The Evil Dead Series
The Ultimate Experience In Grueling Terror

The Evil Dead (1981)

Five friends go up to a cabin in the woods where they find unspeakable evil lurking in the forest. They find the Necronomicon and the taped translation of the text. Once the tape is played, the evil is released. One by one, the teens become deadly zombies. With only one remaining, it is up to him to survive the night and battle the evil dead.

The Evil Dead is a 1981 horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi, starring Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, and Betsy Baker.

The film is a story of five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in a wooded area.

Their vacation becomes gruesome when they find an audiotape that releases evil spirits.

The film was extremely controversial for its graphic terror, violence, and gore, being initially turned down by almost all U.S. film distributors until a European company finally bought it in the Cannes Film Festival marketplace.

It was finally released into theaters on October 15th, 1981. Although its budget was just $375,000, the film was a moderate success at the box office, grossing a total of $2,400,000 in the U.S. upon its initial release.

Despite getting mixed reviews by critics at the time, it now has a dedicated cult following. The film has spawned two sequels, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, and a stage musical; work on a script for a further film has started.

Because of its graphic violence and terror, the original version of the movie was banned in several countries, including Finland, Germany, Iceland and Ireland.

In Germany, the movie's release was hindered by public authorities for almost 10 years. Original 1982 cinema and video releases of the movie had been seized, making the movie successful on the black market video circuit with pirated copies abounding.

Several well-known horror enthusiasts publicly criticized the German ban on the movie, including author Stephen King (who gave it a rave review in the November 1982 issue of Twilight Zone).

The Evil Dead Behind The Scenes Footage

A heavily edited version was made available legally during 1992.

In 2001, an uncut German DVD version was released, but the Berlin-Tiergarten Court ordered seizure of the DVD in April 2002 (Case Number 351 Gs 1749/02).

In Finland, The Evil Dead was later released uncut on DVD by Future Film, and rated K-18.

In the United Kingdom, the film was one of the first to be labeled a video nasty during the mid-1980s controversy over such movies and was finally released uncut in 2001.

When the film was re-submitted in the US for a rating in 1994, the MPAA classified it with an NC-17 rating. When the distribution company Elite Entertainment released the film on DVD in 1999, they retained the NC-17 version.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has since acquired the DVD rights to the film, and their subsequent releases have surrendered the rating to allow them to release the film unrated.

Evil Dead II
The Sequel To The Ultimate Experience In Grueling Terror

Evil Dead II (also known as Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn) is a 1987 cult comedy horror film and the second installment of the Evil Dead film trilogy.

The film was directed by Sam Raimi, written by Raimi and Scott Spiegel, produced by Rob Tapert and starring Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams. Raimi and Spiegel wrote the script during production of Crimewave.

Filming took place in North Carolina and the film was released in the United States on March 13, 1987.

The film was a box office success, and achieved $10.9 million at the box office. It also received critical acclaim.

Observers praised Raimi for the direction and Campbell for his role in the film. Evil Dead II was eventually followed by Army of Darkness, which was released in 1992.

With the script completed, and a production company secured, filming could begin. The production commenced in Wadesboro, North Carolina, not far from De Laurentiis' offices in Wilmington.

De Laurentiis had wanted them to film in his elaborate Wilmington studio, but the production team felt uneasy being so close to the producer, so they moved to Wadesboro, approximately three hours away.

Steven Spielberg had previously filmed The Color Purple in Wadesboro, and the large white farmhouse used as an exterior location in that film became the production office for Evil Dead II.

Most of the film was shot in the woods near that farmhouse, or J.R. Faison Junior High School, which is where the interior cabin set was located.

Evil Dead 2 - Behind The Screams

The film's production was not nearly as chaotic or strange as the production of the original, largely because of Raimi, Tapert and Campbell's additional film making experience.

However, there are nevertheless numerous stories about the strange happenings on the set.

For instance, the rat seen in the cellar was nicknamed "Señor Cojones" by the crew ("cojones" is Spanish slang for "testicles").

Even so, there were hardships, mostly involving Ted Raimi's costume.

Ted, director Sam's younger brother, had been involved in the first film briefly, acting as a fake Shemp, but in Evil Dead II he gets the larger role of the historian's demon-possessed wife, Henrietta. Raimi was forced to wear a full-body, latex costume, crouch in a small hole in the floor acting as a "cellar", or on one day, both.

Raimi became extremely overheated, to the point that his costume was literally filled with liters of sweat; special effects artist Gregory Nicotero describes pouring the fluid into several Dixie cups so as to get it out of the costume. The sweat is also visible on-screen, dripping out of the costume's ear, in the scene where Henrietta spins around over Annie's head.

The crew also sneaked various in-jokes into the film itself, such as the clawed glove of Freddy Krueger, the primary antagonist of the 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' series of slasher films, which hangs in the cabin's basement and toolshed.

This was, at least partially, a reference to a scene in the original 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' where the character Nancy Thompson (portrayed by Heather Langenkamp), watches the original Evil Dead on a television set in her room.

In turn, that scene was a reference to the torn 'The Hills Have Eyes' poster seen in the original Evil Dead film, which was itself a reference to a torn Jaws poster in 'The Hills Have Eyes'.

At the film's wrap party, the crew held a talent contest, where Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell sang The Byrds' "Eight Miles High", with Nicotero on guitar.

Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness
Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas

Army of Darkness (also known as Evil Dead III, Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness, Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness, or The Medieval Dead) is a 1992 comedy horror fantasy film and the third installment of the Evil Dead film trilogy.

It was directed by Sam Raimi, written by Raimi and his brother Ivan, produced by Robert Tapert, and starred Bruce Campbell and Embeth Davidtz.

Continuing where Evil Dead II left off, Ash Williams is trapped in the Middle Ages and he battles the undead in his quest to return to the present.

Army of Darkness is not as violent or gory as the prior Evil Dead films, relying more on slapstick. The film was produced as part of a production deal with Universal Studios after the financial success of Darkman. Filming took place in California in 1991.

The Director's Cut premiered in October 1992 and the Theatrical Cut was released in the U.S. on February 19, 1993. It was a commercial success, grossing $21.5 Million, though critical response was generally less positive than the first two films.

Since its video release it has acquired a cult following, along with the other two films in the trilogy.

There are four different versions of Army of Darkness: the 96-minute director's cut, the 81-minute U.S. theatrical version, the 88-minute international edit, and the 88-minute U.S. television version.

The director's cut includes numerous new scenes and extensions compared to the US theatrical version.

Among the changes are more violence in the pit, a love scene between Ash and Sheila, an extended windmill scene, different dialogue between Good and Bad Ash, an extended speech on the castle roof and a vastly different ending.

The TV version (which is not available on DVD) is particularly notable for including two scenes not in any other version of the film (though they do appear in rough cut form in the "Deleted Scenes" section of the DVD.)

The theatrical release picks up after Ash has returned to the present, in which he stages one final confrontation with the "she-bitch" in the S-Mart Housewares Department.

The alternative ending, which was favored by Raimi and Bruce Campbell, depicts Ash as he sits in his Oldsmobile (the same 1973 Oldsmobile featured in many Sam Raimi films), in a cave, the entrance caved in by some of the black powder he made earlier.

Army Of Darkness
The Men Behind The Army

As he drinks the magic potion (given to him by a person that may or may not be Merlin - the king's name being "Arthur"), he is distracted by a falling rock and takes one drop too many.

Ash sleeps well beyond his time, not aging but growing a very large beard, and shouts "I'VE SLEPT TOO LONG!" after awakening in a post-apocalyptic England.

When test audiences did not approve of Raimi's original ending, he cut the film down to the international cut that now exists on DVD. When it was again rejected by Universal, Raimi was forced to edit it again to the U.S. theatrical version.

The original cut had an opening that was more in tune with the Evil Dead series (included as a deleted scene on Anchor Bay's director's cut DVD). The MGM Hong Kong Region 3 DVD edits together the U.S. altered theatrical, European and director's cuts into a final, 96-minute cut of the film.

The film is digitally re-mastered, compiled from original source prints (not from VHS sources as the Anchor Bay Entertainment releases are).

A new Blu-ray release of Army of Darkness from Optimum Releasing in the UK was rumored to be of the director's cut, however it was released on September 19, 2008 and included the Director's Cut as an extra, in standard definition. The movie was released as Bruce Campbell vs Army of Darkness for the UK Blu-ray release.