The verdict is in from SXSW, and all of you horror nerds can breathe a sigh of relief, because the remake of The Evil Dead is damned awesome, as reviewed by THR. They’re kinda spoiler heavy with their review but it’s pretty glowing and a good indication that every whiny little jerk who thought this was “raping” the franchise is a pedantic little baby who refuses to embrace change. While I won’t quote the THR review due to said spoilers, I can say it certainly does spell out the major touchstones of the film, showing that it’s very faithful to the original. While I know it’s a bit silly to go on saying that a remake of a cult classic could be “spoiled” by a review, the case is still so with the THR review, so be warned if you do check it out you’ll know plot details. Suffice to say the plot details are pretty much the same from the original, but the details and whatnot are there and could ruin some of the experience for fans looking to be surprised by what’s new or the same, or newbies who aren’t familiar with the classic Evil Dead experience.
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.
It’s no secret here at GB we’re fans of RoboCop. Something about the combination of humanity, steel, justice, and violence [in Detroit] that’s perfectly captured by RoboCop speaks to our heart of hearts. Which is what makes the following news pretty surprising, that unlike previously reported, Hugh Laurie will NOT be playing the villain of the remake. Taking his place is Michael Keaton, who I’m positive is a familiar name to all of you out there.
“Michael is the final addition to the amazing cast we have assembled for this film and it is so great to have the last puzzle piece in place. It is thrilling that everything has come together to bring this innovative new vision of RoboCop to life. We’ve got a great script, a great cast, some killer ED-209’s and I can’t wait to get Alex Murphy back on the streets,” said Padilha.
Now, I love Michael Keaton, and I’m positive he’ll do a great job, but the fact Hugh Laurie left before he even started isn’t a good sign. Actors leaving projects before they begin is almost never a good thing for pre-production. Along with that slightly disheartening blow, is a much greater one, hearing that apparently the studio behind Robocop is making things “Hell” for director Jose Padilha. According to his close friend and Director of City Of God, Fernando Meirelles, Padilha is having the stereotypical, Studio-Makes-Things-Impossibly-Difficult-For-Director woes.
Here’s Meirelles’ quote, translated from his native Portuguese:
“I talked to José Padilha for a week by phone. He will begin filming Robocop. He is saying that it is the worst experience. For every 10 ideas he has, 9 are cut. Whatever he wants, he has to fight. ‘This is hell here,’ he told me. ‘The film will be good, but I never suffered so much and do not want to do it again.’ He is bitter, but it’s a fighter.”
Out of every 10 ideas, 9 are cut? Ouch. That really sounds rough. To make things worse, the script was reviewed recently, and Drew McWeeny of Ain’t It Cool News posted a series of tweets describing some of the plot points and ideas behind the film, including the idea of “re-vamped” Robocop suits.
I’ll share this one detail. In the film, when Murphy is turned into Robocop 1.0, it’s described “a high-tech version of the ’80s suit.”
Then they show a focus group scene where criminals laugh at the design. “He looks like a toy from the ’80s!”
So they redesign him to look “meaner” as Robocop 2.0, who passes focus group approval.
So they not only make sure to include the original design, they also point out it’s dated and stupid. *facepalm*
Hold onto your sides for more hilarious “Robocop” details. They outsource his construction to China. #seriously
And we meet the ED-209s in the field in Iran, where they’re used to subdue suicide bombers. #ineedallthedrinksnow
Ahhh… now they just dropped Robocop 3.0 onto an Al Queda training camp to see what he does.
“He should be programmed to incapacitate in all scenarios.” “Agreed. Let’s keep him PG-13, Dr. Norton.” No. No. No. No.
By page 54, they are already onto Robocop 4.0, who looks like a “cop on steroids painted metallic blue.”
That… That whole thing sounds pretty awful, and really seems to be “borrowing” the idea of the Iron Man Mark 1/2/etc armor pretty heavily. I know the whole movie is supposed to be contemporary, and that’s not really the issue I have, but the thought of watching a scene of people in a focus group, talking shit about the classic, totally awesome ’80s RoboCop suit, seems really disingenuous and insulting to the RoboCop franchise in totality. Part of his appeal is his unique look, and to strip it down, or make it more streamlined or modern, would really leave a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
Plus, there’s this concept art floating around the web, which in all likely hood is fake…
It makes me cringe to look at, because it’s SO generic and boring. This is what the nameless villains in any random dystopian movie should be wearing, NOT RoboCop. I know it’s just a concept art, but if this is the direction the studio is steering Padilha towards, I wouldn’t be surprised to have to be writing a report about his leaving the project in a month or two. Hopefully all of this negativity is for naught, and we’ll end up with a great movie out of it, but so far, things aren’t spelling out an easy beginning.
You may or may not be aware, but Hellraiser, one of Dimension’s classic horror franchises, has kinda been stuck in direct to DVD/production hell (sorry), for quite a while now.
While the 8th movie, Hellraiser: Hellworld seemed to finally put the nail in the coffin of the series, an attempt at a remake/reboot has been underway for years now. Initially the film was helmed by Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury, who were best known for ‘Inside’, but they departed from the project. It picked up steam again, when Pascal Laugier, who is most well known for his unflinchingly brutal ‘Martyrs’, a film that will deeply affect even the most jaded horror-hound set his sights on the film. It seemed like it was headed to being fast tracked, but he then left the project entirely as well. Then yet another team of directors picked up the project, Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer, but the studio wanted them to make it a watered down PG-13 affair, and goddamned HELLraiser should be anything but PG-13, as Lussier and Farmer expressed.
via [Empire Online]
“We developed several versions for Dimension, but in the end we never saw eye to eye,” says Lussier. “The current story is extremely different from the story we pitched. It’s changed dramatically since we started, and it will probably change a lot more before it’s all over. Originally what they wanted was epic and dark, rated R. It was in our contract. So… if we do Hellraiser, it’s rated R; if they want to do PG-13 then they have to get rid of us.”
So thankfully we were spared some horrific PG-13 Hellraiser abomination, but this has again, unfortunately left the entire project on the back-back-back burner, destined to become whatever the celluloid version of Vaporware is. What am I getting at then? Well while the project does seem doomed, little tidbits here and there sprinkle out from the production being done, like the infamous “New Pinhead”, pictured below:
But more interestingly, and hopefully, there’s the recently released early concept art, for…. some version of Hellraiser, at some point of production, indicating just how much the conceptual team truly got what Hellraiser should be.
“In July Paul Gerrard and Mike Le Han produced a teaser trailer to accompany the pitch document which has many more conceptual designs that revision Hellraiser. Paul designed the new look for Pinhead and was production designer on the shoot and Le Han pulled in all of his film resources and directed the teaser on the new Alex 4:3 camera with anamorphic lenses.
With a crew of 47 an over 100 bloodied extras, the shoot was completed and is now in the depths of post production with a massive amount of VFX work being undertaken. Method Studios, Fugitive Studios and Flipbook Animation are helming the chi/VFX with the talented Glen Southern designing the new Hellraiser box.
When the teaser is complete they’ll be presenting it to Dimension Films along with an outline of the first film story and conceptual art pitch document with the hope to work on rebooting the Hell raiser franchise and bringing it into the 21st Century.”
That art is amazing. Some of it looks like a re-imagination of the Hell we saw in Hellbound: Hellraiser 2, which in my opinion, is the best of the series. Even concept art like this is something I’m chomping at the bit to see, because the Hellraiser franchise is one that is just begging to be brought back to life, with a creative mind behind it to explore all the brilliant ideas put out by the first two films. Hopefully, someone will pick it up soon, and make it happen for real this time.
You heard me, Ryan Reynolds has been cast as Connor Macleod in the Highlander remake. For many, apparently this is a bad thing, but I’ve always had a history of loving Ryan Reynolds, and I always look forward to seeing
his abs him in anything I watch. I think he’s a perfectly fine actor, and has comedic chops, which I’d argue are the same set of skills you need to act well in drama.
While other details about the film have yet to surface, like who will be playing Juan Villalobos-Ramirez, the immortal Spanish-Egyptian-Scotsman, or The Kurgan, I’m positive those details will come soon, and at the very least, will be interesting. I’m happy the movie is being remade, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they handle the concepts of The Prize, The Gathering, and brutal decapitations being a main plot point. The only way they could screw this up, would be by trying to somehow have covers of Queen as the soundtrack. Either license the original soundtrack entirely, or get a totally new composer to write a new score. Queen or bust.
As many of you probably know, Highlander is the quintessential cult movie favorite. An argument could be made that in a way, it was the reverse Firefly of its time. It started out as a fantasy film that was clearly only meant to be one movie, but showcased a world and mythology so evocative and thought-provoking, people just had to go and make a sequel and screw it up by making them aliens. That then led to further sequels that retconned that detail, and a directors cut that tried to redeem that inane writing decision, and ultimately led to the franchise getting its own series, that built its own intricate mythology that contradicted the movies canon, and led to yet another movie sequel, that confusingly attempted to bridge the two sets of continuity in a way that left everyone feeling awkward. Being a Highlander fan has always been difficult because of this, and the thoughts of any more sequels generally brings a headache as we all try to retrofit everything into the tangled web of sub-continuity and pseudo-explanations for concepts such as The Watchers, or just what the hell The Prize is in the first place.
Thankfully, someone in Hollywood saw the franchise, realized another sequel was a lousy idea, and took it to its obvious and necessary conclusion: REMAKE TIME BABY! Remakes are trendy now sure, but there is a place for them. Some movies get so clustered with badness that a remake/reboot is the only way to give a franchise some new lifeblood (Batman), and others are genuinely good retellings of a story that takes it in a new and exciting direction (1982’s The Thing), while others are more akin to re-adaptations of the source material it came from (2012’s Total Recall). So it stands to reason that Highlander lies somewhere in between the reboot/new exciting direction remake clause, and while many of my colleagues here at Grizzlybomb have lamented the decision to cast him, I’m Pro-Ryan Reynolds in this remake.
Also can you imagine Ryan Reynolds trying on a scottish accent? AMAZING.
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.
The fall of our economy has been hard on everyone, including Hollywood, California, that magical place where even the litter is diamond-encrusted. It’s hard to believe, but big-budget studios have taken a pretty noticeable hit in recent years, and revenue continues to fall each year. It always helps to look for the good in bad situations and that’s just what this story is all about.
It looks like Warner Bros. has hit the brakes on Jaume Collet-Serra‘s upcoming adaptation of Akira while they make one last negotiation to work out the on-going budgetary and casting issues that have been plaguing production from the start. The Hollywood Reporter says that a call has been made requesting that the entire crew and production crew drop everything they’re working on until further notice. As one insider put it, “everyone has been sent home.”
This would be great news for Akira fans like myself. I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m not a fan of the way the remake was going. Besides some questionable casting decisions and storyline changes, Akira just doesn’t seem like it’s doable in live-action; anime, as you probably know, can go to some pretty wild places from time to time and Akira‘s subject matter requires an extensively realized cyber-punk world. I imagine lowering the budget would make this challenge even more difficult.
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.