It was the news “Evil Dead” fans have been wanting to hear for years: In a recent interview promoting his upcoming Disney fantasy “Oz the Great and Powerful,” director Sam Raimi mentioned that he and his brother Ivan were planning to craft a script for the next installment in their beloved cult horror movie franchise this summer.
And then he backpedaled.
In an interview with Bleeding Cool, Raimi said he’s felt pressured by the rabid “Evil Dead” fan base to return to the series that launched his career, but that he doesn’t exactly have the passion or enthusiasm to tackle the project right now.
“I’m afraid that every time I talk about it people get really mad at me when I don’t follow through with it. I would like to work on the script over the summer, that much is true,” Raimi told the outlet. “But the reason to come back and do it again is only that they’re making me, those fans.”
Those fans, according to Bruce Campbell, who starred in the three movies in the series, should take heart.
With the April 5 release of the “Evil Dead” remake, the tale will receive a filmmaking face-lift, with first-time feature director Fede Alvarez behind the camera, and Raimi, “Evil Dead” producer Rob Tapert and Campbell serving as producers.
Campbell believes that the new movie should satisfy the die-hard fans of the franchise.
In an interview with Hero Complex earlier this year, he went so far as to say that with the new film, audiences might finally stop asking him, Raimi and Tapert to make a fourth “Evil Dead” movie together, though even he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of that movie coming together at some point in the distant future.
“We’ve never said no,” Campbell said. “This movie doesn’t keep us from doing it, that’s the thing people have got to realize. This doesn’t say that we can’t make another ‘Evil Dead.’ This is a whole different series.”
The “Evil Dead” movies might not be well known among mainstream film fans, yet the series the series has amassed a wildly devoted following in the 30-plus years since its release.
Audiences responded to the movie’s delightfully transgressive qualities — it tracks the horrors that befall a group of unsuspecting friends vacationing at a remote cabin in the woods who inadvertently unleash an ancient demonic force — and Raimi’s gifts as a filmmaker. The projects have enjoyed a long shelf life through multiple DVD reissues and even a staged musical.
Campbell’s been an especially vocal proponent of the new movie, which stars Jane Levy (TV’s “Suburgatory”), Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore and is set to premiere Friday at South by Southwest (the same day Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” opens in wide release).
At New York Comic-Con last year, Campbell promised fans that they wouldn’t be disappointed in the remake, a project that caused some loud grumbling among the faithful who feared that an inferior reboot would harm the legacy of the franchise.
As to why he and Raimi are so often quoted speculating about the prospect of another film?
Campbell said he and his longtime friend Raimi are partially to blame.
“If they catch us on a good day, [we think] ‘Boy, we sure had fun on those movies,’” Campbell said. “Sam’s theory is, when he’s in the old director’s home and he can’t see anymore and I’m in the old actors home and I can’t remember lines anymore, that’s when we’ll do it. Maybe a little sooner.
“The beauty of it is nothing is precluding anybody from doing anything else on these movies,” he added. “We still could do it. Nobody has said no. But this will hold them for now.”
– Gina McIntyre
Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex
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