I guess Sam Raimi had approached director Park Chan-Wook (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy) for his remake of Evil Dead, but smart for him he turned it down. Inside you’ll find some quotes from Raimi, who seems perplexed that Park would turn down the offer along with more details on the remake that is supposed to be followed up by Evil Dead 4…
Why, it seems like only yesterday that we wrote a story about the proliferation of horror movie remakes coming our way. That’s mainly because it was only yesterday – click here. to read our exclusive on The Fog remake, with quotes from director, Rupert Wainwright.
And today we’re still infused with remake fever – notably, the revamp of The Evil Dead, the 1981 Sam Raimi-directed, Bruce Campbell-starring lo-fi classic about five teens battling demons in an isolated log cabin that gained notoriety when a) no less an authority than Stephen King dubbed it ‘the ultimate experience in gruelling horror’, and b) it somewhat incongruously became one of the first banned video nasties in 1984.
And now it’s up next for remake treatment, but the fanboys have taken the news surprisingly well – perhaps because Raimi himself originated the idea and will produce. We spoke to Raimi recently about the remake, and rumours that OldBoy director Park Chan-wook was being wooed into the director’s chair.
“Actually, we did approach him, but I don’t think it was right for him,” said Raimi, whose latest horror film, Boogeyman, opens here in the UK on Friday. “I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but he was either too busy or not interested. But that didn’t bear fruit and we’re now trying to find the next person who would bring something strikingly original to it with their vision and talent.”
Given that the movie’s already been remade, essentially, by Raimi himself as the peerless Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (which some Empire writers – ok, one – consider to be the finest achievement by a human being in any artistic field), news of Raimi’s desire to do a remake may come as a surprise. But the director feels there’s still room for improvement on the original.
“I don’t look at it as anything sacred. I’m glad that it has fans and I appreciate them. They sure are a diehard bunch and I don’t want to anger them or displease them,” he told us. “But I never felt that in remaking a film, you take anything away from the original. But I felt the film could be better, and certainly the narrative and the characterisation and the dialogue could be better in the first Evil Dead.
“Yes, a lot of its power lied in its crudeness,” he continued, “but it could still be more than that. And it’s kinda exciting for me to see what it would become in the hands of a really fine director and not just a kid learning how to direct a picture.”
One thing seems certain, though: Bruce Campbell, who became something of a B-movie icon thanks to his wonderfully cartoonish performance as the hapless hero Ash – beset on all sides by demonically possessed chums, with only a chainsaw and a shotgun for protection – won’t be involved in the remake. But that’s ok, folks, for Raimi is also planning Evil Dead IV, which will see Campbell back in Ash’s blood-stained shirt and slacks, and Raimi back calling the shots.
“One day I’d like to do that. It’s not certain that it would ever happen, but that is a dream of mine,” said Raimi. At the moment, Evil Dead IV is also listed for a 2006 release date (which would really confuse audiences), but as he’s currently hard at work prepping Spider-Man 3, it’s unlikely that it’s going to happen anytime soon. “There’s no script for it yet, so I don’t know that.”
And which ending of Army Of Darkness (aka Evil Dead 3, for the uninitiated, in which Ash travelled back in time to fight demons with his boom-stick) will Raimi go with – the original ending, where Ash ends up in a post-apocalyptic 21st-century London, or the alternate one where he’s back in present-day USA, fighting zombies in a supermarket? “That’s a really good question. I’ve been working on some script ideas with my brother, but we’re still trying to figure that out, though.”
Either way, it means we get two doses of Evil Dead in the next few years and that can only be a good thing.