Samuel Marshall “Sam” Raimi (October 23, 1959) is an American film director, producer, actor and writer. He is best known for directing cult horror films like the ‘Evil Dead series’, Darkman’ and ‘Drag Me to Hell’, as well as the blockbuster ‘Spider-Man’ films and the producer of the successful TV series ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’, Xena: Warrior Princess’, ‘Legend of the Seeker’ and ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’.
Raimi became fascinated with making films when his father brought a movie camera home one day and he began to make Super 8 movies with childhood friend Bruce Campbell. In college, he teamed up with his brother’s roommate Robert Tapert and Campbell to shoot ‘Within the Woods’ (1978), a 32-minute horror film which raised $375,000, as well as the short comedic film ‘It’s Murder!’. Through family, friends, and a network of investors Raimi was able to finance production of the highly successful horror film ‘The Evil Dead’ (1981) which became a cult hit and effectively launched Raimi’s career. He began work on his second film ‘Crimewave’ (1985), intended as a live-action comic-book, the film was not successful, due in part to unwanted studio intervention.
Raimi returned to the horror genre with the seminal ‘Evil Dead II’ (which added slapstick humor to the over the top horror, showcasing his love of the Three Stooges). With his brother Ivan Raimi (and crediting himself as Celia Abrams), Sam Raimi also wrote ‘Easy Wheels’ (1989), a parody of the Outlaw biker film genre. A long-time comic book buff, he then attempted to adapt “The Shadow” into a movie, but was unable to secure the rights, so he created his own super-hero, ‘Darkman’ (1990). The film was his first major studio picture, and was only moderately successful, but he was still able to secure funding for Evil Dead III which was retitled ‘Army of Darkness’, which turned away almost totally from horror, with the exception of a few memorable scenes, in favor of fantasy and comedy elements. Army of Darkness was a box office flop, yet on video became a cult classic, Army of Darkness was the final movie in the Evil Dead trilogy.
In the 1990s Raimi moved into other genres, directing such films as the western ‘The Quick and the Dead’ (1995) starring Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman, the critically acclaimed crime thriller ‘A Simple Plan’ (1998) starring Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton, the romantic drama ‘For the Love of the Game’ (1999) starring Kevin Costner and the suspense thriller ‘The Gift’ (2000) with Kate Blanchett. Raimi then achieved great critical and commercial success with the blockbuster ‘Spider-Man’ (2002), which was adapted from the comic book series. The movie has grossed over $800 million worldwide, spawning two sequels: ‘Spider-Man 2’ (2004) and ‘Spider-Man 3’ (2007), both directed by Raimi and both grossing roughly $800 million each.
Raimi returned to the horror genre with Drag Me to Hell is a 2009 American horror film, directed by Raimi, with a screenplay by Sam and Ivan Raimi. The plot focuses on loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), who tries to impress her boss by refusing to extend a loan to a gypsy woman by the name of Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver). In retaliation, Ganush places a curse on Christine that, after three days of escalating torment, will plunge her into the depths of Hell to burn for eternity. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was released to wide critical acclaim. It was also a box office success, making $90.8 million worldwide on a $30 million budget. Drag Me to Hell also won the award for Best Horror Film at the 2009 Scream Awards and the 2010 Saturn Awards.
Raimi is currently directing ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’, a prequel to ‘The Wizard of Oz’, which will be released in 2013 by Walt Disney Pictures.