Welcome to the Bruce Campbell show! Yes, this New York Comic-Con panel was all about the Evil Dead remake, but Campbell, his bright red jacket and his extraordinary sense of humor certainly commanded the spotlight. Campbell took the stage not as his iconic character Ash, but as Evil Dead’s producer, and was joined by the new iteration’s leading lady, Suburgatory’s Jane Levy, as well as the film’s director, Fede Alvarez.
Just like when Ash and co. first cracked open the Book of the Dead back in 1981, Levy’s Mia and her cohorts walk right into the nightmare, however, this time around, thanks to 20-plus years, advancements in technology and a darker tone, they find themselves in far more vicious and grotesque territory.
The Big Highlights
-- Moderator Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly unveiled the film’s very first image, a shot of a creepy zombified girl crawling out of a cellar (see it above).
-- An instant crowd pleaser, Campbell made his grand entrance and fielded a question about the decision to move forward with a remake rather than a continuation of the first films by explaining he’s just too old to “strap on that chainsaw one more time.” When the crowd booed, Campbell asked if everyone wanted an Evil Dead 4 and when cheers erupted, he sarcastically added, “There will be an Evil Dead 4 after all!”
-- Alvarez recalls Sam Raimi Skyping him to ask if he was interested in doing the Evil Dead remake. A total no-brainer.
-- Alvarez first saw Evil Dead when he was just 12 and strives to re-create that “horrible fear, the violence, the gore, the craziness,” he experienced way back when.
-- Levy recalls Campbell trying to scare her off at her audition, asking her, “Do you know what it feels like to be buried alive? Do you know what it feels like to have tubes stuck down your throat so you can projectile vomit on people?”
-- Campbell says this new film stands on its own and jokes about not needing “silly props or references” for fans of the original, which of course means the opposite, so keep an eye out for a number of throwbacks.
-- In comes the footage. They keep calling it a sneak peek, but it more closely resembles a wildly effective trailer and it absolutely blows the crowd away. If you’re looking for more Evil Dead circa 1981, I’d reassess those expectations. The new iteration is downright malicious and has a very good shot at making quite the impact as its own entity.
-- Alvarez assures the audience that there are more than enough elements connecting his film to the original, down to teeny-tiny details only the most avid fans will catch.
-- Campbell jokes that they brought Diablo Cody in to work on the script because, as middle-aged men, they don’t know how young people talk. “Oh, and she won the ***ing Academy Award.” More seriously, Alvarez confirms Cody was involved specifically to help spice up and shape up the dialogue. In earnest, Campbell tosses in that Cody was also an asset in developing material for a female protagonist.
-- A fan announces she cried the last time she met Campbell, so Campbell entertains the crowd up by calling her up to the stage and giving her five dollars.
-- Campbell got serious again to address the fact that he knows some fans weren’t happy with the plan to move forward with a remake, but assures everyone that they’re adamant about doing it right.
-- While Levy’s character isn’t named Ashley, she does reveal that all of the names were chosen for a reason and that if you do a little unscrambling, it could spell something out.
-- Hands down the best show of New York Comic-Con. Should the actual film be as much of a blast as this panel, Evil Dead should be a big winner.
The piece opens with a bang, literally, and introduces the audience to a group of unsuspecting kids ready to enjoy a little getaway at a cabin in the woods only to stumble upon the infamous Book of the Dead. The moment they crack it open, we’re whisked away into a shockingly wicked display of violence and gore. We’ve got victims being burned alive, self-mutilation, vicious vines and more, culminating in the ultimate: a girl licking a knife to the point that her tongue splits in two. Outrageous gore, slick camera movements, dark imagery with flecks of vibrancy and pitch-perfect pacing all hurl us into the world of the new Evil Dead, a place that stays true to its roots while taking the franchise in an exponentially more visceral and horrific direction.
-- “You need horror with blood flowing down the screen, out of every orifice, we know you need it.” - Bruce Campbell
-- “We did not screw you over with this movie.” - Bruce Campbell
-- “What the hell is Julianne Moore doing here by the way?” - Bruce Campbell
-- “This movie will be like putting on a comfortable shoe.” – Bruce Campbell
-- “In Spider-Man 2, as the snooty usher, I did not let Spider-Man into the theater to see his girlfriend perform, so technically, I’m the only character who’s ever defeated Spider-Man.” – Bruce Campbell
-- “It’s nice to make a movie where you don’t see the green garden hose spewing the sh*t. That’s all we wanted to do is just make a movie where you don’t see the green garden hose.” – Bruce Campbell
Evil Dead hits theaters on April 12, 2013.