This Saturday’s Evil Dead New York Comic-Con panel has come to a conclusion with FilmDistrict showing the first ever footage from the Fede Alvarez-directed reboot of the 1981 Sam Raimi classic The Evil Dead.
Our man on the scene, Lonmonster, reported live from the event with the first ever footage description, which he called “insane!” After the panel he sat down with Fede Alvarez, Jane Levy and fan favorite Bruce Campbell!
In the remake starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore, Jessica Lucas and Bruce Campbell, “Five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.”
This time with Evil Dead, what’s the tone? What can we expect?
“It’s something that comes out of the first one. Evil Dead is so many different things and when someone like Sam asks you to remake, they wait for you to pitch your version of the movie. I locked myself into a room with one of my best friends, we wrote the movie together. And I thought Evil Dead for me; I was 12 when I saw the first one. It was the same feeling the first time I discovered porn, I knew I wasn’t supposed to do it, but I did it anyway. Then the last time I saw it was about 6 years ago, I didn’t want to re-watch it, I wanted to remember the key ideas, what has stayed with me all this time. So that’s what we put in the new one. Basically, it was let’s try to make the scariest movie ever. Something gross, violent, that will scare the shit out of you.”
Is it accurate to call it a remake?
“That doesn’t mean anything really, that’s a marketing thing. It’s a movie, it’s 90 minutes, it’s called Evil Dead. It’s about five guys who go to a cabin, one of them wants to kick an addiction, so she locks herself in a cabin with her best friends. So they do that and discover the necronomicon. So is that a remake? I don’t know.”
How gory will it be?
“It is gory, that’s for sure. There is a line that Sam Raimi always talks about between horror and comedy, you go to far and everyone starts laughing, but you hit the right place it scares everyone to death. We were always on that line. It is has a lot of blood. A lot of blood. I would come back home every day after shooting covered in blood. It is a very gory film. People had to cover themselves in plastic bags because there was blood and spatter everywhere.
“We didn’t do any CGI in the movie. Everything you will see is real, which was really demanding. CGI is cheaper and faster, but I hate that. We researched a lot of illusion tricks. For instance a girl goes to cut her arm with a kitchen knife, and we knew from day one the camera would start wide and you would see the knife and her arm, and the audience would think there would be a cut any moment, but we don’t cut, she just cuts and starts screaming. So we tried to push the boundaries there.
“It has a particularly bloody ending. I want it to be the bloodiest scene ever and I think it is.
“The three guys that did the original and myself are all working together saying let’s do this from the original. But it’s not controlled by a big studio, it’s the guys from the original. I didn’t write the tree rape scene, but they were like where is the raping scene? So I wrote it in, but it has to be way more terrible than the original.”
There are a lot of iconic shots in the original, are those there?
“Not really, there are some. More so hints to the original. Sam asked me why I didn’t put in this shot from his movie and stuff. But I have my pride as a director. There were some moments where we shot and it looked just like the original and I felt like I had no soul. But I didn’t put most of those in the cut, thank god Sam backed me up on those.”
Did you feel any pressure?
“I actually don’t feel any pressure. I could think about all the people who are going to hate it, but you have to not do that or it will be paralyzing.”
Was doing all the practical effects challenging?
“This was the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was extremely difficult. It hurt, it was scary, and I just wanted to go home. So I really didn’t have to act that much.”
Can you tell us about the necronomicon?
“It’s not Mia who encounters the book. Our book looks different, but it opens the same door.”
Have you seen the original?
“I never saw the original until I got the part. I loved it when I did. I really loved it. I was really scared, I didn’t understand why people said it was funny. I loved the POV, which we kept in the film, but ours is very different.”
In my audition Bruce was there and he was like, “Do you know what it’s like to be buried alive? Do you know what it’s like to have a tube down your throat?”.
“There are three main stages I go through in the film, all completely different, and one includes killing people. I got to be a badass, I’m not the one getting chopped up, I’m the one being pretty nasty. I don’t know if I ever want to do it again. I would work on another Evil Dead again, but I don’t know if I want to do another horror film.”
How will fans react to a remake of the sacred Evil Dead?
“Very well because we appreciate their anger and their zeal. They are very protective of this movie, but so are we. The original producers are making this movie, not some cigar chomping random producer. We’ve thought about it long and hard, we had to find the right filmmaker and thankfully we did. Fede had an agent at CAA, and Sam Raimi was one of his stops, and Fede was a big Evil Dead fan and one thing lead to another.”
Has anyone signed on for a sequel?
“We’re not playing that game. We’re going to go movie by movie because this wasn’t even supposed to be made. It was never meant to be a franchise, and that’s a dumb word for this series. We’re not really spitting them out here, it’s really under-exploited because nobody has touched it for twenty years. I think people are really ready for it. As soon as fans see this movie, they’re all going to get behind it.”
Jane said you and the original crew offered her guidance. Can you talk about that?
“I sent an email to all the actors and crew telling them this will be the most difficult thing they’d ever do in their entire lives. Jane got an ear infection because she was in a sequence where it rained blood for so long, and I knew she earned her money when I heard that.”
Why a remake instead of Evil Dead 4?
“We’re middle-aged men now, I don’t know if Evil Dead 4 is looking so good anymore.
“This will be a nice little candy bar for anyone who wants an Evil Dead experience.”
Can you talk about elements of humor?
“The humor in the first one was because we were bad actors with bad dialogue. All the actors we have are better this time around, they had a lot more support. All the special effects are better. It’s not like look at our digital effects, it’s mostly make-up effects still. We used digital to help make things happen sometimes. But it’s not an orgy of digital shots.
“Audiences are doomed, I really pity audiences who see this movie. A horror movie’s job is not to make people feel like the world is a shitty place. A horror movie has go tot deliver. We’re showing footage at Comic Con, and that footage will deliver.”
Is there a concern about the rating?
“Yeah, they’re going to kill us. They’re going to be all over it like a cheap suit. There are points in the movie where you’ll laugh because you can’t believe what you’re watching.
“We’re going to give these people another Evil Dead, whether they like it or not.”
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