There’s a lot of ballyhoo about Evil Dead recently, specifically because of the remake. A common comment made in regard to it is that Ash IS Evil Dead, and that an Evil Dead film without him, would be a bad thing. Technically, they are correct. It’s impossible to imagine the Evil Dead trilogy without Ash in tow, spitting wisecracks, blasting away deadites with his boomstick, and let’s not forget that amazing chainsaw hand. While the remake doesn’t feature Ash, in a way it would be disrespectful to try to have him in the film in the first place. Unlike the film itself, which can exist outside of Ash, (Evil Dead 1 is a prime example of a movie that doesn’t really “have” Ash in it), Ash cannot exist outside of Bruce Campbell.
I’ve been a fan of Evil Dead ever since I first saw it when I was 10, and like the lot of Evil Dead fans, considered it pretty sacrilegious to even entertain the idea of a remake. That of course, goes with the caveat that some studio would cheaply acquire the rights, churn out some lamesauce snooze-fest, and call it a day. Well when times pass and all of the original creators of Evil Dead are all rallying behind the remake, have hand-picked the talent behind it, and are producing it themselves, as well as literally assuring fans it’s gonna be good, then you should take that as a sign to stop being such a cynic and get pumped for gory fun. If that wasn’t enough, the trailer has just arrived, and boy howdy is it a doozy.
If watching that trailer doesn’t reassure you that it’s going to be amazing, I don’t know what will. I’ve seen plenty of folks online react to this thing in a dozen different ways, and it’s like they’re watching a different trailer than I am. Maddeningly someone online even said that it seems “so different it might as well not even be called Evil Dead”, which confuses me more than Integral Calculus, and I don’t even know what that IS. How you could look at this movie and think it’s not Evil Dead boggles my mind, because it’s the perfect encapsulation of what a modern update of Evil Dead would and should be.
I think people forget that Evil Dead was originally meant to be the most over the top, bloody, gory hellride it could possibly be, where a group of teens go to a cabin, and terrible, horrible things happen to all of them, resulting in their incredibly gruesome deaths. People also seem to mash-up the idea of Evil Dead, and the character of Ash, being irreplaceable, forgetting that it wasn’t until Evil Dead 2 where Ash became “Ash”. In Evil Dead 1, he was just some no name pansy, who couldn’t even get up to save his life when a few planks of wood fell on top of him. To say that there’s no Evil Dead without Ash, is to group all of the movies together, and ignore what the spirit of EVIL DEAD is about, which is creatively shot, balls out gory death and dismemberment. It’s the Ultimate Experience In Grueling Horror, remember?
For it’s time, Evil Dead was just that. Hell, anyone who’s read If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell knows one of the working titles was Blood Flood. Blood Flood! It really only makes sense that a new version would push the boundaries of taste, and go right for shock and terror as hard as possible, because audiences today are so desensitized. Of course the movie looks like a torture porn snuff film anti-horror buzzword-of-the-day, because the original was! I think many have forgotten that the original was supposed to actually be scary, rather than the campy piece of schlocky fun it’s viewed through today’s modern eyes. If seeing this trailer doesn’t excite, shock, or disgust you, then you’re already dead man. Either that or you just don’t like good things, in which case, don’t talk to me about horror movies, or how you’re a “real Evil Dead fan”. You can go sit in the other room while I watch this trailer again.
Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d type: I cannot WAIT for The Evil Dead Remake to come out. As we’ve previously reported, the movie certainly seems to be wrapping up all the awesome into one big, bloody bag for us Evil Dead fans. Some of those lucky as hell fans over at NYCC were treated to a full on trailer for the film itself! Unfortunately, as is the case with most Comic Convention rules for exclusives and whatnot, we can’t apprehend a full trailer to share with all of you, but we have the next best thing! A description of the full trailer, and a little bootleg teaser I managed to scramble up from YouTube. Firstly, here’s the description of the full trailer:
“Alvarez presents a washed-out palette that is simultaneously vibrant in its dark splendor. We got the basic setup of the film (kids going to a remote cabin so one of them can get back on good mental footing – only to stumble on a cursed book of the dead), and then we were treated to an intense sizzle reel trailer comprised of various horror/gore sequences – including PLENTY of homages to iconic moments from the franchise’s past. A few standout images were deadly vines, mechanized saws (of humorously varying sizes and types) being used in gross self-mutilation, the book of the dead, new designs for the actual evil dead creatures – and a climatic sequence where a possessed girl licks a jagged blade so hard it splits her tongue in half. Sick.”
The guy then goes on to describe in tantalizingly short detail, a seemingly awesome sound panel I wish I had been at to have seen. Oh wait a minute… I CAN! Thanks YouTube!
Here’s a description of some highlights:
- Campbell joked about doing the remake because, sometimes, “As middle-aged actors you realize that maybe it’s too late to strap on that chainsaw again.” He touts the filmmaking crew – approved by himself and Sam Riami – and claims that star Jane Levy is officially crowned the new Ash: “I’ll put that crown on her f–king head myself!”
- Fede Alvarez talks about Sam Raimi coming out of the blue over Skype and asking him to do the remake. He added that you don’t say no to a request like that (no matter how daunting) – you say, “F–k yeah!” He saw Evil Dead when he was 12, and wanted to recreate the same terrifying experience he went through.
- Jane Levy described auditioning as “the female Ash,” and having Bruce Campbell ask her all these scary questions afterward, like, “Do you know what it feels like to be buried alive?” or “Have you ever had tubes shoved down your throat so you can projectile vomit?” Campbell and Fede joked (we think) about putting Jane through the hard motions – with a little bawdy humor thrown in for (good?) measure.
- Bruce Campbell joked about not needing Easter eggs homages in the remake just to appease nerds. He described the movie experience to being like putting on a familiar-fitting shoe – only, you know, Evil Dead style (read: twisted, gross, nuts and a little bit funny).
- Audience members loved the footage. One described it as the sickest trailer he’d ever seen. Seeing the polished footage for the first time legitimately frightened star Jane Levy, who sat somewhat stunned for the Q&A.
- Bruce Campbell was shouted-out for his reoccurring cameos in Raimi’sSpider-Man trilogy; he pointed out that in Spider-Man 2, as the snooty usher, he prevented Peter Parker from attending MJ’s big performance – ergo making him ‘the only character who has successfully defeated Spider-Man.’ Cue audience laughter.
- Campbell was asked who’s smoother: Sam (from Burn Notice) or Ash: “Sam would win, but Ash would cheat.”
- Campbell explains Diablo Cody’s (Juno) involvement as Evil Dead co-writer: “We don’t know how young people talk – and she won a f–king Academy Award!” Perez said he got Cody because he wanted snappy dialogue to liven up the script. Campbell added (more seriously) that having Cody write for a female protagonist was a big bonus.
- Jane Levy pointed out that, while her name in the film is “Mia,” and not Ash, there is a hidden game in the names of the characters, as they form an amusing anagram that fans can decipher for themselves.
- After one fan pointed out that Campbell doesn’t get enough credit for Burn Notice, he personally approached the front of the stage and awarded her five dollars. He had history with this particular fan: the last time he met her, she burst into uncontrollable tears right in front of him. She was a little more composed this time around.
- Campbell says that while he doesn’t cameo, he’s in every frame of the film “in spirit.” He ended saying that he’s convinced Sam Raimi will keep fighting to make another (with Campbell in it) even until his deathbed days. His exit was as celebrated as his entrance.
Holy crap, what an excellent first image to be released! Creepy as hell.
You know, I try to think back of the time when I did think that the entire concept of an Evil Dead remake was an inherently bad thing, but I find myself wondering why I ever did. Sure, it could have gone bad in a bunch of different ways, but if there’s anything I have to thank those terrible Spider-Man movies for, it’s making Sam Raimi rich. Because it gave him the clout and the power to control and direct his franchises the way he wants, rather than some putrid company looking to exploit an established IP ala Friday The 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street, etc. I can honestly say that this is a film I’m very excited to not only see, but buy the dvd/blu-ray of, because you KNOW it’ll be packed with excellent extras, and possibly even commentary from Bruce Campbell himself. The original Evil Dead and its sequels hold a firm place in my heart, and this new movie looks to sit right next to it there, just waiting to become another in the pantheon of films made to be part of a drinking game.
Oh and one more thing, here’s that teaser trailer I found. You didn’t think I forgot did you? I know, I know, it says FAKE right on it but just watch it. It’s not.
Just that teaser is HOLY AMAZE-BALLS awesome, and the thought that the full on trailer could blow it away, just makes me all the more excited to finally see the flick. April 2013 can’t come soon enough!
I just uh… really really like this picture.
Remakes, reboots and re-imaginings are certainly the hot to trot thing in recent times. I think I can count on one hand the amount of successful, entirely original films that have come out in the past few years. However, that’s not to say that reboots, or remakes can never be good. Just look towards the recent Dredd 3D as a prime example of a great reboot. On the whole though, most remakes are generally looked at with disdain. Horror fans are especially critical of remakes, as they generally all tend to be very passionate about the objects of their affection. Here lies the conundrum of The Evil Dead remake, which was rounding up it’s cast when we previously reported on it.
For the fans of shlock and crappy horror movies all around, there is no bigger name in the biz than Bruce Campbell. To them the man is a veritable living god, but even hardcore Bruce Campbell fans would have a hard time placing Maniac Cop as one of his better films in his oeuvre. But in it’s own right, Maniac Cop, and it’s two sequels, are all very successful at what they set out to be. All of them are fun, sometimes gory, always entertaining films about a cop, who is also a maniac. Or a zombie. Or half-dead braindead guy who was revived and somehow gained super strength from that. I have a hard time remembering, because I’ve never watched the film sober.
Anyhow, the movie is one of those films that is undeniably cheesy, yet so memorable and enduring, that it manages to retain an audience years after its release. Which leads us to the headline news itself. While initially I thought Nicolas Winding Refn was remaking it, it turns out to be he’s producing a tentative prequel. Which I find a puzzling choice, since we had the identity and origin of the Maniac Cop explained in the original. Now nothing is definitely confirmed, nor is his actual status as director locked in yet, but the likelihood of him deciding to helm it as director is not out of line. Truth be told, I’m hoping he comes around to the idea of just remaking it, since it’s one of the few films I can name off the top of my head, that would really suit to being remade. (The other is Logans Run. Holy crap that would be awesome.)
Nicolas Winding Refn is certainly a very talented director, who since his Pusher trilogy, seems to be finding a niche by very successfully imitating other famous director’s stylistic storytelling, cinematography, and aesthetic design. Valhalla Rising was a modern Ingmar Bergman film to its core, Bronson was a Kubrickian attempt at a bio-pic, and last year’s Drive was a breakout Michael Mann-esque, 80’s action movie through an urban noir filter. If there was anybody who could take a source material as cheesy and borderline laughable as Maniac Cop, and make it GOLD, it’d be Refn. He’s one of the few people to make Los Angeles look new again as he did in Drive, and I’d be very interested to see his take on giving new life to the streets of New York. Factor in the fact that he could pull off the whole mystery subplot of the original Maniac Cop much more competently, and in Drive and Valhalla Rising he effectively pulled off visceral scenes of gore, he’d be pretty much the perfect guy to remake it, and have it actually be really good.
Even if it does turn out to still be a prequel, it’ll at least be interesting to tackle the same ideas the original came from, and have it expand the depth of the franchise, even if it’ll be wildly different in quality from the other three. In a good way, I mean.
Interesting news arrives as the cast from the remake of 1981’s The Evil Dead, is finally rounded up by Sam Raimi. Initially helming the project with himself in place as director, he has picked a new director, and finalized the cast, who will make up the unfortunate victims of the dark forces lurking in our favorite evil cabin in the woods. The cast themselves are young upstarts who have all had various small roles in television and a few movies, the most notable of which being Jane Levy, who some might know from ABC’s Suburgatory, and Jessica Lucas, who you’d recognize as ‘Lily’ from 2008’s Cloverfield. The original lead of the film, was going to be Lilly Collins of Priest and The Blind Side fame, but scheduling problems led to Jane Levy being given the role. Along with newly chosen first time director Fede Alvarez, the new Evil Dead won’t be lacking fresh blood. So to speak.
“I’m so excited. I’m a big fan of the original. To me it’s the scariest movie, ever. But this one is really different. They’ve changed it a lot, but it’s still a pretty gory movie. My mom probably can’t see it. I think the humor in the first one came from the special effects of the time. I don’t know that they meant it to be funny…This one is not funny. It’s definitely dark.”
Here’s a picture of the forest in New Zealand, that Fede Alvarez will be filming the movie in.
Furthermore Bruce Campbell himself has confirmed that the trees are making a return, which in my opinion, is the spirit of the film, figuratively and literally. If that doesn’t put you at rest, then I don’t know what will.
Now if you ask me, I don’t think a remake of Evil Dead is inherently a bad thing. Ash wasn’t “Ash” until Evil Dead 2, and his presence in the first isn’t needed like it is in the latter films, since in the first he is the archetypical “loser turns unexpected survivor”, which ends up dying at the end. Even in the final credits music in Evil Dead dies, as per the whims of Sam Raimi, who at the time, was dedicated to making as outlandish, creative and as over the top a horror film he could. It stands to reason, that this approach, given modern context, should be taken, and done with that same attitude again. Make it extra gory, have extra creative cinematography, and focus on really driving home how insanely over the top everything should be. The current director at helm is relatively unknown, he’s apparently only done a few shorts, but Sam Raimi typically has a good eye for talent, and I generally trust his judgment (Spider-Man 3 notwithstanding).
But if you really wanted to blow my socks off, you’d be getting Mark Neveldine and Bryan Taylor to direct. A few of you might already be loathing those names if you recognize them, but others need to be reminded they directed the superbly over the top Crank, and it’s even more hilariously awesome sequel, along with the Ghost Rider sequel, which brought some life and creative lunacy into the franchise. The guys know how to move the camera, they know how to subvert expectations, and they know how to make things fun, wild and unpredictable. I know not everybody favors their eclectic style of filmmaking, but it’s undeniably unique, which is exactly what Evil Dead should be. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a dream world, and we have to accept what we’re given. So to take the old adage, “Hope for the best, but expect the worst“, I think will be the most appropriate response for this version of The Evil Dead. If anything, it’ll be worth it just to see the” tree scene” re-imagined, and shown to a whole new generation of shocked viewers.
In other Evil Dead News, Evil Dead 4 is being made! Huzzah! Only it’s by other people, who have no previous connection with the franchise! Huzza-wait, WHAT?
Award Pictures is developing ‘Evil Dead 4: Consequences‘, claiming that the copyright hasn’t been used since the original 1981 film, and was in fact revoked by Raimi and Tapert in 2000, which is silly, and kind of a childish. “You’re not using it, so it’s mine now!” argument, that will most assuredly get settled in court. Sam Raimi is obviously pursuing legal action, as the film would infringe upon the copyright of the remake, along with other damages and legal mumbo jumbo. To be honest, his lawsuit seems pretty solid, as Award Pictures’ claim is weak at best, and frivolous at worst. Ultimately, this will be settled, as there’s almost no way this will stop the remake, and is far more likely to end up negatively for Award Pictures.
All in all, I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the remake, the “sequel” and any other Evil Dead related projects turn out, because more Evil Dead is always a good thing.
Welcome to Grizzly Dailies! A new feature where we will cover a bunch of movie news in the manner we love. Jam packing a ton of links and info in one post so you don’t have to waste your valuable time (and ours) by combing through a ton of articles!
Evil Dead was a movie that changed how I viewed movies. No longer was I bound by strict genre categories and high budget sensibilities. Evil Dead and its sequels proved that a horror movie can be funny, and a love story can be dramatic and filled with action all without a huge budget.
The trilogy is a pop culture phenom with a highly dedicated fanbase, and if you haven’t seen it, you’ve heard it quoted at some point in your life. When news dropped that it would be receiving a sequel/remake, fans were understandably concerned. Sure, we all wanted to see Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell return to the series that catapulted them to stardom (at least in my eyes), but only if done in the right way.
I have been a fan of Evil Dead since I was old enough to watch movies. The entire trilogy was a monumental part of my cinematic development, crafting my tastes and humor at an early age, and ultimatly instilling a deep love for anything related to Bruce Campbell.
Evil Dead was a very low budget extremely indie movie made by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Both have moved on to impressive careers and cult favorite status. It told the story of Ash, a young man who goes to a cabin in the woods with his friends, and is soon plagued by a night of evil. And hilarity. The second and third movies got even funnier, and nothing beats Evil Dead 2.