Ashley Williams played by Bruce Campbell as he battles demonic forces unleashed from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (Book Of The Dead.) Depending on which one your watching you’ll see Ash already in the cabin going insane, or just arriving there with a few friends, either way the end result is the same.
I don’t want to spoil a lot of the plot here because really if you haven’t seen it I think you should go check it out, and if you have seen it then why would I go into details you are already know. So instead I’m just going to talk about the franchise as a whole.
Evil Dead is a franchise that really benefited from the birth of the internet community. It’s cult status has grown to incredible lengths thanks to the ease of people to share information and files with each other. Evil Dead 2 has become one of the must-see movies of the Halloween season.
The series has grown and branched out into so many other mediums. Evil Dead merchandise can be found at almost any hobby shop you go to, especially that figure of Ash with his patented chainsaw and “boom-stick” (Shotgun). One of my favorite episodes of the tv show Reboot is when the Enzo and the gang enter a game where the user (antagonist) is a blatant homage to Ash from Evil Dead. The only line you hear from this character is “Groovy” which is now a staple to the Ash character even though I believe he only said it once.
Evil Dead is by far one of the best and earliest examples of a movie blending the horror and comedy genre together. Most times when a director attempts this we end up with a product lacking in one department, either it’s pretty creepy and the humor feels out of place… or it becomes so funny you forget you’re watching a horror movie. In Evil Dead, Raimi hit that perfect balance.
The comedic parts will have you in stitches but you never really get to shake the feeling of hopelessness and dread. Although you’re already to have a few laughs, you never really lose touch with the idea that these people are trapped in a cabin, unable to escape or call for help, and there’s untold evil trying to corrupt and kill them.
This especially applies for Evil Dead 2. The original Evil Dead was funny, but in an unintentional way. The laughs were more of a result of the campiness of the material and the low-budget. Sam clued in to what his audience enjoyed about the first and made all those aspects bigger, better, and more prominent making Evil Dead 2 the humorous thrill ride that it is.
To sum all this up, I’ll just say.
Go See Evil Dead!!
Of course this whole post was brought about by the emergence of the official trailer for the new Evil Dead remake. I haven’t seen it in high quality yet but there was a boot leg released last week and I did catch a gander at it. It’s been over a week since I watched the trailer and I STILL do not quite know how I feel about it.
If I had to summarize it into a single statement I think my esteemed colleague Manny said it best, when talking about the trailer his post on Facebook stated, “unsure of what to think…however without knowing this as evil dead, it looks great.”
I think that hits it right on the head. If you put Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi in the production chair and get them to make a horror movie that takes place in a cabin I will tip my hat to you sir and say you’ve done the right thing. This is Raimi’s baby, the very title that helped secure him a nice cushy spot within the respected of the Hollywood scene.
I think if the title was not Evil Dead, I would’ve instantly been on board and the trailer is enough to get excited over. It looks like a solid horror movie and let’s face it.. if there’s one thing I hope to have portrayed to all the non-horror fans of the group is that this genre is in trouble.
There’s only so many Chernobyl Diaries that I can see before I need a Cabin in the Woods (Which Joss Whedon even said drew heavily on the influence of Evil Dead.)
This being said I think that because it IS an Evil Dead movie it is destined to garner much more attention than if it was some generically named new horror movie. It doesn’t have Ash in it which in terms of remakes that would be like remaking Nightmare on Elm Street without Freddy Kruegar, or Friday The 13th without Jason… it’s a bold move.
Only the Necronomicon and the cabin itself will tie this movie to the franchise enough to call it a reboot. It’s a new cast of a characters and I’m sure a more contemporary spin. If ANYONE can kick start the horror genre again it is the duo of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. I guess I can even look past the fact that it doesn’t have Ash, at least Campbell is involved in the production so hopefully his influence can come through in the new actors.
I really hope they have done away with the comedic aspect of the story, if this movie is played as a straight up horror movie I am definitely going to be disappointed. There also MUST be a tree-raping scene.. I don’t care how they make it fit, it just has to happen.