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Film

The one scene that Sam Raimi regrets most

The American director and actor Sam Raimi is currently receiving praise for his contribution to the MCU following the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a project that has resulted in Raimi’s highest-grossing film at the box office. Before this project, the filmmaker was tasked with bringing Spiderman to the big screens for the first time 20 years ago. Of course, it is something he succeeded in, as the original Spiderman trilogy proved to be a major commercial success. The second instalment is considered one of the greatest superhero movies of all time and is partially responsible for what comic book movies look like today.

When he’s not adapting comic book stories, Raimi is writing and directing additions to the horror genre. His most infamous and beloved contribution is The Evil Dead trilogy. The first film is a supernatural terror fest, following a group of college students as they are shown no mercy by a legion of demons in a cabin. With that, Raimi also directed Drag Me To Hell in 2009, a movie about a loan officer cursed to torture and, eventually, to hell.

As present in all his work, Raimi solidifies his artistry through his flamboyant and elevated visual style. Praise towards Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was mostly directed towards Raimi’s direction and visuals. John Defore described the ones in the final act as ones that “play more to Raimi’s strengths”.

The first Evil Dead film, released in 1981, also demonstrated the director’s ostentatious style of filmmaking and vision. He showed his skills and made a low-budget amateur flick into one of the most iconic horror movies ever. This was mostly down to the visual storytelling, with Tim Philo assisting as cinematographer.

The film features outpours of bright red blood, gruesome distorted faces, unsettling POV shots from the demons’, and other bizarre sights. One outlandish moment, in particular, comes during one of the film’s most well-known and scariest scenes, one that features a woman named Cheryl who has a terrifying experience out in the woods at night.

The horrific incident involves demonically possessed trees, ones that suddenly attack Cheryl and brutally assault her. The scene is nothing short of spiteful and unsettling to watch. Cheryl can only scream in pain as the branches violate her in a gruesome display, something most audience members struggle to stomach.

Despite being one of the most infamous and creepiest scenes of the movie, Raimi hasn’t exactly expressed much pride in it. His later interpretations of the scene are critical, as he feels it “was unnecessarily gratuitous and a little too brutal”. He also expresses sympathy for those who had to endure the agonising sequence but has to clarify, “my goal is not to offend people”.

Raimi explains that what he hoped for the scene is similar to what the rest of Evil Dead did for audiences. He specifies how he wants his horror stories “…to entertain, thrill, scare…make them laugh, but not to offend them”. Looking at this scene, if one can manage, it’s easy to agree with Raimi on this. What happens to Cheryl isn’t entertaining or the thrilling type of scare; it’s just disturbing and vulgar in tone.

The Evil Dead‘s sequels held back on such sexually and abusive graphic sequences. They instead turn to a more eccentric and campy tone while still having a major creep factor. There are dancing ghouls and medieval imagery in the film’s following instalments, and no more demonic trees.