Pseudo-Rant: The Evil Dead remake is set to release in 2013 with 100% less Ash.
A little over 5 years ago the mere mention of another Evil Dead movie making its way to the big screen was enough to make the internet’s collective heart go all a flutter, and rightfully so. The original films where always a passionately crafted labor of love from our Triumphant Trio: Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert Tapert. The Evil Dead franchise may not be the “best” films in the horror genre, by traditional measure, but they definitely were the most entertaining and fun. They were films that took themselves seriously in the most ridiculously non-serious way. The guys were having fun doing something they loved to do and it shows every time someone watches these films.
There is a sentimental attachment that most have towards this series, so I’m sure you can imagine the pant tightening excitement from fans everywhere as Sam Raimi himself announced that another Dead movie would find its way to the big screen. Fans rejoiced in their cave like bedrooms with the assumption that Evil Dead IV was finally going to be delivered to us and I had already planned out my trip to the theater. I would eagerly throw my hard earned money at the attendants in exchange for the most anticipated ticket of my life. Sitting in the darkened theater, waiting patiently for the title card to stream by so I could finally catch up with the happenings of my favorite S-Mart employee once again and all that was wrong with the world would be righted once again… or so I thought.
The few years following the announcement fans were teased with the in development/ out of development alternating status updates on the new film, until finally we were presented with the cold hard facts. Evil Dead IV wasn’t going to be made due to Sam’s big budget obligations.
We’re going to get you.
News about the new movie seemed to dry up altogether. Sure reporters were still asking the probing questions, but they never seemed to garner any promising news. That is until July ’11 when Raimi and Campbell unexpectedly announced that they were indeed moving forward with the previously announced Dead movie. This was a lightning bolt fired across the bow of the Internet. It was finally going to happen! Our relentless pleading in forum, and hassling of stars, had finally paid off… Then I continued to read. It was announced Sam Raimi and company were confirming that there would be another Dead movie. The catch was that he, Bruce Campbell and Robert Tapert would be taking on the role of producer and that new comer Fede Alvarez would be helming the coveted directorial position. Fede Alvarez was discovered by Raimi’s company Ghost House Pictures back in 2009 after Alvarez released the short film ‘Panic Attack!’.
Also revealed during this announcement was that Diablo Cody (Juno, Jennifer’s Body, Young Adult) would be penning the screenplay. An unnerving fact since Cody’s only other horror script attempt was the abysmal Jennifer’s Body. To be fair Megan Fox had a lot to do with that movie’s downfall, so we’ll give Cody the benefit of the doubt on that sinking ship. The real news, however, was that the new movie would not be a sequel but would in fact be a complete reimagining of the original movie. As a fan waiting to hear the simple confirmation that Ash would be wading through hordes of Deadites again with only his “boom-stick” and trust chainsaw this was a massive blow. Where there was once only barren rumor mill landscape about the Dead quickly became an oversaturated oasis of speculation and ‘What the hell are they doing?!”. One thing was for certain though. Nobody would actually know the fate of our beloved characters and their story until after the script was finished.
Why are you torturing me like this? Why?
They say time heals all wounds. Well, I have a feeling with this new film we’ll have to see if that old adage rings true. After coming to terms with this new film I could really only look towards the people that had brought me the first films for guidance. Bruce and Sam had both signed off on Cody’s script stating that it is “awesome” but even after hearing this the thought of a remake was still a pretty hard pill to swallow. A slight reassurance for me was the fact that Cody is a fan of the franchise and was hesitant to even take on this project. Below she tells Collider that she’s aware how big this is:
“I know, honestly I was so excited to do it. I wouldn’t have even gotten involved if Sam [Raimi] and Bruce Campbell hadn’t been involved as well, they’re producing it, and so of course I was like “Alright I have to do this” because I’m such a fan of the original, and the whole original series in fact. But I was nervous to take the job because I thought “Ugh, I’m gonna get shit for this. People are not gonna like this, because all people know of me is like Juno and they think I’m gonna pollute Evil Dead with like wacky dialogue and cute stuff and folk music, and it’s like “No, look I understand what this is. I’m interested in storytelling here and making it scary and good and true to the original.” I feel like people will hopefully see Young Adult and go “Oh, okay that’s a horrifying movie maybe she could pull it off (laughs).”
However, hearing the news that the character of Ashley “Ash” J. Williams would be replaced by a recovering drug addict named Mia (now played by Jane Levy), and that the new story will be “grounded in reality” sounds like too much of a divergence from the original concept to give fans of the original series anything other than a uncomfortable feeling while watching five strangers in a cabin defend themselves from an ancient evil in the woods.
In complete honesty, I have to realize there is a possibility that this movie could pull off its intended goal. I might be the hit that Bruce, Robert and Sam really wanted it to be back when they made the original film. The way the cards are stacked up in this movie’s favor it’s truly hard to see it coming out any other way; a hot young director, a talented screenwriter who isn’t afraid to challenge the norm, and a production team who still have the heart to breathe life, and love, into a project that put them on the path to greatness. All of this should have me rallying behind this film as my most anticipated film in 2013.
I’m not sure why I’m not able to though. Maybe it’s my fear of this remake becoming the ‘go to’ film when people bring up The Evil Dead movies, or maybe it’s the irony that the Dead may suffer the same fate of films like ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, a movie I just recently brought up in conversation. I was disappointed when the conversation switched quickly to how upset they were with the way Keanu died in the movie. No talk of the monolithic alien Gort. No drawn similarities between the Cold War fears at the time and not even a whisper of the phrase “klaatu barada nikto”. All of it erased from the current mind of pop culture by an over baked remake.
My hope is that the Dead won’t be reduced to another meaningless summer blockbuster, or Halloween scare fest. The Evil Dead was such an over the top, ridiculously fun and timeless project that it almost seems unnecessary to fix what isn’t broken.
I understand that most things aren’t meant to last forever, but watching your heroes, fictional or otherwise, being dethroned by the newer model never gets any easier to handle. Especially when you know deep down who the rightful king should be.
Hail to the King, baby!