One of Sam Raimi’s greatest cinematic achievements, The Evil Dead is a masterpiece from the supernatural horror genre which has been revitalised as a cult classic in recent years. The film tells the story of a group of college kids who venture into the wilderness for a fun vacation away from everything but end up encountering entities from the other side.
In an interview, Raimi cited the major influences on his 1981 gem: “I think George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead had a giant influence on Evil Dead. You know, zombies and his cabin setting. It was so scary and intense. That really had a giant impact on me. I think we were also influenced by the great work of Tobe Hooper, Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
Adding, “I think we followed their — I may get this wrong; at the end, I’ll be furious — but we followed that idea that we would shoot it in the affordable medium that we could get our hands on and blow it up later to professional-quality 35 millimetre, which is what the theatres showed at that time. And just the idea of making it really cheap with a lot of intensity came from them. So I think they were the big influences on me.”
Although The Evil Dead did receive positive reviews upon release and also was a commercial success, it did not help Raimi’s journey towards becoming a household name in horror at the time. According to Raimi, the initial response was overwhelming and he considered both the first film as well as the second one to be failures after release.
However, Raimi insisted that their legacy has been reinforced by later re-evaluations: “I think I learned about people really liking them years later, as video tapes were passed around. And with the advent of the Internet, all these geeks in their moms’ basements could communicate with each other all of a sudden. It turned out there were a lot of people who really liked the movie after all.”
On the 40th anniversary of the release of The Evil Dead, the horror classic is set for screenings all across the US in celebration of the film’s influence on the beloved genre. The tickets for the screenings will be available soon, starting from Thursday, October 7.