Evil Dead mania is running rampant! First Sam Raimi revealed he plans to work on a script for the fourth film this summer, then Fede Alvarez’s remake of the original cult classic took SXSW by storm over the weekend. All that’s left is the inevitably Deadite apocalypse…
Naturally, with all this buzz, there’s even more Evil Dead news to share with you today. I told you last week why I think it’s doubtful that Raimi will ever get around making Evil Dead 4 (go read it… I’ll wait. Are you back? Good.), but that hasn’t stopped a whole lot of people from speculating what we might get if he does.
The most interesting hypothesizing comes from Raimi’s Ghosthouse Pictures partner, producer Rob Tapert. The producer says we’ve got it all wrong for starters – Raimi’s not talking about making Evil Dead 4, he’s talking about making Army of Darkness 2. And I thought I was a horror geek…
For those not up on their Evil Dead lore, the first two films chronicling the adventures of Campbell’s Ash Willams were slapped with the Evil Dead moniker. The third, in which Ash is transported back in time to fight the Deadites, was simply called Army of Darkness (we’ll not even get into the whole Medieval Dead title or the rest of that convoluted tale here).
Tapert presumably set the record straight in a recent chat with Coming Soon. “That would be Army of Darkness 2. Everybody calls it Evil Dead 4 but Army of Darkness wasn't called Evil Dead anywhere except by the fans."
This is the kind of nerdy trivia quibbling that would lead to Ghostface killing someone in a Scream movie (if you listen closely, you can hear Kevin Williamson clacking away revising the opening to his Scream 5 script as we speak…). Tapert’s sort of right, technically speaking – the film wasn’t called Evil Dead, but it did certainly pick up right where Evil Dead 2 left off, with Ash being sucked through an interdimensional wormhole and dropped back into the Middle Ages. It is, for all intents and purposes, Evil Dead 3.
Honestly, I know most people really love Army of Darkness (it was a frathouse favorite for years), but I’ve always preferred the original Evil Dead to either of the sequels. Raimi made a balls-to-the-wall horror film in that first outing. There are still laughs and hilarious moments, but there’s a better balance when it comes to the creepy stuff. By the time Army of Darkness rolls around, Ash is more of a doofus than a potential hero. It’s sort of similar to how The Simpsons eventually made Homer into a complete caricature and idiot. “Jerkass Homer” (as he’s called by fans) makes me laugh, but sometimes I miss the old Homer more. The same applies to Ash.
One potential positive here in terms of calling the new film Army of Darkness 2 is that it potentially eliminates one of the bigger sticking points for Raimi not returning to the franchise. Army of Darkness 2 would remove confusion amongst audience members if there’s an Evil Dead 2 out around the same time as an Evil Dead 4. This could be a way for the two franchises to coexist.
All that being said, I’m still not sold on this ever getting past the script stage, and Bruce Campbell is only cautiously optimistic as well, it seems.
“Sam threatens this every six months. I've heard this a thousand times, because in the back of his mind, he never wants to let go, because he loved making these movies. We all loved making them together. They were a nightmare to make, very difficult, but they lasted the test of time, so he's not going to let that go, and I'm never going to say 'no.' It'll be me and a walker fighting some other old guy. But that's what he does and who knows? It may happen."
It may happen, indeed – but I'm still not holding my breath. Prove me wrong, Sam. Please?