Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead movies will forever stand as one of my favorite trilogies of all time. They’re endlessly re-watchable films that just have the perfect blend of horror and comedy, an amazing evolution from sequel to sequel that’s unlike any other franchise, and are, quite simply, pure entertainment. But as fun as they are to watch, apparently the opposite is true when it comes to making them.
This past Friday I had the pleasure of going to the world premiere of Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake at SXSW – an experience I loved - but the cherry on top came the next day when I had the chance to sit down with one-on-one with Ashley J. Williams himself, Bruce Campbell, to talk about the new movie, on which he served as a producer. Read on below for our full chat, in which he talks about not only the hellish experience of making Evil Dead movies, but what he saw in Jane Levy that made her right for the lead role, why he had confidence in taking part in the remake, and the future of the franchise.
I feel like I have to say it, but I’m a huge fan of yours and this franchise, and last night’s screening was a blast.
Yeah, it was fun. I think we all had a good time last night. It’s what we wanted. That was the reaction we had to have, especially here.
It was a perfect crowd also. They just got so into it.
You know, I’ve come to the Alamo Drafthouse multiple times. I know the savages that are here. And look, they’re film lovers and that’s always good, because the film makers in the audience will appreciate what Fede did as a film maker and the horror geeks will love what he did with the gore.
The gore, the merrier.
And that’s very, very true for this film. Take me back to the beginning of this project, because Evil Dead really is where it all started for you...
This was very fast. This was maybe a year and a half.
The first Evil Dead was four years.
Was there ever any hesitation on your part about taking it on, just because it was that fast to come together?
Rob and I got on board when Sam got on board, because we figured he would never do it. To remake his baby? So, we left it alone. We were never going to bring it up, because we thought he’d go, “Leave it alone. There’s only one Evil Dead and it’s mine.” But, he ran into Fede because of Fede being discovered and sort of cast his approval and we were like, Rob and I were like, “Sam’s behind it. Let’s go.”
Was that all you needed?
Yeah! Well, we’ve been partners a long time and we trust each other and three’s a good number. You can always...there’s no stalemates in voting. It’s always two against one. Some guys win, one of them is gonna lose. And we trust Sam’s instincts and if Sam relaxes about it, then half the battle is over. You don’t have to please him all the time. He picked the main guy. He hand picked him. So we can always look back to Sam and go, “Sam, what’s up with Fede?”
Did you ever have to...?
No, thankfully no, but it could have been, “Sam, who’d you bone us with? This boy genius you thought was going to bail us out? He fucked us over!” [laughs]