How Stephen King Helped The Evil Dead 2 Get Made

Bruce Campbell Evil Dead

Fans of the Evil Dead movies know how instrumental Stephen King was in helping the first film get noticed, however, they may not know that he also had a hand in making sure the sequel even happened. As it turns out, the film was having such serious money problems that they had to let some of the crew go. However, as luck would have it, one woman who had been working on Evil Dead 2 ended up in North Carolina on the set of a film being directed by Stephen King, and a famous movie producer. According to Bruce Campbell...

Dino De Laurentiis is making movies down there. Who does she run into? She gets on the crew of Maximum Overdrive, directed by Stephen King. Stephen was like, 'What are you up to?' And she was like, 'I just came from working with these guys trying to get money for Evil Dead 2.' He goes, 'Evil Dead 2? They can't get the money for that?' She goes 'No.' He calls Dino De Laurentiis and goes, 'You should make this movie.' I think we had a deal... we met with Dino and I think we had a deal in about half an hour, and a basic understanding.

With a phone call, Stephen King is able to get Evil Dead 2 a meeting with one of the biggest producers in the history of Hollywood, which eventually gets them the funding they needed to complete the movie. Bruce Campbell tells Consequence of Sound that it was the foreign success of the original Evil Dead which sold Dino De Laurentiis on the sequel. From there, Evil Dead 2 would go on to spawn Army of Darkness, which De Laurentiis would also produce, followed, many years later, by the Ash vs. Evil Dead TV series. One can confidently say that if Evil Dead 2 had died on the vine we never would have seen the rest of the franchise.

Stephen King's stepping in to help Evil Dead 2 makes sense considering that he had already made his love for the original movie known. He famously referred to the film as a "ferociously original horror movie," a quote that the movie has been using to this day. As a fan, he wanted to see a sequel as much as anybody else. Evil Dead 2 probably qualifies more as a reboot than a direct sequel, as it pretty much copies the plot of the first film, though with more intentional humor that would become part of the Evil Dead brand.

It's nice to have friends in high places like Stephen King, who, even in 1986, was somebody capable of making things happen. If only his directorial debut had gone as well as Evil Dead 2.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.