Evil Dead director Sam Raimi is best known for his work behind the camera, but the truth is that he loves to act. Not in the Hitchcockian way, by cameos in his own films... he’s actually played roles great and small in tons of genre fare. Blink and you’ll miss him in the live action The Flintstones (in a crime scene re-enactment) and in John Landis’s Spies Like Us, where he plays alongside his pal Joel Coen as a guard:
Sam has actually been friends with the Coen Brothers since Joel was an assistant editor on The Evil Dead, and at one point Sam, the Coen Brothers, and award-winning actresses Frances McDormand and Holly Hunter even shared living quarters. It’s no surprise then that Sam has been in two of the Coens' films: The Hudsucker Proxy and Miller’s Crossing.
What follows is a list of Sam Raimi’s greatest contributions to horror, via his acting prowess:
Raimi’s second cameo in a John Landis film, this time as a Roma Meats employee. You may remember him eating chicken and interacting with Robert Loggia in the meat freezer.
Maniac Cop/Maniac Cop 2
In the former, Sam regales us as a parade reporter, and in the latter as a newscaster.
In one of Sam’s best roles, he plays Randy, a butcher at a small town grocery store confronted by a murderous maniac.
John Carpenter’s anthology gem gives Sam a fun cameo, not only as a gas station employee of the month, but as a corpse falling out of a locker onto the heroine. (Scream Factory will be releasing a souped-up new Blu-ray of Body Bags on November 12th.)
In Stephen King’s end-of-the-world epic, Sam plays survivor Bobby Terry.
The Shining (TV miniseries)
In Mick Garris’ adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel, Sam plays gas station attendant Howie, declared by co-star Melvin Van Peebles to be one "M.F.A. (Mighty Fine American)."
While this film is truly just a heartfelt comedy, it’s worth noting that Sam’s involvement is based on his friendship with Director Mike Binder. The film is set at the camp they both attended as children in Canada, Camp Tamakwa. Evil Dead nerds will remember a Camp Tamakwa shirt hanging on the closet door of the cabin in that film.
Visit the YouTube channel ThisIsMyBoomStick for clips of all of Sam Raimi’s cameos and larger acting endeavors.