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The Unofficial ‘Evil Dead’ Sequels You Never Knew About

Italian horror films of the 70’s and 80’s are possibly my favorite thing ever. I can sit through some of the most wretched, poorly dubbed trash for 90-minute chunks of time with an undeterred smile on my face. Occasionally, I do stumble upon a film or two that genuinely tests my patience (we’ll touch on one such film in a bit). However, for the most part, the Italians hold the key to my heart. You might be wondering what any of this has to do with The Evil Dead. After all, Sam Raimi’s 1981 genre-redefining masterwork was a fully independent American production. True. We must take a look at the film’s various foreign releases for a clue as to where all of this is headed.

The Evil Dead was retitled various different times by overzealous foreign distributors looking to turn a quick profit. There was Diabólico (“Devilish”) as it was titled in Uruguay, Tanz der Teufel (“Dance of the Devil”) in Germany, Kauhun riivaamat (“Horror Obsessed”) in Finland, and even Brazil’s title, Uma Noite Alucinante: A Morte do Demônio (“An Unexpected Night – The Death of the Devil”). The Italians took a far simpler tact with their release, The Evil Dead was simply known as La Casa, or “The House”. Rami’s film, of course, proved to be quite the success and Evil Dead 2 (released as La Casa 2 in Italy) was an even bigger moneymaker.

It wasn’t long before director/producer J D’Amato (Beyond the Darkness, Anthropophagus) and his production company, Filmirage, decided they weren’t keen to wait for Raimi to release a third in the series. They would simply make their own. The first unofficial Evil Dead sequel was known as Ghosthouse here in the states and La Casa 3 in its home country. From there, Italy released two more official La Casa films and simply repackaged two other titles with the “La Casa” moniker. Let’s take a look at the films in the series and see how they stack up to the adventures of Sir Ashley Williams.


‘Ghosthouse’ (1988)

AKA: La Casa 3, Evil Dead 3

Directed by Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox, Nightmare Beach), Ghosthouse shares very little in common with Sam Rami’s films. The plot concerns a group of friends who are lured to an abandoned house by what sounds like a murder in progress over their transistor radio. That’s right, the hero of the piece is a Ham radio enthusiast. It’s as cheesy as it sounds, but there are some genuinely creepy moments and wacko practical effects. The connections to ED are tenuous at best. There is a creepy and probably demonic recording and inanimate objects have a tendency to spring to lie. A blood gorged light bulb is a particular highlight.

There’s also a seriously freaky clown puppet that gives Poltergeist a run for its money. This is also not the last time that particular film will be brought up on this list. Keep you ears tuned for the bonkers “clown music” that accompanies the doll. It’s been forged in my brain ever since. If Joe D’Amato was going to continue producing these films, Ghosthouse isn’t a bad place to start for laying the groundwork. Unfortunately, everything that works here was tossed out the window for the next film in the series…


‘Witchery’ (1988)

AKA: La Casa 4, Evil Dead 4, Witchcraft, Evil Encounters

Starring B-movie staples, David Hasselhoff and Linda Blair (ultimately acting out more possession schtick, calling back her more famous effort), Witchery was a slog to get through. I’d honestly wanted to check this out for quite some time and saw the opportunity recently to make it the focus of an upcoming podcast I’ve been working on. Needless to say, this film directed by Fabrizio Laurenti (The Crawlers aka Troll 3…yes, there’s a Troll 3, sort of) is a barely there riff on the type of flick Lucio Fulci made his bread and butter. A group of yuppies travel to secluded island to inspect a vacant hotel property and begin getting picked off one by one by the ghost of an ancient witch. I’m not sure why the witch is intent on killing them, but it has something to do with three doors to hell: The doors of Greed, Lust, and Ire. Overall, there are some wacky effects and some extremely “Xanax’d” performances. If you still wish to check this out, might I recommend the Scream Factory double bill that comes with the far superior, Ghosthouse? (They’re both also streaming on Shudder.)


Beyond Darkness (1990)

AKA: La Casa 5, Evil Dead 5, House 5, Horror House

The last original film to be made as part of the La Casa/Evil Dead series was directed by Claudio Fragasso. That’s right, for some of you that name might ring a bell. Fragasso is the director of the infamous “Best Worst Movie”, Troll 2. Beyond Darkness even stars that annoying little kid (and future Best Worst Movie director) who pisses on all the green slimed food to save his family, Michael Stephenson. Thankfully, despite its dubious pedigree, this is actually a fairly effective haunted house film. The plot is almost entirely a rip off of Poltergeist with seemingly no aspiration to ape Evil Dead outside of the namesake.

A priest movies his family into a spooky home. Their innocent young daughter, Carol (yep), gets abducted by specters that lure her from within a hole in the wall. Pretty soon all hell breaks loose. I know you’re thinking, why would you want to waste your time with such a poor ripoff of a far greater film? Well, Beyond Darkness features some legitimately creepy imagery. To keep costs down, most of the ghosts are represented as creepers whose faces are concealed by long black funerary shrouds, and the fog machine budget alone probably cost more than the craft service. Their repeated ambush scenes on various members of the family are an eerie delight, and all of the over the top acting in between is icing on the B-movie cake. (Also available on a Scream Factory double bill with the George Eastman gore-fest, Metamorphosis and on Shudder).


BONUS: ‘House II’ (1986) and ‘The Last Horror Show’ (1989)

As you might have noticed, one of Beyond Darkness’s AKAs was House 5. This is where things get really confusing. The sequel to Sean Cunningham’s schlocky haunted house horror film, House, was re-released in Italy. Due to the success of the La Casa series, producers figured why not just slap a “The” and a “6” (La Casa 6) on it and release it as yet another unrelated sequel.

A couple of years later came an original film that ultimately shares the same plot as Wes Craven’s Shocker. This film, starring Lance Henriksen, features a sadistic serial killer named “Meat Cleaver Max” being brought to justice and fried in the electric chair. Only problem is, his soul continues killing long after his body has been charred to a crisp. Filmed under the title The Horror Show and released as House III for no other reason than Cunningham produced it, the film made its way to the shores of Italy in 1990. Surprise! It was released under the title La Casa 7. (Both films are available on Blue from Arrow UK in the House Complete Collection.)

As you see, the Italian film industry in the 80’s had no problem repackaging and repurposing titles to suit whatever they felt might bring in the most box office dollars. Don’t get me started on the Demons series! Have you seen any of these films yet? Do you have another favorite cash-grab horror title switcheroo?



COMMENTS

42 Comments
  • Sam Beckett

    Never?

  • JoeInTheBox

    The Japanese Evil Dead’s Trap movies share zero in common with the Raimi films, but I always thought that was a weird title to “stumble upon” naming your film.

    They felt more like giallo-styled movies than anything Raimi-related.

    • Saturn

      The first Evil Dead Trap is pretty good – not so much the sequels…

      • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

        That’s the one with the booby-trapped aircraft hangar. An original setting. Some cool Goblin-esque music, too.

        • Saturn

          I haven’t seen EDT for about 15 years so I don’t really remember tooooo much about it (aside from loving it) aside from my opinion that it was mostly Argento with a final flourish of Cronenburg.

          • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

            Agreed. The giveaway towards the end is truly bizarre but I won’t spoil it on here.

  • Igor Leoni

    The brazilian title, ‘Uma Noite Alucinante’ means “A Hallucinating Night” not “An Unexpected Night”

    • VTTM

      And if I may, I’d suggest it’d be “A Maddening Night” in English, as I believe it leans more to all of them going nuts with such horror than hallucinating.

  • Aaron King

    Even stranger are the Demons “sequels.” Three of them are known as Demons 3 in some countries and none of them come close.

  • Funny, we posted about this just in February!

    http://www.horror.land/evil-dead-series-ran-7-films/

    • Just read it. I didn’t realize the remake was given the “La Casa” name as well. Pretty cool.

      • I know right! The whole Italian market is just filled with cool stories about title changes and faux sequels.

    • Elizabeth

      Synchronicity. I was just joking with someone last week about all of the Italian Evil Deads and then this article popped up on BD. I’m going to guess it was Ari Drew’s fault for posting about Demons.

  • Giacomo Calzoni

    Fragasso’s Night Killer was distributed in Italy as the third instalment of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise (known as Non aprite quella porta 3), even though it has nothing to do with the official third movie directed by Jeff Burr, and his zombie-movie After Death is also known as Zombi 4. Shocking Dark by Vincent Dawn (Bruno Mattei) was also known as Terminator 2, and was released a year before James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

  • In Portugal the title is “A Noite dos Mortos Vivos” that’s “The Night of Living Dead” in english and Evil Dead 2 is “A Morte Chega de Madrugada” AKA “Dead Comes By The Dawn”.

  • Elizabeth

    Hah! I re-watched all three of the Demons 3’s recently (thusly dubbed 3.0, 3.1, & 3.2). Black Demons (3.2) was the only one I hadn’t previously seen and, holy sh*t, was it bad. I’ll have to give these a shot next.

    • Evan3

      I admire your gluttony for punishment.

      • Elizabeth

        I usually watch the bad Italian horror while I’m doing something else. Unless it turns out to actually be good. I don’t mind sitting through The Church. And the The Ogre is kind of batsh*t enough to keep my partial attention. I doubt I’ll ever watch Black Demons again.

        • Yeah, I remember despising The Ogre but have been considering a rewatch. Black Demons, however, is one I will never suffer through again. It truly was abysmal.

          • Elizabeth

            It helps if you drink during every dream sequence during The Ogre. Or alternately, when the husband is an abusive asshole and everyone acts like it’s normal. Black Demons was awful. I almost stopped it halfway through but decided to dust my living room instead.

          • Yeah, it’s certainly a “laundry day” movie.

        • Mi chiamo “Dee”

          I found The Church to be quite good.

          • Elizabeth

            I like The Church, too. Although it always squicks me out watching whatever gross sexual situations Argento put his young daughter through.

          • Mi chiamo “Dee”

            hm, but did anything like that happen in The Church, with Asia involved? I don’t remember…

          • Elizabeth

            Definitely. I rewatched it the weekend before last. There were shots perilously close to being upskirt (keep in mind she was, at the most, twelve or thirteen at the time) and a scene where Tomas Arana (the other male lead) basically tried to rape her. My dad would have chased Soavi with a shotgun if he had tried to get me to do that as a kid.

          • Mi chiamo “Dee”

            ah yeah, I do remember. It’s icky, indeed…

          • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

            The only film Argento DIDN’T get his daughter in some sexual situation was Demons 2. In all the others she’s either half-naked or, worst of all, repeatedly raped. His work is brilliant but what a perverted old goat he is.

    • Saturn

      Black Demons? Wasn’t that also Zombi 12 and Cannibal Ferox 9 : Revenge Of The Turtle?

      • Elizabeth

        😛

    • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

      Oh come on. Black Demons Matter.

  • I was reading into this a while ago, it was hilarious. Got to love Italian horror and the endless numbers of weird pseudo sequels!

  • Kevin McCoy

    *life. *moves

  • zombie84_41

    I need these and I want troll 3 too. even though it has nothing to do with trolls LOL.

  • Mi chiamo “Dee”

    Need a headache? “The Horror Show” was released as “Horror House” in the German speaking area and “La casa 5” as “Horror House 2”.

  • Mi chiamo “Dee”

    “The Horror Show” is aces though.

    • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

      “Lucasssss, I’m gonna tearrr your worrld aparrrt. Coming back to f*** you up… Nyeeheeheeheeheehee…”

  • Abby Braunsdorf

    I’ve always called “sequels” made by people unrelated to the original production “Italian sequels” regardless of origin because the practice is so common there.

  • Lucas Mangum

    My favorite Italian cash-grabs are Terminator 2: Shocking Dark (which mostly just rips off Aliens), and Alien 2: Contamination (which is a pretty good sci-fi horror film in its own right).

  • Dan Warren (Forgottenretroworl

    Just saw one the other day called Il Bosco 1. Parts borrowed from the first two Evil Dead movies including the “force POV” shots. The bird from Opera who whacks somebody with an iron and then gets a knife jammed into her mouth in return, stars. Her and boyfriend meet Biggles’ demented brother and then a witch who has a killer vagina. Then the boyfriend gets possessed and stuck to a ship’s wheel or something. Totally nutzoid.

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