King called it “The most ferociously original horror film of 1982.”
One of the coolest things about Stephen King is that he’s constantly promoting the work of other artists working within the horror space. When he sees/loves a new horror movie, King tweets about it; very often, these quotes are then used as part of the marketing. After all, a stamp of approval from Stephen King is nothing if not a ringing endorsement.
But advocating for horror films is nothing new when it comes to Stephen King.
Back in 1982, King caught a screening of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead at the Cannes Film Festival, which at the time did not have a U.S. distributor. In fact, studios including Paramount passed on the film, feeling that it was just too aggressive in its approach. Too raw. Too scary. Too gruesome. Too… much.
Of course, New Line Cinema eventually picked up The Evil Dead, and the rest is history. Who does Sam Raimi credit with legitimizing his debut feature and bringing it to the attention of New Line? That’d be Stephen King, who wrote a glowing review of the film for Twilight Zone Magazine.
“During one of these marketing screenings at the Cannes film festival, where there were different distributors watching the films trying to make their judgments as to what they’ll buy that year, Stephen King was in the audience, and we heard, ‘Oh, he was really screaming and shouting during the movie.’ And I was the biggest Stephen King fan in the world,” Raimi told IGN back in 2015.
He continued, “[Sales agent] Irvin Shapiro said to me, ‘Ask him for a quote, if he liked the movie.’ So I called him… and said, ‘Could you give us a quote, what you honestly thought of the film?’ He said, ‘I won’t do that, but I will write a review. If there’s something in the review that you want to use as a quote, you can.’ So he wrote a review for Twilight Zone Magazine. It was very generous of him, and we were able to use the very positive quote that he gave us.”
“Without that, the movie may have been lost, but with Stephen King’s endorsement, we were able to make our first sales.”
Crazy, right? You can read King’s complete Evil Dead review below, via Reddit!