Sam Raimi’s Surprised Evil Dead Franchise Has Lasted This Long

the Evil Dead

Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead series remains one of the most beloved horror franchises of all time. There’s still something unique about the mischievous way it combines cartoonish levels of gore with goofy laughs, with Bruce Campbell making Ash Williams an indelible cinematic icon. After the first three movies (The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness), we saw the franchise expand into comics and video games, along with a remake of the first film and the excellent Ash vs. Evil Dead TV show.

Now, with Raimi a producer on the new remake of The Grudge, he’s been answering questions on Reddit. One fan asked him: “At what point did you realize that The Evil Dead was a masterpiece, did you have that conviction from the start, or only after it got picked up?” Here’s how he replied:

“Never thought of the movie like that. Bruce, Rob and I were just trying to break into the business. Trying as hard as we could to make a movie good enough to play in the Drive In’s. We were thrilled when it did. Never had any expectations beyond that. Horror movies were not even a thing that you would consider to be highly praised, unless you were talking about the Cabinet of Doctor Caligari or Frankenstein. Those were very rare. I never considered it as anything other than it was. A good drive in flick. I’m surprised it’s lasted this long.”

All of this is very clear when rewatching The Evil Dead. The film is stuffed full of elements designed to show off how talented a director Raimi is, complete with his trademark imaginative camera set-ups, enjoyably gross home-made prosthetics and the sense of anarchic fun that you see in most of his movies. You can sense how the 20-year-old Raimi was itching to get into the industry, with the film acting as a kind of resume to show studios what he could do.

And, much like the Deadites that bedevil Ash, The Evil Dead franchise has proved almost impossible to kill. Despite Ash vs. Evil Dead being unjustly cancelled after three seasons, Raimi recently said that he’d still love to revisit the universe to make a fourth film. His one condition is that Bruce Campbell return to the role of Ash, but with Campbell having publicly announced that he’s retired from the part, we might have a very long wait. Still, let’s hope that one day we get to see the final adventure of Old Man Ash.