|Created by||Sam Raimi|
|Original work||The Evil Dead|
|Films and television|
|Television series||TV series|
|Video game(s)||Video games|
Evil Dead is an American horror film franchise created by Sam Raimi consisting of four feature films and a television series. The series revolves around the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an ancient Sumerian text which wreaks havoc upon a group of cabin inhabitants in a wooded area in Tennessee (later confirmed to be Elk Rapids in Michigan).
The protagonist, Ashley Joanna "Ash" Williams (Bruce Campbell) is the only character to appear in every installment of the original trilogy, with the exception of his main love interest Linda, who appears in Army of Darkness during only the prologue. The original trilogy includes The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987), and Army of Darkness (1992), all written and directed by Raimi, produced by Robert G. Tapert, and starring Campbell. The franchise has since expanded into other formats, including video games, comic books, a musical, and a television series.
The franchise was resurrected in 2013 with Evil Dead, both a reboot and a loose continuation of the series directed by Fede Álvarez and produced by Raimi, Campbell and Tapert. Before the television series, Ash vs Evil Dead, was announced, at least three other installments of the franchise were in development: a sequel to the 2013 reboot titled Evil Dead 2, a direct sequel to Army of Darkness starring Campbell and directed by Sam Raimi, and finally a seventh film which would merge the narratives of both film series.
In July 2014, Bruce Campbell stated it was likely that the planned sequel would instead be a TV series with him as the star. On November 10, 2014, Starz announced that a ten-episode series titled Ash vs Evil Dead would premiere on their cable network in 2015. The series was renewed for an additional twenty episodes and starred Bruce Campbell as Ash and was executive produced by Campbell, Sam Raimi, and Rob Tapert. Since the show was announced to the public, there has been no news of further films in the franchise.
- 1 Development
- 2 Films
- 3 Related films
- 4 Television
- 5 Cast and characters
- 6 Crew
- 7 Reception
- 8 Video games
- 9 Comic books
- 10 Musical
- 11 Music
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Within the Woods
In January 1978, Bruce Campbell was a college dropout who had just quit his job as a taxicab driver. Sam Raimi was studying literature at Michigan State University with Robert Tapert, who was finishing his economics degree. While putting the finishing touches on It's Murder!, Tapert suggested doing a feature-length film to Raimi. Raimi felt it impossible, stating that they could never acquire the funding. Campbell declared: "I could always move back home." Tapert feared a career in fisheries/wildlife while Raimi was afraid that he would have to go back to work at his dad's home furnishing store. These were the practical reasons that convinced the three to put forth a feature-length film. The three were big fans of the comedy genre, but they decided not to produce a comedy as they felt "a feature-length yuck fest just didn't compute". A well-noted scene from It's Murder moved Raimi to write the short film Clockwork. The three felt the end result was very effective and represented a new direction that their films could take, that of a semi-successful horror film.
This would later lead to research of low-budget horror films at the local drive-in theater. The many films that they watched were the "two films for two dollars," allowing them the chance to document the behavior of what would become their target audience. Campbell said, "The message was very clear: Keep the pace fast and furious, and once the horror starts, never let up. 'The gorier the merrier' became our prime directive." Films they watched included Massacre at Central High and Revenge of the Cheerleaders. The idea to do a "prototype" was commissioned, to prove not only to themselves, but also to potential investors, that they were capable of doing a full-length horror film. The same year, at Michigan State, Raimi had been studying H. P. Lovecraft and was most impressed with Necronomicon, or simply The Book of the Dead. From these rough concepts, he concocted a short story where a group of four friends unwittingly dig up an Indian burial ground and unleash horrific spirits and demons. In the spring of 1978, filming of Within the Woods started over a three-day weekend, on a budget of $1,600.
Within the Woods, as well as serving as a prototype, had impressed the filmmakers. For a marketing strategy, a screening was arranged at their former high school, with a positive response.
Filming was first commissioned for the summer of 1979 in Michigan. In order to organize the budget, Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell bought a few "how to make an independent film" guide publications. The budget was originally centered on $150,000 while shooting with a Super 8 camera. However, due to technical difficulties, it was decided to move it up to 16 mm format, as they wanted to film the project in the style of the many low-budget films at the time that had come out in the 1970s. Since they had little experience in the film industry, the three felt they should buy business suits and briefcases as a means to convince investors that they "had all the answers." A man named Andy Grainger, who was a friend of Tapert and owner of a series of movie theaters, was the first primary investor. He stated, "Fellas, no matter what, just keep the blood running." As a tribute to him, there's a scene in the finished film where an old film projector whirs to life and "projects" blood running down the screen.
Most importantly, Grainger provided the name of a distributor in New York City whom they could approach for possible distribution. The company was Levitt-Pickman Films, who most recently was famous for Groove Tube, starring a very young Chevy Chase. The filmmakers took a train at $40 each, as they knew none of their cars could make an entire round trip road trip. One of Campbell's old girlfriends named Andrea allowed them to stay at her apartment. Andrea's cat fell asleep on Raimi's face without even disturbing him, and Raimi, who is allergic to cats, had his eyes swollen shut.
Within the Woods (1978)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Filmed in 1979, released in 1981, this is the first film in the series. It introduces the series' protagonist, Ash, and the Book of the Dead and what it brings along.
Evil Dead II (1987)
Released in 1987, this film is a sequel to the original continuing where the last film ended, (a recap of the previous film is shown in the beginning, though it is often confused as being an edited remake of the beginning of the first film) and shows the horrors of Ash's battling with the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and demons.
Army of Darkness (1992)
Filmed in 1991, released in spring of 1993 in the United States, this is the third film in the franchise (and the last featuring Ash Williams taking a lead role so far), taking Ash back in time to England in 1300 AD. The movie has horror attributes, but is based mainly on slapstick and action. This time the evil creatures are explicitly referred to as "Deadites."
Evil Dead (2013)
Evil Dead is the title of a film that serves as a soft reboot and a continuation of the Evil Dead franchise. Unlike the first three films, the film does not feature the character of Ash Williams in a major role, the character only appearing in a post-credits scene, instead following a new protagonist named Mia Allen. The film is considered a continuation of the franchise and plans to feature both Ash and Mia in future installments have been discussed.
At the premiere event for the 2013 film, Alvarez announced that a sequel is in the works (but has backed out of writing and directing the film). At a WonderCon panel in March 2013, Campbell stated that their ultimate plan was for Evil Dead 2 and Raimi's Army of Darkness 2 to be followed by a crossover film which would merge the narratives of Ash and Mia. On October 30, 2013, co-writer Sayagues confirmed to Deadhollywood that he and Alvarez won't return for the sequel. That same month, Alvarez took to his Twitter that the rumor is not true.
Raimi confirmed plans to write Evil Dead 4 with his brother; it was later specified that this film would be Army of Darkness 2. At a WonderCon panel in March 2013, Campbell stated that their ultimate plan was for Evil Dead 2 and Raimi's Army of Darkness 2 to be followed by a crossover film which would merge the narratives of Ash and Mia. Campbell had confirmed to reprise his Ash role in Army of Darkness 2. On October 26, Alvarez confirmed on his Twitter that Sam Raimi will be directing Army of Darkness 2. Contrary to popular rumors and even mentions by Campbell himself, Campbell has stated that he may not appear in Army of Darkness 2 by stating: "It's all Internet b.s. – there's no reality whatsoever. These random comments slip out of either my mouth or Sam Raimi's mouth, next thing you know, we're making a sequel." In September of 2017, during a panel at Fan Expo Canada, when asked if audiences could expect 4th Evil Dead film, Campbell said "Everybody says Evil Dead 4! Evil Dead 4! You know, if we did an Evil Dead 4 Sam Raimi would spend $200,000,000 on it, and it would bomb.", elaborating that the only future for Evil Dead is unrestricted via a premium cable network, as Ash vs. Evil Dead is on Starz.
In Italy, The Evil Dead was released under the title La Casa ("The House") and Evil Dead II became La Casa II. These were followed by three unrelated movies: Umberto Lenzi's La Casa 3 (a.k.a. Ghosthouse) (1988), Fabrizio Laurenti's La Casa 4 (a.k.a. Witchery) (1988) and Claudio Fragasso's La Casa 5 (a.k.a. Beyond Darkness) (1990). This is similar to what has happened in George A. Romero's Living Dead series starting with Zombi 2. House II: The Second Story (1987) and The Horror Show (1989) were retitled La Casa 6 and La Casa 7 respectively in their Italian releases.
Awards Pictures, a company that attempted to begin a new line of movies in the series in 2004, announced plans in May 2012 to film an Evil Dead 4, one that has nothing to do with the original films. Because of this, Sam Raimi sued Awards Pictures in an attempt to stop them from making said film, due to his own plan to someday film one himself. In August 2012, U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer entered a default judgment that “permanently enjoined” Awards Pictures from using the names Evil Dead, Evil Dead: Genesis of the Necronomicon, Evil Dead: Genesis of the Necronomicon, Part 2 or Evil Dead: Consequences “as or as part of the title of a motion picture, television program, video game, play, book or any other form of entertainment provided or to be provided through any media.”
The Cabin in the Woods also features many references to the film and even features Deadites and the possessed trees although this is considered more a reference than a direct sequel.[original research?]
Bruce Campbell directed and starred in a film titled My Name Is Bruce. It does not continue the story of Army of Darkness but is a fictionalized portrayal of Bruce living his everyday life in which he is erroneously believed to be as heroic as the Ash character and is hired to fight an ancient spirit. The film was released to a limited number of theaters on October 26, 2008 and was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on February 10, 2009.
Ash vs Evil Dead
The series stars Bruce Campbell reprising his role as an older Ash Williams with a supporting cast that includes Lucy Lawless, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, and Jill Marie Jones. The 10-episode series is executive produced by Campbell, Sam Raimi, and Rob Tapert. It premiered on Starz on October 31, 2015.
Ash vs Evil Dead proved to be a critically well-received television show, earning a 98% from Rotten Tomatoes. Four days before its premiere, the show was picked up for a second 10-episode season.
The series lasted for three seasons (30 episodes) before it was cancelled by Starz in April 2018. Following the series' cancellation, Bruce Campbell announced he was officially retired from playing Ash.
Cast and characters
- This table only shows characters that have appeared in three or more films in the series.
- A dark grey cell indicates that the character was not in the film or that the character's presence in the film has yet to be announced.
- A U indicates an uncredited role.
- A C indicates a cameo role.
- A V indicates a voice-only role.
- An A indicates an appearance through archival footage or stills.
- An M indicates the actor was part of the main cast for the season.
|Character||Film||Ash vs Evil Dead|
|The Evil Dead||Evil Dead II||Army of Darkness||Evil Dead||Season 1||Season 2||Season 3|
|Ash Williams||Bruce Campbell||Bruce CampbellUC||Bruce CampbellM|
|Linda||Betsy Baker||Denise Bixler||Bridget Fonda||Rebekkah Farrell|
|Cheryl Williams||Ellen Sandweiss||Ellen SandweissUCVA||Ellen Sandweiss|
|Professor Raymond Knowby||Bob DorianV||John Peaks||Bob DorianUCVA||Nicholas Hope|
|Evil Ash||Bruce CampbellU||Bruce CampbellU|
|Annie Knowby||Sarah Berry|
|Bobby Joe||Kassie DePaiva|
|Professor Ed Getley||Richard Domeier|
|Henrietta Knowby||Lou Hancock||Alison Quigan|
|Lord Arthur||Marcus Gilbert|
|Duke Henry the Red||Richard Grove|
|Mia Allen||Jane Levy|
|David Allen||Shiloh Fernandez|
|Eric||Lou Taylor Pucci|
|Abomination Mia||Randal Wilson|
|The Demon (voice)||Rupert Degas|
|Pablo Simon Bolivar||Ray SantiagoM|
|Kelly Maxwell||Dana DeLorenzoM|
|Ruby Knowby||Lucy LawlessM|
|Amanda Fisher||Jill Marie JonesM|
|El Brujo||Hemky Madera||Hemky Madera|
|Linda B. Emery||Michelle HurdM|
|Chet Kaminski||Ted RaimiM|
|Brock Williams||Lee Majors|
|Lacey Emery||Pepi Sonuga|
|Sheriff Thomas Emery||Stephen Lovatt|
|Brandy Barr||Arielle Carver-O'NeillM|
|Ted Raimi (cameos)||Fake Shemp||Possessed Henrietta/Supportive Knight||Cowardly Warrior/Second Supportive Villager/S-Mart Clerk||Possessed Henrietta|
|Role||Original films||Reboot film||Television series|
|The Evil Dead
|Evil Dead II
|Army of Darkness
|Ash vs Evil Dead|
|Director||Sam Raimi||Fede Álvarez||(various directors)|
|Producer||Robert Tapert||Robert Tapert
Alex De Benedetti
|Robert Tapert||Sam Raimi
|Writer(s)||Sam Raimi||Sam Raimi
|Composer||Joseph LoDuca||Joseph LoDuca
Danny Elfman (themes)
|Roque Baños||Joseph LoDuca|
|Cinematographer||Tim Philo||Peter Deming||Bill Pope||Aaron Morton||Dave Garbett|
|Editor||Edna Ruth Paul||Kaye Davis||Bob Murawski
|Bryan Shaw||Bob Murawski|
|Production company||Renaissance Pictures||Rosebud Releasing
|Dino De Laurentiis Communications
|Ghost House Pictures
|Distributor||New Line Cinema||Rosebud Releasing||Universal Studios||TriStar Pictures||Anchor Bay Entertainment|
|Running time||85 minutes||84 minutes||81 minutes||92 minutes||25–37 minutes|
|Release date||October 15, 1981||March 13, 1987||October 9, 1992||April 5, 2013||October 31, 2015 – |
April 29, 2018
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|United States||Foreign||Worldwide||All time domestic||All time worldwide|
|The Evil Dead||October 15, 1981||$2,400,000||$27,000,000||$29,400,000||5,825||$375,000|||
|Evil Dead II||March 13, 1987||$5,923,044||$5,923,044||4,822||$3,500,000|||
|Army of Darkness||October 9, 1992||$11,502,976||$10,000,000||$21,502,976||3,934||$11,000,000|||
|Evil Dead||April 5, 2013||$54,239,856||$43,162,193||$97,402,049||1,290||$17,000,000|||
|The Evil Dead||95% (56 reviews)|
|Evil Dead II||98% (53 reviews)||69% (12 reviews)|
|Army of Darkness||72% (46 reviews)||57% (18 reviews)|
|Evil Dead||61% (178 reviews)||57% (38 reviews)|
|Ash vs Evil Dead season one||98% (49 reviews)||75% (25 reviews)|
|Ash vs Evil Dead season two||100% (16 reviews)||82% (5 reviews)|
|Ash vs Evil Dead season three||100% (14 reviews)|
There have been seven Evil Dead video games:
- The Evil Dead (1984) for Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum
- Evil Dead: Hail to the King (2000) for PlayStation, Dreamcast, and PC
- Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick (2003) for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
- Evil Dead: Regeneration (2005) for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC
- Army of Darkness: Defense (2011) for iOS and Android
- Evil Dead: The Game (2011) for iOS
- Evil Dead: Endless Nightmare (2016) for iOS and Android
Ash Williams also appears as a playable character -along with Kelly and Pablo, from the Ash Vs. Evil Dead TV series- on 'Deploy and Destroy', a competitive multiplayer FPS available for iOS and Android, and also as a non-playable character in Telltale Games' game Poker Night 2.
Dark Horse Comics
In 1992, Dark Horse Comics produced a mini-series adaptation of Army of Darkness adapted and illustrated by John Bolton. A trade paperback of this series was released by Dynamite Entertainment on September 25, 2006.
In 2008, Dark Horse revisited the franchise with a four issue adaptation of The Evil Dead written by Mark Verheiden and once again illustrated by John Bolton.
In 2004, Dynamite Entertainment acquired the license to publish titles based on Army of Darkness and, in conjunction with Devil's Due Publishing, released the Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes mini-series. A second mini-series, Army of Darkness: Shop till You Drop Dead followed in 2005. Later that year, Dynamite separated itself from Devil's Due and began focusing entirely on self-published titles featuring the Army of Darkness franchise. This included an ongoing series that began in 2005 and saw Ash battling other horror icon such as Herbert West and Dracula. The series lasted thirteen issues before being rebooted with a second volume in 2007. The second series lasted twenty-seven issues before coming to an end. Over the years, there have also been several one-shot specials as well as crossovers with a wide variety of characters such as, Marvel Zombies, Darkman, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Xena, Danger Girl and even Barack Obama. The series was then rebooted in 2013 and started over from the last scene in Army Of Darkness the film, because Ash mispoke the words S-Mart was sent back in time to the Medieval times where the wiseman has been possessed, Ash fights through many battles with the same characters from the film. At the end of this series Ash proposes to Sheila, in the next series "Ash gets hitched" they get married but Ash gets sent forward in time when he accidentally speaks a phrase that opens up a vortex. He wants to get back to Sheila but runs into many situations causing delays, he is currently in space fighting the evil.
Space Goat Productions
This section needs to be updated.(April 2018)
In 2015, Space Goat Productions acquired the license to publish titles based on Evil Dead 2. The company has released, or is planning on releasing, the following titles:
- Evil Dead 2: Beyond Dead By Dawn, a three-issue mini-series which debuted in June 2015
- Evil Dead 2: Tales of the Ex-Mortis, a three-issue anthology which debuted in August 2015.
- Evil Dead 2: Cradle of the Damned, a three-issue mini-series which debuted in January 2016
- A series of Evil Dead 2: Revenge of ... one-shots, which began with Hitler in March 2016 and will be followed by Dracula, the Martians, Jack the Ripper and Krampus
- Evil Dead 2: Dark Ones Rising, a three-issue mini-series which will debut in August 2016
Ash vs. Freddy vs. Jason
In the documentary "The Untold Saga of The Evil Dead" Rob Tapert states that New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures had said they wanted to do Ash vs. Freddy vs. Jason: "We thought about it for one second but we knew we would have totally trashed the franchise in doing that, in that there would be no reason to reunite Bruce and Sam for Evil Dead 4 whatever that would be nor would there be any reason to go back and reinvent the original Evil Dead with a hot new filmmaker". Two comic book series were produced based on this concept, titled Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, and Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors.
The production team of George Reinblatt, Christopher Bond and Frank Cipolla recently created an Off Broadway show titled Evil Dead: The Musical, based on the film series. Its New York run was directed by Bond and Hinton Battle, who also choreographed the show. Ryan Ward played the part of Ash. Tying in with the midnight movie plot of a group of friends visiting a wooded cabin and unleashing untold evil, performances did not start until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Previews began October 1 and the show opened November 1 at the New World Stages. It was announced on January 31, 2007, that Evil Dead: The Musical's New York production at New World Stages would close on February 17, 2007. Toronto producers announced a new Toronto production of the show, also starring Ryan Ward, at the Diesel Playhouse. The new production started its running May 1, 2007, and has been announced to end on September 8, 2007.[when?]
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Many bands have referenced The Evil Dead films in their songs and videos:
- Death (Death Metal Band) did a song called "Evil Dead" which is about the first film.
- Skinny Puppy (Industrial Band) used many samples from Evil Dead 2 in the song "Who's Laughing Now" though the lyrics aren't about the film.
- Primus (Funk Rock Band) did a song "The Toys Go Winding Down" which sang lyrics in one part about watching the film The Evil Dead.
- Colourbox used samples from The Evil Dead for the song "Well Hot Doggie" on the Lonely Is an Eyesore compilation for 4AD
- Teenage Bottlerocket's song "Dead Saturday" from their 2015 album Tales from Wyoming is about Evil Dead 2.
- Russian punk-rock band Sektor Gaza has named third album the "Evil Dead".
- The Black Dahlia Murder's song "Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn" from "Everblack" album is based on the scene with Cheryl and the trees from "Evil Dead"
- The music video for “Everlong” by Foo Fighters makes a reference to the first film in the franchise. In one of the dream sequences, the location was a cabin in the woods, and the wife (played by guitarist Taylor Hawkins) was reading a book when the two attackers from the previous sequence crawl out of the floorboards. They reveal to be zombies and attack her. Dave Grohl (as the husband) was chopping fire wood and eventually came to defeat the zombies by throwing them in the lake.
- The Swedish metal band “Morbid” samples many soundclips from the film on their debut album “December Moon”. Their vocalist would go on to front the infamous black metal outfit “Mayhem”.
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- Campbell, pp. 77–9
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