Let’s just say up front, that I’m a big fan of how this group of guys made it into Hollywood. Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert, being the main 3 went out and raised money from family and friends then went out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere and shot the original Evil Dead. As a young filmmaker I loved the idea of just getting a bunch of my buddies together and shooting horror or action and just having a blast and then…poof, magically a movie is made, released and successful our careers are on jet boosters…
Now, with that said, I know that’s not exactly what happened. They had a struggle with every part of that movie, especially after it was shot and put into post and then trying to get it out to the public. And at some point after all the struggle, they probably wished they had a lot more money and time and support to go back and do the movie the way that they would have preferred, after the first experience and then guess what? They were given that EXACT opportunity and the second time around they decided to not make a sequel…really, but a remake…as a comedy, this time. And they did it and the result is Evil Dead 2: Dead Before Dawn…which is a BRILLIANT and INCREDIBLE movie. It’s so fun, scary, crazy and everything great.
So again, it’s successful and the audience grows and gets even bigger on Video, so a company comes to them again and they are given an opportunity to do a direct sequel this time, and what do they do? They go out and add 2 more genres! The original was straight horror. The second was horror, comedy. The third they added Science Fiction (time travel) and Fantasy (witches, magic, demons) to go along with the comedy and horror. And guess what? They end up calling it, Army of Darkness. It works again! It’s both BRILLIANT and INCREDIBLE! Fantastic in all ways and so, so, so much fun.
Now the first one, I love the “making of” story about kids making their first movie and by itself is a very scary movie, but not a top favorite of mine. But those other two, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, together is some great crazy film-making at it’s best. Films, I would add, that would NEVER be made today. Studios wouldn’t know how to categorize them and wouldn’t know how to market them in today’s system. But they are crazy good.
Who do we have to thank for the making of 2 and 3? None-other than Stephen King! He liked the original so much, that not only did he give a quote for the marketing of the film, which also helped to sell it, he also convinced Dino De Laurentis to finance the making of number 2. Now the only reason I’m calling this a remake (there’s been a debate rolling for years) is simply because they replay the entire first movie in the first 10 minutes of #2 and mainly because it is a deep departure in tone by adding a great deal of comedy in the second one.
Now a side note about the title of the 3rd movie…they didn’t want to name it Evil Dead 3 for some reason and toyed around with calling it Medieval Dead (which I like a lot actually) but ended up putting Army of Darkness on all the marketing and posters and stuff and in the movie itself has the title come up with…”Bruce Campbell vs.” and then another title card comes up with, “The Army of Darkness.” Why didn’t the posters call it Ash vs. The Army of Darkness? Great title and is another reason I’m so glad that the new Starz series is called Ash vs. Evil Dead. Ties it back in together and truthfully I’m still a big fan, the series is great fun and to be honest, they can still go into the realm of Science Fiction and Fantasy if and when the series really gets rolling, which I would totally embrace. Right now it’s straight comedy-horror, but the possibilities are endless. Let’s see what season 2 gives us.
As for my thoughts on season 1, there were some great moments and ASH was by far the best thing about the series. Bruce Campbell is a personal favorite of mine, my brother and I have met and spoken to the actor on 3 separate occasions and on each one, we walked away bigger fans of his than going in. He’s a really top-notch person in real life and drop-dead hilarious and fantastic with people. If he ran for president, I’m serious, he would give anyone a run for their money, he’s than engaging, down-to-earth and likable. He was everything you’d want in a 50 year old Ash and more, and I found the series to be a great extension to the whole Franchise. Thank you for making it guys and for keeping the fans happy, we all appreciate it!