If ever there were a question for the ages, it is surely this: Why isn’t Sam Raimi more widely worshipped as a creative genius? Sure, his resume features things like For The Love Of The Game and Drag Me To Hell, but these are far outweighed by films such as Crimewave, A Simple Plan, and The Gift. His real legacy, however, is the Evil Dead franchise – feverishly adored by millions the world over, and the subject of constant demands for more. These demands are, finally, about to be met when Ash Vs. Evil Dead debuts on Starz this Halloween, but a recent promotional event has led to a tantalizing glimpse of what once might have been, had the original trilogy continued in cinema.
Evil Dead arrived in 1981 as an impressively low budget horror film that quickly created a cult audience. Its story featured five friends accidentally unleashing violent demons in a cabin in the woods, and saw only one character survive: Ash Williams, played by Bruce Campbell. The character of Ash became revered by fans and led to the 1987 sequel, Evil Dead II.
It was the third film of the series – 1992’s Army Of Darkness – that spawned what might be one of the most ambitious and creatively original sequel ideas never made, however, and the man behind the franchise laid it out during an Ash Vs. Evil Dead Q&A panel moderated by Screen Crush. Army Of Darkness saw Ash Williams accidentally transported back to 1300 AD England, where he needed to find the Necronomicon from the first two films in order to return to his proper time. As expected, this involved battling lots of demons.
It is the ending of that film that gave rise to Raimi’s brilliant idea, however. While the international release of Army Of Darkness features the filmmaker’s original ending – with Ash accidentally taking too much of a sleeping potion and waking up in a post apocalyptic era, instead of the present day – the domestic release had an alternative, happier, version. Here, Ash is seen living his life in present day – relating his tale to his co-workers at a DIY store, until he is required to dispatch one last demon in the electrical aisle.
So, according to Raimi, Evil Dead 4 would have starred both Ash Williamses – the version in the post apocalyptic world, and the present day version – exploring both timelines in a great, big, epic Evil Dead movie. This mind-blowing, dimension-bending revelation captures the essence of the filmmaker’s creative appeal. While many might be rendered resentful at being forced to change the ending of a film to please perceived market forces, Raimi and his collaborators saw an opportunity for further originality – a way to elevate their foundational concept to a new level.
In practice, Raimi and his co-creators eventually abandoned the idea as being too complex for a theatrical release. However, we are now gearing up for Ash Vs. Evil Dead, which will see the Evil Dead concept, and all its associated lore, transferred to the small screen. Typically, this episodic format provides greater opportunity to explore complex ideas in greater detail, and at a different pace – does this mean the Evil Dead team will get to film their big idea after all? We’ll have to tune in at Halloween to find out.
Source: Screen Crush