The Evil Dead (franchise)

The Evil Dead (franchise)
The Evil Dead series
Directed by Sam Raimi
Produced by Bruce Campbell
Robert Tapert
Dino De Laurentiis (Army of Darkness)
Written by Sam Raimi
Scott Spiegel (Evil Dead II)
Ivan Raimi (Army of Darkness)
Starring Bruce Campbell
Ted Raimi
Music by Joseph LoDuca
Danny Elfman (March of the Dead Theme for Army of Darkness)
Cinematography Tim Philo (Within the Woods & The Evil Dead)
Peter Deming (Evil Dead II)
Bill Pope (Army of Darkness)
Editing by Edna Euth Paul (The Evil Dead)
Kaye Davis (Evil Dead II)
Bob Murawski (Army of Darkness)
Distributed by None (Within the Woods)
New Line Cinema (The Evil Dead)
Rosbud Pictures (Evil Dead II)
Universal Pictures (Army of Darkness)
Release date(s) 1978–1992
Running time Within the Woods; 32 mins.
The Evil Dead; 85 mins.
Evil Dead II; 84 mins.
Army of Darkness: 81 mins. (Theatrical Cut), 89 mins. (International Cut), 96 mins. (Director's Cut)
Country  United States
Language English
Budget US$17,001,600 (all four films)
Box office US$52,300,000 (est.)

The Evil Dead is a trilogy of horror films created by Sam Raimi. The films focus on the protagonist, Ashley "Ash" J. Williams, played by Bruce Campbell, who deals with "deadites", which are undead antagonists created by the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. The film series has since expanded into other formats such as video games and comic books. A musical opened in Toronto in 2003 based on the storyline of the first two films.



Within the Woods

In January 1979 Bruce Campbell was a college dropout who had just quit his job as a taxicab driver. Sam Raimi was studying literature at Michigan State University with Robert Tapert finishing his economics degree. While putting the finishing touches on It's Murder! Tapert suggested doing a feature length film to Raimi. Raimi felt it to be impossible citing that they could never pull off the funding. Campbell didn't mind stating that "I could always move back home." Tapert was fearing that he would become an expert in fisheries/wildlife while Raimi was afraid that he would go back to work at his dad's home furnishing store. These were the practical reasons that convinced the three to put forth a feature length film.[1] The three were highly supportive fans of the comedy genre, though they decided not to do such a film as they felt "a feature-length yuck fest just didn't compute." To do the film as a horror was put forth after they were inspired by a well noted scene from It's Murder. This moved Raimi to write the short film Clockwork. The three felt the end result was very effective and represented a new direction that their films could take, that of a semi-successful horror film.[2]

This would later lead to research of low-budget horror films at the local drive-in theater. The many films that they watched were the "two films for two dollars," allowing them the chance to document the behavior of what would become their target audience. Campbell quoted, "the message was very clear: Keep the pace fast and furious, and once the horror starts, never let up. 'The gorier the merrier' became our prime directive." Films that were witnessed amongst them included Massacre at Central High and Revenge of the Cheerleaders. The idea to do a "prototype" was commissioned, to prove not only to themselves, but also to potential investors that they were capable of doing a full length horror film. The same year, at Michigan State, Raimi had been studying H. P. Lovecraft and was most impressed with Necronomicon, or simply The Book of the Dead. From these rough concepts, he concocted a short story where a group of four friends unwittingly dig up an Indian burial ground and unleash horrific spirits and demons.[3] In the spring of 1979 filming of Within the Woods started over a three day weekend on a budget of $1,600.[4]

Within the Woods, as well as serving as a prototype, had impressed the filmmakers. For a marketing strategy a screening was arranged at their former high school, with a positive response.[5]


Filming was first commissioned for the summer of 1979 in Michigan. In order to organize the budget, Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell bought a few "how to make an independent film" guide publications. The budget was originally centered on $150,000 while shooting with a Super 8 camera. However due to technical difficulties, it was decided to move it up to 16 mm format, as they wanted to film the project in the style of the many low-budget films at the time that had come out in the 1970s.[6] Since they had little experience in the film industry, the three felt they should buy business suits and briefcases as a means to convince investors that they "had all the answers." A man named Andy Grainger who was a friend of Tapert and owner of a series of movie theatres was the first primary investor. Grainger stated, "Fellas, no matter what, just keep the blood running." As a tribute to him specifically there's a scene in the finished film where an old film projector whirs to life and "projects" blood running down the screen.[7]

Most importantly, Grainger provided the name of a distributor in New York City whom they could approach for possible distribution. The company was Levitt-Pickman Films, who most recently was famous for Groove Tube, starring a very young Chevy Chase. The filmmakers took a train at $40 each, as they knew none of their cars could make an entire round trip road trip. One of Campbell's old girlfriends named Andrea allowed them to stay at her apartment. Campbell slept with her while Raimi and Tapert were in the living room. Andrea's cat fell asleep on Raimi's face without even disturbing him. Raimi, who is allergic to cats, had his eyes swollen shut.[7]


The Evil Dead

Released in 1981, this is the first official film in the series. It introduces the series' protagonist, Ash, and the Book of the Dead and what it brings with it.

Evil Dead II

Released in 1987, this film shows the horror themes of Ash's dealings with the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and demons.

Army of Darkness

Released in 1992, this is the last film in the franchise so far, taking Ash back in time to England in 1300 AD. The movie has horror attributes, but is based mainly on slapstick and action. This time the evil creatures are explicitly referred to as deadites.

Further film sequels

Unofficial sequels

In Italy, The Evil Dead was released under the title La Casa ("The House") and Evil Dead II became La Casa II. These were followed by three unrelated movies: Umberto Lenzi's La Casa 3 (aka Ghosthouse) (1988), Fabrizio Laurenti's La Casa 4 (aka Witchery) (1988) and Claudio Fragasso's La Casa 5 (1990). This is similar to what has happened in George A. Romero's Living Dead series starting with Zombi 2.

Possible sequel

It has been rumored for almost two decades that there will be an Evil Dead IV. Sam Raimi has stated in an interview that he would like to make this film, as soon as he has completed work on Spider-Man 3.[citation needed] In an article released May 3, 2007, he stated he was trying to get his brother Ivan Raimi, who co-wrote Army of Darkness, to write the screenplay with him.[8] On July 26, 2008, Sam Raimi stated that Evil Dead 4 was "in the wheelhouse" during the 2008 Comic Con.[9] In March 2009, Raimi confirmed that an Evil Dead script was being worked on with Ivan Raimi.[10]

Bruce Campbell announced at San Diego Comic Con that Evil Dead 4 is a possibility, but it will not happen for several more years as Raimi was working on Spider-Man 4,[11] but that project was cancelled in January 2010, which could mean it could be Raimi's next project after the Warcraft film.

So far, he's seven pages into a script for Evil Dead 4, with brother Ivan, just as he hoped: "Every time I'm with my brother Ivan, we write another page of it. It's in Detroit and in my garage." Raimi continued: "There's some dialogue. Ash being an idiot. Ash taking some abuse. Some character stuff and then some structure of Act Two. Just other possibilities for things that could happen. It's ideas, jokes, things we'd like to see."

Of course, Bruce Campbell is "firmly in mind" to star.[12]

In the unlockable bonus content of Evil Dead: Regeneration, Bruce Campbell says the rumor of Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash is "partly true", claiming that basically there are 3 separate franchises arguing "No, we're the better franchise!" "No, no you suck!" so he says with this debate constantly ongoing it might happen, but not in the foreseeable future. Sam Raimi narrated and talked over his fourth installment of the franchise at Streamy Awards 2010.[13]

In 2005, there was talk of Ash appearing in a sequel to Freddy vs. Jason; however, Sam Raimi eventually decided against it. Though tempted, Raimi thought it would be unfair to the other director to dictate rules for what Ash could and could not do, which would be required as Raimi has plans for Ash in the future. As of late 2006, a new crop of rumors had begun to circulate about a team-up of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Ash, but Raimi, New Line and Campbell have yet to make any comment. Campbell said of the original rumors that if he were to sign up, "[Ash] would have to win, or I wouldn't do it."[14] However, Wildstorm/Dynamite have announced that they would be presenting the sequel in comic form as the six-issue mini-series Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash.[15] Reports surfaced in July 2011 that claimed that there is a sequel in the works and it is currently being prepped. [16]

Remake history

It had been confirmed that a remake would be made of The Evil Dead. It would have been produced by Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, but was not to include the Ash character. It was also said that the movie would be about a group of teenagers that go to the cabin and find the book, and the similarities with the original would end there.[17]

However, in August 2007, Bruce Campbell revealed in a radio interview that the proposed remake was "going nowhere" and "fizzled" due to extremely negative fan reaction.[18]

More recently, rumors have suggested that a re-write of a script is being reviewed and Bruce Campbell suggested that in true style of Sam Raimi's films he would do a cameo role, jokingly suggesting that it would be a remake/sequel and Knowby's ghost would be replaced by ghostly Ash.

In July 2008, Raimi has stated that he intends to work with his brother Ivan in the development of a sequel, not a remake, and Campbell further supported this by saying that The Evil Dead remake was no longer a possibility.

In April 2011, Bruce Campbell did an AskMeAnything interview on, saying "Newsflash: We are remaking Evil Dead. The script is awesome. I will be one of the producers and possibly play the milk man".[19] He added "In all honesty, we would all love to make another Evil Dead movie. When that will happen? Who can say - we're all working on other jobs right now. We're not trying to dodge anybody's questions, there just isn't that much to talk about. The remake's gonna kick ass - you have my word".[20] On July 13, 2011 it was officially announced, via a press release, that Ghost House Pictures would be producing the upcoming remake of The Evil Dead and that Diablo Cody was in the process of revising the script and the will directed by Fede Alvarez.[21]

Indirect sequels

Bruce Campbell directed and starred in a film titled My Name Is Bruce.[22] It does not continue the story of Army of Darkness but is a fictionalized portrayal of Bruce living his everyday life in which he is erroneously believed to be as heroic as the Ash character and is hired to fight an ancient spirit. The film was released to a limited number of theaters on October 26, 2008 and was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on February 10, 2009.

Video games

There have so far been five Evil Dead video games:

Comic books

Dark Horse Comics

In 1992, Dark Horse Comics produced a mini-series adaptation of Army of Darkness adapted and illustrated by John Bolton. A trade paperback of this series was released by Dynamite Entertainment on September 25, 2006.

In 2008, Dark Horse revisited the franchise with a four issue adaptation of the The Evil Dead written by Mark Verheiden and once again illustrated by John Bolton.

Dynamite Entertainment

In 2004, Dynamite Entertainment acquired the license to publish titles based on Army of Darkness and, in conjunction with Devil's Due Publishing, released the Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes mini-series. A second mini-series, Army of Darkness: Shop till You Drop Dead followed in 2005. Later that year, Dynamite separated itself from Devil's Due and began focusing entirely on self-published titles featuring the Army of Darkness franchise. This included an ongoing series that began in 2005 and saw Ash battling other horror icon such as Herbert West and Dracula. The series lasted thirteen issues before being rebooted with a second volume in 2007. The second series lasted twenty-seven issues before coming to an end. Over the years, there have also been several one-shot specials as well as crossovers with a wide variety of characters such as, Marvel Zombies, Darkman, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Xena, Danger Girl and even Barack Obama.


The production team of George Reinblatt, Christopher Bond and Frank Cipolla recently created an Off Broadway show titled Evil Dead: The Musical, based on the film series. Its New York run was directed by Bond and Hinton Battle, who also choreographed the show. Ryan Ward played the part of Ash. Tying in with the midnight movie plot of a group of friends visiting a wooded cabin and unleashing untold evil, performances did not start until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Previews began October 1 and the show opened November 1 at the New World Stages. It was announced on January 31, 2007 that Evil Dead: The Musical's New York production at New World Stages would close on February 17, 2007. Toronto producers announced a new Toronto production of the show, also starring Ryan Ward, at the Diesel Playhouse. The new production started its running May 1, 2007 and has been announced to end on September 8, 2007.[when?]


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