I had a chat with Sam Raimi a while ago – and to Bruce Campbell a little while after that, and the thing that freaked me out was that they were always so sure that a new Evil Dead film would come out. I have to admit to being a bit shocked when Sam said he was gunning for a remake of his own film, but with a different director. Remake a classic? How could you?!
At the time he explained his reasons, which made sense – that essentially, whilst Evil Dead was a cult hit, when it first came out at the theatres, not many people saw it. A fresh take on the film would introduce it to a whole new generation, and to a much wider audience. You can understand, also, that after essentially remaking the film with Evil Dead 2, and busy with a giant pile of giant movies of his own, that handing the reins over to a young, ‘hungry’ filmmaker, much as he was when he made the first Evil Dead film in 1983, makes perfectly good sense.
When the announcement that Fede Alvarez, the unknown director of short film, Panic Attack was made, the internet said ‘okay then, sure, fine’. The cast, also of relative unknowns, finishes up a package not entirely dissimilar to the creative resources that gave birth to the first Evil Dead film – the only difference – a set of producers passionate about the end result, with a legacy of 30 years of filmmaking experience.
Here’s the trailer, released today. WARNING: THIS IS A RED BAND TRAILER
Here’s some points I picked up, which you probably did too:
1. Bruce Campbell is a Golden God.
“Aw cripes, man, don’t climb up my ass!” Seriously though – the man needs but a split second of screen time to grab your attention. He may decry his own acting skills (read his brilliantly entertaining ‘If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of A B-Movie Actor). Whilst it’s only a trailer, and we don’t know if any of the actors will touch our hearts the way Bruce did – at this stage, they don’t come close. Beards vs awesome chins? – chins all the way.
2. Red Blood – Scarier Than Black Blood
One instantly noticeable difference for the remake is the redness of the blood. Not having their fake blood made out of a home-made concoction based on Karo syrup, this film ups the redness factor and splashes your face with a realism that wasn’t quite there in the first one. Demonically possessed arms are no longer victims awesome timelapse photography, but seem to have been boiled in evil. The result – it’s all a bit oogier.
3. Demons Aren’t As Operatic As They Used To Be
Well – it remains to be seen – but no pronouncements of upcoming soul stealing, no complete eyeball white outs and no high pitched laughter mean that this new set of demons has a slightly more ‘realistic’, more, “well, that could actually happen” feel about them. Does this slightly less over the top approach make them less scary, or more scary? That’s up to you. I’m undecided, but their commitment to mutilating their host bodies is commendable, and disturbing. They eyefuck as they fuck with you, as it were.
4. Tree Rape – Still Disturbing Standing Up
Updated special effects make this scene something to look forward to – if you’re into that sort of thing. A tad more tentacly than viney, this looks to be horrific and awful.
5. Remakes Are Okay – If The Right People Remake Them
You can bitch and moan like a moany bitch as long as you want, but if Sam Raimi AND Bruce Campbell agree that this movie should go ahead, then let’s be S-Mart enough to give them the benefit of the doubt. There are no obvious horrific boners in this new trailer, and nods to the original with camera movement, spooky clocks and deadite sounds, all point to a ‘yes’.
6. Necronomicons – Now Held Together With Barbed Wire
Seriously – if you do come across a book bound in human flesh, that, once you’re read passages out loud, summons demons, please do the next reader a favour by burying or burning the fuck out of it, before said demons possess and kill you and your friends. Thank you. This updated Necronomicon does look, have to say it, scarier than the original, with more realistic human flesh covers. The old ‘curiousity killed the cat’ that is the essential theme of the first film is still here, and now they have to rip through garbage bag and barbed wire to get to their doom.
7. Saw And Friends Have A New Friend.
If you didn’t know that the 1983 original was ‘The Ultimate Experience In Grueling Terror’ and are somewhat surprised by old horror nerds talking about how good the movie was, then a) see the orignal movie. If you don’t think it’s much chop, a bit old fashioned, silly, not scary and with not enough puppets on tricycles, I would suggest this film will be more your speed. Messrs Raimi and co have not been unaware of what’s been happening in horror over the last 30 years, and seem to have taken on board the grittier playing field that US based horror now works on. The look of the trailer has the ‘mud and blue’ look of modern horror, which, ironically, comes from the original Evil Dead.
Don’t forget that it was Sam Raimi that brought J-Horror to America. He also helmed three Evil Dead movies. He and his people know their shit. Whilst the trailer isn’t filled with humour of Evil Dead 2, there is a despicable sarcasm to the demons (what does that knife taste like?) that points to a return to the kind of experience that so rocked horror fans 30 years ago. Coupled with a tried and trusted story, we could see a remake that is as good as, and maybe better than, the original (even if Bruce Campbell’s not in it)*.
It remains to be seen, but the final thing I’ve learned from this trailer is hope.
Here’s the trailer for the original Evil Dead (1983) so you can compare and contrast.
*Who knows, he may have a cameo.