Director Sam Raimi opens up about his initial dislike for the title The Evil Dead. The Evil Dead was released in 1981, launching the careers of Raimi, who wrote and directed, and the film’s star Bruce Campbell. The director then delivered massive projects, including Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man trilogy and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Still, his name has become synonymous with the Evil Dead franchise, which has spawned sequels, reboots, a TV show, comics, and video games.
While speaking with Empire, Raimi revealed that he initially hated the title Evil Dead. The film was originally called The Book of the Dead, which didn’t sit well when it came time to advertising. According to the director, he was forced to trim the title due to the cost of ad copy. Therefore, he was presented with two shorter options, 101% Dead or Evil Dead. Although Raimi wasn’t fond of either title, he chose Evil Dead as the option he felt was slightly less terrible. Check out Raimi’s comments on The Evil Dead below:
“The original title of the movie was ‘The Book Of The Dead’, but film-sales agent Irvin Shapiro sat Rob, Bruce and I down and said, ‘We’re changing the title, boys. Advertising space in the newspaper is paid for by the inch, kid. We’re not going to have a five-word title. ‘Dead’ can stay. You can have one other word. You can call it ‘101% Dead’, or ‘Evil Dead’.’ I thought, ‘But those are the worst two titles I’ve ever heard in my life! ‘Evil Dead’ sucks! How can something be evil and dead?’ I just thought it was so stupid. ‘101% Dead’? I thought, ‘I’ll die first’, so I chose the lesser of the two horrible titles. But now I’ve started to like it. It’s pretty good.”
The Evil Dead Title Turns Into A Major Franchise
Since The Evil Dead kicked off the franchise in 1981, there have been two sequels directed by Raimi, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, both starring Campbell as the iconic hero, Ash. In addition, he helped produce several video games based on the franchise, a 2013 reboot from director Fede Alvarez, and the TV show Ash vs. Evil Dead, which ran for three seasons. However, there always seems to be a demand for more, especially if Raimi and Campbell are involved.
Evil Dead Rise, the next film in the series, is due out in April. Lee Cronin, known for 2019’s The Hole in the Ground, wrote and directed the film, with Raimi and Campbell serving as executive producers. Early reviews for Evil Dead Rise praise the film’s gore while pointing out that it’s not as humorous as earlier entries, instead leaning toward a harsher tone, much like 2013’s Evil Dead reboot. Furthermore, the film was initially intended to go direct to streaming, but that plan changed when the movie’s quality was deemed theater worthy, with the studio seemingly happy with the final film.
Campbell also teased plans for an Evil Dead animated series, which he says Raimi is developing, that would bring him back as the voice of Ash. And despite Campbell stating that he is retiring from the role of Ash, Raimi expressed his hopes for doing another Evil Dead movie with his leading actor. Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Raimi has come around on the title The Evil Dead, embracing what he once loathed as he continues to return to the horror franchise he created.
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