In 1981, Director Sam Raimi released his classic horror film, The Evil Dead. The world would never be the same. Well...not until around 1983, that is. The film was Raimi's first feature length and didn't get much attention until the help of author Stephen King. King had written a review of the film praising it for its gore and innovation. This, among other support, allowed Raimi to produce a sequel in 1987, which lead to a third film in 1992. But so many people wonder how and why these films achieved such cult fame.
|Unofficial Evil Dead poster as interpreted by Olly Moss|
|Sarah Berry vs. Geyser of Blood in Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn|
Many of these camera devices are talked about in Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell's autobiography, "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor". The book also contains diagrams to help visualize Raimi's many creations. On a side note, the autobiography is a great read. It's incredibly insightful and written with Campbell's charmingly funny voice. He explains the torture he endured both as a man and actor - mostly caused by Raimi - and his strange life as a cult hero. After reading it, you almost feel bad for the guy. But then you remember the sweet gig he's got on USA Network's hit TV show "Burn Notice" and think, "Oh yeah...he's doing alright." (Burn Notice reviewed here).
Aside from his unique camera work, Raimi also embraced the use of sound design. The more recent DVDs (and now Blu-rays) were released with remastered THX sound because frankly, without sound, The Evil Dead may not have been as provocative. And when it came time to produce Evil Dead II, he used the skills he mastered on the original to his advantage. If nothing else, these films (especially the first two) are prime examples of using sound for film (so film students: don't dismiss these so quickly).
Along with sound, Raimi took advantage of special effects, everything from make up and costume design, stop motion, animation, and animatronics. Raimi and his team didn't think in terms of what they had, they thought about how they could build things to help achieve his vision. The DVDs and Blurays of the trilogy offer many extras, several highlighting his special effects team. Raimi obviously loved his crew, and his admiration shines through in all the DVD extras. (And Bruce Campbell is an excellent DVD commentator, by the way. He keeps the information flowing and never allows for dead air.)
|Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi (circa 1980)|
|Bruce Campbell as "Ash" in Army of Darkness|
|L-R: Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Bruce Campbell, and Kassie Wesley DePaiva in Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn|
For more information visit the films' IMDb pages:
The Evil Dead
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn
Army of Darkness
TRIVIA: The Oldsmobile Delta 88 featured in the Evil Dead trilogy also appears in nearly all of Sam Raimi's films, including Spider-Man (2002).