The Evil Dead trilogy is one of the most popular and influential collection of cult classics in film history. Directed by Sam Raimi, whose credits include Drag Me to Hell, the Spiderman movies, A Simple Plan, The Quick and the Dead, and Darkman, the Evil Dead films skillfully showcased the combined elements of grueling horror and slapstick humor. These qualities have ensured the enduring success of these films with fans.
The road to Evil Dead began in 1978 when Raimi and his college buddies decided they wanted to make a horror film. They needed money so Sam wrote the script for a short film to convince investors called Within the Woods. Sam Raimi with the help of Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert were able to raise $1,600 to fund the project. Within the Woods would feature actors Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, and Scott Spiegal as well the special effects work of the very talented artist Tom Sullivan. Within the Woods was enough to convince wary investors to put up money for Evil Dead.
After raising nearly $90,000, in the fall of 1979 Sam Raimi with a cast and crew of 37 people shot Evil Dead at an abandoned cabin in the mountains near Morristown, Tennessee. The experience was grueling but taught the young filmmakers a lot about filmmaking. The Evil Dead later lived up to its billing as “The Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror,” as it featured shocking scenes of terror and bodily dismemberments. Despite the hype, the film opened to mediocre success in the US, but managed to achieve cult status in Europe and the UK.
Over the next few years, the first Evil Dead became successful enough as an underground hit to warrant a sequel, and in 1986 Raimi and his friends reunited to make Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. The film featured the return of Bruce Campbell to reprise his role as “Ash”. The film had a much bigger budget as well as featured special effects of Tom Sullivan and KNB F/X Group. Sam Raimi, being a huge Three Stooges fan decided to add some slapstick humor to Evil Dead 2. The film became less scary than its predecessor, but more entertaining. This is showcased in the film’s most famous scene, where Ashís hand is possessed by evil and after it gives him a brutal beating he’s forced to lop it off with a chainsaw.
Six years later, Raimi and the Evil Dead crew came together a third time to finish the trilogy with Army of Darkness. The film picks up right where Evil Dead 2 left off, with Ash being sucked back in time and landing in a time warped medieval kingdom. More a swashbuckling action comedy than a horror film, Army of Darkness is best known for Ash’s memorable one-liners such as “Hail to the king,” and “Give me some sugar, baby.”
Years after Army of Darkness, fans continue to want more. Bruce Campbell is always asked at conventions and during interviews if there will be an Evil Dead 4. His snarky answer was always no. In recent years though there have been rumors and eventually confirmed that Sam Raimi wants to make an Evil Dead 4. As to when, no one knows. Originally stated in an interview he would love to work on it after he finished working on the Spiderman movies, but that didn’t happen. Instead we got Drag Me to Hell which featured a lot of Evil Dead elements. After Sam Raimi walked away from Spiderman 4 there was a glimmer of hope but he went on to work on Oz, The Great and Powerful.
During this time news of a remake of the Evil Dead was in the works. Sam Raimi personally hand-picked a talented up and coming Uruguayan filmmaker named Fede Alvarez, known his independent film Panic Attack, to write and direct the remake. Fans initially complained about the idea of a remake along with news that Bruce Campbell was not going to reprise his role as Ash. Sam, Rob, and Bruce assured fans that would it would be the most terrifying film you will ever experience.
The remake premiered at the SXSW 2013 film festival to satisfied fans. During the film Q&A Fede Alvarez announced that he was already working on the script for a new Evil Dead 2. Sam Raimi also confirmed that he and his brother Ivan will be writing the script for Evil Dead 4 which actually will be Army of Darkness 2. Army of Darkness 2 will be continuation of the original while Fede Alvarez continues the new storyline for Evil Dead.