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WonderCon 2013: Evil Dead

Many of my friends know that I love The Evil Dead trilogy, the cult horror films from director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Oz The Great and Powerful) and star Bruce Campbell.  I watch all three films (The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness) back-to-back-to-back every year in October, involving as many people as I can in the process.  The idea of remaking The Evil Dead could seem like something that I would be entirely against, but I was willing to hear it out, as Raimi, Cambpell, and producer Rob Tapert were the ones that wanted to do it.  Essentially, if it had their blessing, I would be down for a new take on “The ultimate experience in grueling terror” (original tag line for the first film).  Fortunately, everything I have been seeing and hearing so far has me quite excited, which is why I was looking forward to this panel for the film, taking place a week before its theatrical release.  Read on to learn more about what went down at this WonderCon panel.

Here is the official WonderCon panel description:

Evil DeadProducers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell have teamed up with director Fede Alvarez to bring you the much-anticipated remake of the 1981 cult-hit horror film, The Evil Dead. When five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin, they discover a Book of the Dead, which unwittingly summons up dormant demons living in the nearby woods. The youngsters become possessed in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival. Please join producer Bruce Campbell and director Fede Alvarez, along with stars Jane Levy (Suburgatory) and Jessica Lucas (Cult) for questions and exclusive clips.

If there is one person among those who were on this panel that knows how to command a crowd, it is veteran convention guest and all-around great (self-proclaimed) B-movie actor Bruce “Don’t Call Me Ash” Campbell, who was happy to be present with director Fede Alvarez and the young cast, which included Jane Levy, Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci, and Shiloh Fernandez.  While I was happy to see almost all of the key players involved in the movie present at the panel, Campbell is such a delight on stage, as his quick-witted remarks made for a far more playful panel than you would normally get from a bunch of rookies on stage.  For example, as Jane Levy tried to describe how things went down as far as setting up for a lot of fake vomit to come out of her mouth goes, Campbell only aided, as he taunted Levy for what she had to go through.  Given that the series was known for being made by amateurs that basically made up how to do things as they went along, causing great physical pain for the cast and crew, Campbell was quite happy to make note of how pleased he was to be sitting in the chair behind the scenes and watch as a new group suffers through the making of a film.

Of course, this does not mean that the pain wasn’t worth it.  While Sam Raimi was not present at WonderCon, he did appear via a video introduction of a WonderCon exclusive peak at the film.  For anyone that hasn’t seen the red-band trailer already, this new look was another well-edited peace of work, giving off the same vibe that the well-handled horror marketing has been promoting so far.  Suffice it to say that there will be lots of carnage on display, maintaining the true spirit of The Evil Dead.  While the time passed has made the original film feel dated at points and at times laughable for various reasons, it was designed to be a straight-up horror film that delivered on the gore to an extreme level for its time, so this new film appears to be doing just that as well.

Another clip was shown at the panel later on and it delivered another, more sustained peak at the type of madness that audiences will get the chance to see come this April.  This clip featured one character becoming possessed and mutilating their self.  Another character soon came in to see what was going on, which did not make matters better, as injuries were received by both to say the least.  This also led to a bit of the film’s score being heard, which seemed to be going for a very over-the-top vibe, giving me the impression that this new Evil Dead is in on what it is and that goes a long way for me.

As far as the rest of the panel is concerned, while Campbell did have a lot of fun and some information to impart on the audience in regards to why he believed remaking the film was a good idea, it was just as rewarding to hear what director Fede Alvarez had to say, as well as Jane Levy, who is a far cry away from being in something similar to the ABC comedy Suburgatory.  Some key points noted:  Alvarez and his friends are diehard fans of the original Evil Dead, so he was very happy to take on the responsibility knowing that he is aware of what fans of the series are hoping to see when it comes to remaking the film, as well as supplying a terrifically entertaining horror feature for newcomers to the series.  On the contrary, Levy joined, despite not being a fan of horror, but having intrigue in regards to how it all works to make a horror film.  Little did she know that Evil Dead films are known for being brutal to work on, as the actors are heavily involved in torturous production aspects in order to get the desired effect, be it getting covered in blood or buried alive.  I should also note that this film does not contain CGI, so all of these torturous production aspects were achieved using practical effects.

  

One very interesting tidbit that came out of all of this concerned the possibility of merging the original series with this remake and it’s possible sequels.  Campbell and Alvarez both talked about the potential sequels to their respective storylines, with Alvarez saying that his ultimate dream would be to make a seventh film that united the “Ash” narrative from Sam Raimi’s movies with the “Mia” story from Fede Alvarez’s new chapter.  After explaining that the possibility of an Army of Darkness 2 is being considered along with a new Evil Dead trilogy (this all depends on how well the new film does, of course), Campbell stated, “I think seven is a nice number,” which could be taken as a joke, but also suggests an intriguing way to really build out the Evil Dead world that already exists.

Anyway, I am not even thinking about sequels right now, I am just pleased to be as excited as I am for a new Evil Dead film.  It may not involve Ash and his boomstick, but everything I have seen makes me quite hopeful, so I cannot wait to check it out.

One last thing, the reason why Campbell was happy to see a remake included things such as having a movie that could really deliver on all the things they wanted to do the first time as far as a fun horror ride goes, having actors with talent involved, having effects that didn’t reveal the rubber hoses used to shoot out demon blood, and just working as a scary peace of work with the comfort of knowing that he was able to torture a bunch of young actors.

Evil Dead Opens In Theaters Everywhere On April 5th

Check out either the green-band or red-band trailer for the film below:

And here is the trailer for the original film:

  

Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

2 Responses to “WonderCon 2013: Evil Dead”


  1. Brian White

    I wish I was seeing this tomorrow instead of GI Joe, but I’ll have to wait until Tuesday. Boo hoo. This is one of my most anticipated titles this year.

  2. gare swafford

    I have hopes for this new version since I love the original so well. Since I know it would never supplant my love for the first film, I’m going into it with the attitude (fingers crossed) that it will be a whole new experience. And I like it that the original gang is behind it.