I just watched Evil Dead 2 again because it popped up on Netflix recently. I loved that movie. It's just ridiculous on so many levels. In a recent profile in THR, actor Bruce Campbell, writer Scott Spiegel, and producer Rob Tapert got together to talk about their experience bringing the classic horror movie to life. There's a lot of fun trivia about the movies that I thought was really cool and interesting.
A few things mentioned include that Sam Raimi wanted to call the sequel Medieval Dead. They all shared a house with the Coen Brothers, Frances McDormand, and Holly Hunter. They also reveal that Stephen King helped get Evil Dead a distribution deal, which I wasn't aware of. This is definitely worth checking out, so here ya go!
Campbell (actor): The first Evil Dead was shot throughout '81 and '82. Then we went out to make a second film, Crimewave, with the Coen brothers. We did that in '83 and '84, and it was a stupendous bomb.
Tapert (producer): We were in filmmakers' jail. We had to get a movie going to keep our careers alive.
Campbell: We thought, "OK, well, [my character] Ash died at the end of the first Evil Dead. Or maybe he didn't …"
Tapert: Our sales agent, Irving Shapiro, who handled Evil Dead and taught us everything about getting a movie in front of an audience and get it promoted, he said, "Boys, I want to take an ad out forEvil Dead 2." And we said, "We're never going to make Evil Dead 2." But Sam had the name Medieval Dead. So Irving Shapiro had an artist do an ad. He kept the Evil Dead franchise in the overseas buyers' minds.
Spiegel (co-writer): We wrote the bulk of it in Silver Lake. Sam had rented a house with Joel andEthan Coen. Fran McDormand and Holly Hunter were our roommates. Holly was just getting [her career] started. I'll never forget her in her sweatpants on the floor in her room, reading scripts. We wrote [the character of] Bobby Joe for her, but Rob Tapert said, "We need a babe for that role."
Tapert: Without getting myself in trouble … (Laughs.) I thought we should look for somebody else.
Spiegel: He was probably right. But we were enamored by her.
Campbell: At first, you know, we kept checking ourselves, like, "Guys, that's too expensive, we can't do that." But then we thought, "Why not just let them write it?"
Spiegel: There was this one sequence where all the inanimate objects laugh at Bruce after he falls on his ass. That came out of me picking up a gooseneck lamp and [going], "Yuk yuk yuk yuk yuk!" Sam said, "We're going to use that in the movie."
Campbell: It was like: "They're writing a horror movie. Why are they laughing so loud? Are these guys working down there?" And they'd turn in pages every day, and it was always the most ridiculous stuff. They thought it was the funniest thing they'd ever written.
Spiegel: Sometimes Sam would try and blackmail me. We had an annoying tenant who wouldn't leave us alone. And Sam would say, "If you don't like my idea, I'm going to write a note to Irv and slip it under his door." Like, "Please come over today." And I'm like, "NO!" And he did. So we used his idea.
Campbell: I think I can speak for all of us: We'd rather be doing slapstick comedy. But because we were so concerned, at the time, with getting our work into theaters, we thought: "Eh, horror films. That's a good way in."
Spiegel: Stephen King got Evil Dead a distributor by talking it up in Twilight Zone magazine. He was the one who suggested that Sam and Rob contact Dino De Laurentiis, who was doing [an adaptation of King's] Maximum Overdrive.
Tapert: Dino had approached us to adapt Stephen King's Thinner. Sam told him, "I can't right now, I'm working on Evil Dead II." And Dino says, "Really?" Six months later, we gave him the script for Evil Dead II. He had it translated into Italian and within 24 hours said yes.
Other than Army of Darkness, which Evil Dead movie did you like better, part one or part two?