If Evil Dead Looks So Cool, Why Does it Have to Be a Remake?


To be honest, guys, I’m really not a gorehound. I shy away from the movies that aim to scare/shock their audiences with elaborate, imaginative displays of things happening to the human body that really, really shouldn’t.

That said, I can totally understand the buzz building behind the upcoming release of The Evil Dead. The trailer looks energetic and imaginative, taking tired horror tropes and cranking the volume up to earsplitting levels. Plus the director has gone on record as saying there is NO CG enhancement to any of the gnarly gags for the entire movie. Cool!

With all that energy, innovation, and buzz, why the hell does this thing have to be a remake?

Many, many people have written many, many words on the alarming state of novel ideas in “Hollywood” (for lack of a better term). If you hit this link, you’ll see that a mere five of the top twenty movies from last year are original properties. So, yeah, it’s an issue. It’s an issue that’s been talked to death, but it’s still an issue.

What bugs me about this remake of The Evil Dead is that I don’t even understand why it has to be a remake. Like, what market are they capturing by using it as a springboard for this new movie? Fans of the original?


Raimi’s The Evil Dead, for all its fame, is a cult classic, which means that the people who love that movie are the kinds of people who seek out great horror films all the time. Were they captured by the original’s iconic brand or franchise history? NO. They were captured by its edgy tone, its filmmaking bravado, and its basic entertainment value. Traits that this “reboot” seems to share with its predecessor.

Here’s the other thing about The Evil Dead: It’s a genre icon. Not an icon in the sense that, say, the ‘89 Batman was. That movie was a bold new look at a character with an established history. It’s not an issue for someone like Nolan to come in and do his own thing with the material when the property runs itself into the ground. Same deal with the reboot (remake?) of Raimi’s Spider-man trilogy. That one’s a dumb move, but not really an issue past that.

stupid poster
This really is like, the most insulting tagline of 2012.

No, The Evil Dead is an icon solely because of two men: Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Campbell was the charmer; playing Ash with a mix of comedy and bravado that few have been able to replicate. Raimi was the magician, cramming crazy horror, medieval action, brilliant camera work and memorable sound design into three films that together cost about the same as the recent period drama A Dangerous Method.

The result: Evil Dead II has more entertainment per square dollar than just about any movie ever. Army of Darkness is one of the great horror-flavored comedies. And the movie that started it all is the class text for low-budget filmmaking.

Just don’t study in groups.

You know what was awesome about their take on horror? Well, yeah, all of the above. But more than that, it felt fresh. It felt dangerous. The Evil Dead was a movie that seemed at once immediately familiar and brand spanking new.

And here’s the frustrating thing: This new Evil Dead looks like it might be that too. If nothing else, they’re trying their guts out to make it great. Yet, it’s saddled with the inexplicable burden of being a “reboot” of a thirty-year old indie super-success. Doesn’t remaking The Evil Dead sort of take away the rebellious spirit of the project from the get-go?

But then, as I ask that question, I have to admit that I’m sitting here, writing an article about the movie, specifically because it’s a remake. I’m probably not even going to see it, and I’m talking about it.

Damnit, Hollywood.

  • Geoff

    can. not. wait. So pumped to see this, no its not the same. However, still can. NOT.WAIT.

  • Is it a remake? Well kind of.. but there are many changes that will ensure it won’t be a mirror image of the original (Let Me In).

    The first Evil Dead was made to be *mother fucking* scary, and back then… it was just that! Sure EDII and AoD are full of campy humor we’ve come to love, but the original was a BAMF horror movie. Probably one of the greatest ever made.

    Skip to today… horror movies are next to sci-fi when it comes to production value. These seem to be put on the back burner and shrugged off as second-class. (When’s the last time someone in a horror movie won a major award?)
    I see as a deserving remake. Show me what you wanted to do but couldn’t because of the limits of the 80s. Today, anything goes, and that’s what I expect.

    I am SO FREAKIN EXCITED about this movie. It looks like it’s going to give us what we’ve been waiting for since the original …. PLENTY OF EVIL! Real evil, not the silly shadow-play and cheap jumps of most modern horrors. I want churches everywhere to start protests because of this movie, it’s that evil! If I don’t throw up in my popcorn, it’s not evil enough!

    I love how well thought out this movie is and the back-to-basic production techniques they’ve stuck with (No CG!). With Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert AND his holiness, Bruce Campbell all heavily attached and showering it with praises.. I can only give my blessings as well. COME ON APRIL!!

  • Witezilla

    uh…Evil Dead 2 was pretty much a reboot tho they labeled it as a sequel…

  • trashcanman

    God, why do people keep saying that ED2 was a remake? WATCH THE FILMS! After a brief reshoot to sum up the events of the first film using only Campbell (since the other actors were not available) the story picks up at the EXACT MOMENT the first film ended. That is what is called a “sequel”. Hence the title “Evil Dead 2”. If you couldn’t figure that much out on your lonesome, I believe the awesome DVD commentary will spell it out for you. Where the real fans at?

    Anyways, to answer the title question: if the new film wasn’t a remake, we wouldn’t be talking about it right now. Hope it’s as good as it looks.

  • I see… so if I think Amazing Spider-Man was better than Raimi’s Spider-Man movie I should be REALLY GLAD that Evil Dead is being remade?

    Or perhaps Spider-Man has eff all to do with this?

    Also this isn’t remotely akin to Nolan making Batman because Burton wasn’t a producer on “Batman Begins” or “The Dark Knight”. Sam Raimi is a hands-on producer on this new reboot of “The Evil Dead” and he also hand picked the director personally.

    Evil Dead is a reboot of the Evil Dead series because Bruce Campbell isn’t able to be zip wired through a car windscreen by his head any more. That’s about all there is to it.

    The question is, would you like more Evil Dead movies or do you want the franchise to just end. Sure, there are some people who would have wanted James Bond to end with “You Only Live Twice”. “If the next movie needed them to replace Sean Connery, then better no more James Bond movies at all!” I imagine they’d say. But frankly if “Evil Dead” is in good hands (and remember it’s still firmly in Raimi’s hands), then I’m keen to see another instalment in the franchise.

    I’ll finish with a question. What horror movie are you looking forward to MORE than “Evil Dead” this year? Perhaps this is an easy question for you to answer, but personally I’m stumped.

  • Even Raimi admits part 2 was the movie that he wanted to make with part 1 but didn’t have the budget. I think this reboot looks brutal, and am glad they toned down the comic tone, to be honest.
    Also, I remade it, too, but mine sucks:

  • Rodimus Mike

    Why does it have to be a remake?

    Because nobody would be this excited for the movie if it wasn’t called ‘Evil Dead’

    Because a sequel or prequel that took place in a cabin exactly like the first 2 would not be believable

    Because the horror theme doesn’t mesh well if you’re trying to have it take place after the comedic Army of Darkness

    Because if it was anything else, it would be an Evil Dead rip off

    Because remakes are he hot thing, and until the public stops paying for them, they won’t stop making them

    Because we’re the generation that refuses to grow up, and we LOVE nostalgia a lot more than we like to bitch and write shitty articles about it.

    Because taking old things and giving it a ‘hard edge’ gets our attention

    Because you’re an idiot without a better solution