OK, by now I trust you've all seen the brand new red-band trailer for The Evil Dead remake? And if not, what are you waiting for?! Go check it out!
I can honestly say that I haven't been this excited for a horror genre movie in years. And it looks like those of you that were disappointed that 'Cabin In The Woods' wasn't a traditional "cabin in the woods" horror movie may finally have your blood thirst sated with this film. The April 12th release date doesn't seem all that far off, but the road of getting The Evil Dead remade has been a really long and complicated one. And believe it or not, it all can be traced back to Freddy Vs Jason. Let's go back and analyze the time-line.
2003 - Freddy Vs Jason opened on August 15th, 2003 to a stronger-than-expected box office and was a surprise success, so naturally New Line immediately started toying with ideas for a potential sequel. The pitch that made it the furthest in the development process was a proposed Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash, based on a treatment written by Jeff Katz. A lot of people were excited at the prospect of pitting Bruce Campbell's Ash against a horror icon like Robert Englund. Well, except for one person. The big hold out on that sequel was Sam Raimi who didn't want to relinquish the rights to the Ash character as he still wanted to make an Evil Dead related film.
2004 - The Evil Dead remake was announced, much to the dismay of die-hard Evil Dead fans; so much so that on-line petitions to "Stop The Evil Dead remake" were surfacing and going strong. Also you have to think about this in context; this was at the time when Ghost House Pictures (Raimi and Rob Tapert's genre based production company) were producing PG-13 rated Japanese remakes like The Grudge. The general consensus was would Evil Dead be neutered in a market place that primarily relied on PG-13 horror for big box-office business?
A glimmer of hope came in the shape of a very unlikely director rumored to be the front runner for the job, Korean director Chan-wook Park who had wowed audiences and studio execs alike with 'Oldboy' (currenly being remade by Spike Lee), as well as the other movies of his "vengeance" trilogy 'Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance' and 'Lady Vengeance' (also currently being remade with Charlize Theron). Raimi confirmed in an interview with Empire "Actually, we did approach him, but I don’t think it was right for him. I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but he was either too busy or not interested."
2005 - While out promoting 'Boogeyman', both Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert announced that they would not only be remaking Evil Dead, but also making an Evil Dead 4 (tentatively titled Army Of Darkness 2) concurrently. Raimi told Bloody-Disgusting, "There will be an Evil Dead 4, and there will ALSO be an Evil Dead Remake. The remake will be produced by Ghost House pictures and it will star a new cast and a completely new director. The point of Ghost House is that we want to bring new directors to Hollywood and give them a chance to make a good horror film. I love the original 'Dawn of the Dead', and I also really enjoyed the new 'Dawn of the Dead'. I mean, they are both really great horror films. I want to let somebody with a fresh vision bring The Evil Dead to a new generation and a new audience with a different vision."
Rumored names being thrown around for the role of Ash for the remake included Justin Theroux (who appeared in David Lynch's Lost Highway and Inland Empire, who later went on to write Tropic Thunder and Iron Man 2), Ashton Kutcher (ugh) and Sean William Scott. None turned out to be true as early on, the producers confirmed there would not be an Ash character in their redux.
In late 2005, Bruce Campbell told Mile High Comic’s The Beat, "We're going to do the remake and none of us feel bad about it because it's our own remake. We're not getting some 1970's TV show out of Aaron Spelling's file draw and making a movie. This is our own movie. So we're gonna update it for a new generation with new effects and tell a new story with a new cast. We'll be pulling the strings from behind. And hopefully they'll like it."
By the end of 2005, various sources were confirming that the remake was on hold/cancelled.
2009 - A few years go by, but in 2009 just coming off of Drag Me To Hell, Raimi jokes with Empire magazine that he and his brother Ivan (whom he co-wrote Army Of Darkness with) had started writing Evil Dead 4. "Every time I'm with my brother Ivan, we write another page of it. It's in Detroit and in my garage. 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."
Uraguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez posts his super low budget short film "Panic Attack!" on You Tube. The technically impressive short only costs him roughly about $300 dollars to make, but immediately within a day, he gets offers and calls from everyone in Hollywood. Ghost House Pictures snatches him up in an exclusive 7 figure deal and attach him to develop a $30 million dollar sci-fi movie, something unheard of. Variety reported, "Most first-time helmers make $250,000, but Fede Alvarez scored his million-dollar deal based on the heat generated by "Ataque de Panico!" (Panic Attack), a four-minute, 48-second short about an apocalyptic robot attack Alvarez directed through his commercial production house for less than $500. After the short found its way to the Internet and Kanye West featured a link to the film on his blog, a 30-year-old who was not on anyone's radar outside the Uruguayan blurb market suddenly found the biggest agencies in Hollywood in a panic to sign him. That created a chain reaction of activity over two weeks that led to a trip to Hollywood, where he met with every major agency, management firm, and law firm that responded to the short."
2011 - In July of 2011, rumors start that long time Raimi editor Bob Murowski was headed to Detroit to start work on Evil Dead 4 and was quoted as saying it’s "a small indie thing, like the first two." When questioned on Twitter, Bruce Campbell replied, "Believe in the remake, dawg! The project is real. In the works. Cool as hell. Scary as hell."
On July 13th 2011, director Fede Alvarez is officially announced to be the director of the remake written by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, with Diablo Cody (Juno, Jennifer's Body) coming on board to do minor script revisions.
2012 - In August of 2012, Bruce Campbell told Digital Spy, "We're really excited and really behind it, [but] it's going to take a bit to get the "Evil Dead" fans behind it. We know we've pissed a lot of them off. We appreciate that and we appreciate their anger and their zeal, but the only thing we want to impress upon them is that we didn't screw it up. This is going to be just as memorable as [the original] "Evil Dead" without being the same movie. It's a contemporary movie – just like "Evil Dead" was contemporary in 1979, this is contemporary for young adults now…It's basically five new kids who are going to have a really bad night with a brand new director. I've seen it already; I think it's definitely fabulous."
In October of 2012, fans get their first taste of 'The Evil Dead' remake at the New York Comic-Con where director Alvarez, star Jane Levy and producer Bruce Campbell showed the audience the first red-band teaser trailer. Alvarez told the enthusiastic crowd, "When Sam Raimi asks you to do a remake of 'The Evil Dead', you don't say 'I'm sorry. I don't believe in remakes.'"
2013 - Sam Raimi spoke to Collider explaining why he's so thrilled with 'The Evil Dead' remake. "Well, I always thought that 'Evil Dead' was a little campfire story that you tell at a camp to kids to scare them at night. But, I don’t think anybody thought it was a beautifully produced, theatrical experience. It was shot in 16mm, all the effects were done for a quarter, and I always thought it could be done in a big screen movie type way that was really high quality with photographic effects. It could still be just as gritty, but it could be done in stereo and not just mono, and it could be done in 35mm versus 16mm. There were a lot of ways to improve it. There could be much better writing than I was capable of, at the time, as an 18-year-old kid writing that screenplay. And honestly, the directing could be a lot better, and the characterizations could be better. I was very happy with it, but it was something that was crudely done and I thought deserved re-exploration. I thought it would be fun and, in fact, it has turned out to be a tremendous amount of fun because it’s like an old melody that you write and you’ve brought in this really great, cool, young, hip jazz musician, and he’s riffing on it and showing you places it could go that you never dreamed. It’s very exciting for me."
'The Evil Dead' opens on April 12th, 2013.