Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “The Evil Dead

Ash Vs. Evil Dead

the-evil-dead-original-1981-posterThe Evil Dead movie franchise has officially crossed over to television with a 10-episode straight-to-series order from Starz for a 2015 premiere. Titled Ash Vs. Evil Dead, the followup to the classic film franchise reteams the original filmmakers, director Sam Raimi, longtime producing partner Rob Tapert and star Bruce Campbell
who will serve as executive producers. Campbell will be reprising his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.

Raimi will direct the first episode of Ash Vs. Evil Dead, which he co-wrote with his brother Ivan Raimi (Darkman) and Tom Spezialy (Chuck). “Evil Dead has always been a blast,” Raimi said. “Bruce, Rob, and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the next chapter in Ash’s lame, but heroic saga. With his chainsaw arm and his ‘boomstick,’ Ash is back to kick some monster butt. And brother, this time there’s a truckload of it.”

Ash Vs. Evil Dead also reunites Sam Raimi and Tapert with Starz where they executive produced the pay cable network’s first scripted hit, drama Spartacus. Ivan Raimi will co-executive produce the series, and Aaron Lam (Spartacus) will serve as producer.

Fans have been buzzing about an Evil Dead series since Sam Raimi announced at Comic-Con — where he and Campbell are hugely popular — that he was working on it. “I’m really excited to bring this series to the Evil Dead fans worldwide – it’s going to be everything they have been clamoring for: serious deadite ass-kicking and plenty of outrageous humor,” said Campbell.

The original Evil Dead film followed Ash and his friends who travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release demons intent on possessing the living. It was a hit, spawning a franchise that included two sequels directed by Raimi, produced by Talpert and starring Campbell, as well as video games and comic books. There was also a recent feature reboot produced by Raimi and Talpert and directed by Fede Alvarez.


The Last Of Us – Sam Raimi

the-last-of-us-remasteredSam Raimi was at comic-con with Neil Druckmann, creator of the Naughty Dog game The Last Of Us, to talk about how that PlayStation 3 survival horror action game is being turned into a feature with Raimi producing and Druckmann now writing the screenplay. Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper, whose previous big videogame-to-movie transfer was Resident Evil, basically has given over big creative controls to Druckmann in the movie transfer. That includes casting, and choice of director.

At this point, Hugh Jackman and Josh Brolin have been the consensus fan favorites to play the role of Joel, and the choice most heavily favored to play Ellie is Maisie Williams, the Game Of Thrones star who’s so sparked about this prospect that she would have shown up for today’s panel were she not waylaid by being part of an Entertainment Weekly cover shoot for Game Of Thrones.

Said Raimi: “It’s gonna be a great character journey, a great love story, and great horror fiction.” Raimi also took a moment to tease the prospect of more Evil Dead: “I always loved working on that series with Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert, and my brother and I are writing the Evil Dead TV show right now… with Bruce Campbell.” They even toyed with the idea of having Campbell be in the Last Of Us film adaptation, Campbell has been intertwined with Raimi since 1981′s The Evil Dead. That film, by the way, is a touchstone for Druckmann and the creatives behind the Naughty Dog vidgame empire.


Evil Dead 2 – Behind the Scenes

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LEGO Ash from Evil Dead

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Dr. Seuss – The Evil Dead

Dr. Seuss does The Evil Dead: I chained and locked the cellar door–There’s something strange beneath the floor. By DrFaustusAU. Check out his deviantART site HERE

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Within the Woods – Sam Raimi’s Horror Debut

Within the Woods_01Prior to making The Evil Dead, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and their friend and producing partner Robert Tapert, who also serves as a producer on the new Dead, were enterprising college students who had been making slapstick comedy shorts on Super 8 with a group of their close friends – including fellow filmmakers Scott Spiegel and Josh Becker – and looking forward to the day when they could become big shot Hollywood filmmakers. But they quickly discovered that in order to make their names known in the industry they would have to abandon their comfort zone of goofball hilarity and make an independently-financed feature in a more marketable genre. Based on the healthy box office profits made by movies like Night of the Living DeadThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween Raimi and company chose to make their motion picture debut a dark and violent horror film.

Within the Woods_02The only thing was, Raimi didn’t really care for horror movies, and neither did most of his friends and collaborators. But one of their big Super 8 comedy shorts, a mystery spoof titled It’s Murder, though it failed to find an audience on the college circuit, did have one sequence that made those who bothered to actually see it leap out of their seats: a scare scene where a person is attacked by a killer hiding in the back seat of their car. Inspired by this, Raimi hashed out a script by his university class fascinations with author H.P. Lovecraft and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, gathered up his usual gang of movie-making miscreants (many of whom would go on to work on the original Evil Dead), and on a particularly warm Spring in 1979 they all travelled out to a farm owned by Tapert’s family in Marshall, Michigan armed with a budget of $1,600 and the best filmmaking equipment their meager budget would allow to make the short feature that would ultimately lead to the launching of serious prosperous careers in cinema and television: Within the Woods.

Within the Woods_03Campbell was the natural choice to play the lead, a curious guy named Bruce whose wanton desecration of an Indian burial ground unleashes the dark forces of evil that turn him into a murderous ghoul. Ellen Sandweiss, a friend of the boys who had also appeared in many of their Super 8 shorts, played his girlfriend and the besieged heroine of Within the Woods, with Spiegel and Mary Valenti, a Tapert family friend, cast in supporting roles.

The plot of Within was roughly what the story for The Evil Dead would be, with a few differences. Within the Woods would also give Raimi the chance to evolve his filmmaking style into what it would become by the time he made his feature directorial debut, utilizing handheld camera techniques to evoke the feeling of the unseen evil lurking in the woods advancing on its victims at top speed.

Within the Woods_04Michael McWilliams, a film critic for the Detroit News, wrote a positive review of the short in which he stated that “it will probably never be advertised alongside the glossy, big-budget horror movies of our time, but you won’t easily forget a locally produced little film called Within the Woods”. McWilliams also wrote that Raimi’s microbudgeted little film easily contained more chills and thrills than more extravagant Hollywood fare like The Amityville Horror. Boosted by the enthusiastic response Raimi, Campbell, and Tapert set out to find investors willing to fund their first full-length movie, originally titled Book of the Dead, using Within the Woods as a visual aid in their presentations. In a matter of months they had amassed enough money to commence production, and they were off to a lonely cabin in the Tennessee woods with a cast and crew in tow. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Within the Woods has never been made commercially available on any of the myriad of Evil Dead DVD and Blu-ray releases most likely because of unspoken legal complications due to it’s use of pre-existing soundtracks from Hollywood movies and the degradation in print quality, though a re-scored and remastered copy was almost included as a bonus feature on a 2002 “Book of the Dead” edition of Dead distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment. However, it is widely available for viewing online in a variety of picture and sound qualities so you can watch the birth of a legacy of cinematic horror and witness several future filmmaking careers begin to take shape. Check it out…


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Evil Dead – Book of the Dead Pizza


The Evil Dead – Remake Poster Image

Here’s a sneak peek at the new Evil Dead remake poster… and the image from the original, they are similar, although the newer demon looks like she has been slightly remodelled on Regan from The Exorcist.

 


The Cabin in the Woods ****½

You should see Cabin in the Woods before you read this review; see it before seeing the trailer, which gives away far too much. The main problem of course is that it has been difficult for most people to see the movie at all. Bankrupt studios, lawyers, delayed release dates and a seemingly difficult movie to market; the Cabin in the Woods has had a troubled time over the last couple of years.

It beggars belief that this film hasn’t been championed by the studio or distributors, it was only due to an online campaign that we finally got to see it in the cinemas here in Australia, over a year late!

The premise is a seemingly simple one, five college students jump in a camper van and head out to distant cousins Cabin in the Woods, not an entirely unfamiliar scenario in the horror film genre. The students are Dana (Kristen Connelly), her best friend Jules (Anna Hutchison), Jules’ boyfriend Curt (Chris Hemsworth), his friend Holden (Jesse Williams) and stoner dropout Marty (Fran Kranz).

They are not your typical stereotypes, initially at least; however, their personalities change soon after they arrive at the cabin. A few beers and a game of ‘truth or dare’ lead them into the basement where they encounter a plethora of odd artifacts. What could possibly go wrong?

Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford), the two guys watching them on closed-circuit TV, and apparently manipulating their surroundings seem more than willing to ensure that a lot will go wrong for these kids…

To say anything more would only ruin the surprise and lessen the impact of what is so far the best movie of the year.

Written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the script is exceptional; it’s smart, fun and filled with tension. An obvious love and deep knowledge of the genre has been poured into almost every scene and it pays off for horror fans of all sub-genres. Filled with references to horror films of all eras, with a particular focus on the classic 80’s period, most notably The Evil Dead, this movie is destined to be a drinking game staple for years to come.

The script is filled with fantastic dialogue and some excellent jokes, all of which are delivered by a solid cast, with a special mention of Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford who are particularly good.

I was never a massive fan of Buffy or Firefly, however Whedon has surpassed those efforts this year with this film and some other super hero flick that has done quite well recently. Drew Goddard has done a great job bringing all the elements together, paying homage to many the films referenced.

As a horror film it’s not really very frightening and it loses it’s way slightly towards the end, however, as a horror-comedy, it’s up there with the very best. No spoilers here, if you like horror, see it at any cost, if you love horror you’ll want to own it as soon as possible.

Quality: 5 out of 5 stars

Any Good: 4 out of 5 stars (It would have been 5 with a few more scares)


Sam Raimi

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.


The Evil Dead – Poster Art

Some nice fan poster art for Sam Raimi’s legendary breakout hit, ‘The Evil Dead’. Enjoy.