This is the movie I am most looking forward to this year even though there is no release date as of yet. As a fan of the Evil Dead film series, I can honestly state that finding out that there will be a fifth instalment of your favourite series of movies is the best news ever, especially after Evil Dead: The Game, which was also fantastic.
I understand that most franchises fail to live up to the standards set by the first picture, but so far, the Evil Dead flicks have succeeded on every level. Because of Lee Cronin, I have great expectations for the upcoming movie, Evil Dead Rise, which guarantees that the movie will be brutal, dark, and nasty.
It will remain faithful to Lee Cronin’s aesthetic as well as the Evil Dead brand. To further understand why I think the next film is going to be fantastic, let us delve deep into the franchise.
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Four feature films, one short film, one television series, and numerous video games make up the franchise. Additionally, Space Goat Productions, Dynamite Entertainment, and Dark Horse Comics have all produced a few comics on the Evil Dead. Even an off-Broadway musical based on the first two movies’ plot exists. Although we will not be discussing comic books or video games in this video, please let us know if you would like to see more content on those topics!
So, going back to the movies, the Evil Dead franchise was Sam Raimi’s brainchild. Since the first Evil Dead film, there has been a wonderful launch of new filmmakers who brilliantly mould each film into a masterpiece. The entire series revolves around the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an old book, more specifically, an ancient Sumerian text that creates these ‘Deadites’. Technically, the first instalment of this franchise was the short film ‘Within the Woods’, which was released in 1978.
It was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and The Book of Dead or Necronomicon. Using this as a reference, he made up the story of the four friends who mess around in an Indian burial ground and release destructive forces. Within the Woods was a prototype film that Raimi produced on an extremely small budget, just to be able to market the concept and gain funding for the full-length feature film. Even though the short film did not have a lot of success, it showed enough potential to produce an entire series.
When talking about the development of the film, Bruce Campbell talked about how Raimi, Tapert, and he himself would go watch low-budget horror films at the local drive-in theatre for two dollars. This led to their research on low-budget horror movies and how to reach their target audience.
They decided that the best way to do that would be to “Keep the pace fast and furious, and once the horror starts, never let up. ‘The gorier, the merrier’ became our prime directive.” The budget for the film was quite low, not only because they didn’t have enough money but also because they did not have a lot of experience in the industry. The initial spending limit was set at $150,000 using a Super 8 camera.
Though they hoped to shoot the project in the same way that numerous low-budget movies of the time that had been released, it was decided to change it up and use the 16 mm format owing to technical issues. Their first major investor was Andy Grainger, a friend of Tapert’s who coincidentally happened to own a number of movie theatres. He was the one who gave them a great advice saying, “Fellas, no matter what, just keep the blood running.” It’s awesome advice, because he is the reason we have the moment when a vintage movie projector starts up and “projects” blood dripping down the screen.
With the potential success of Within the Woods locked in, Sam Raimi created the first Evil Dead movie in 1981. Now, that is the case when we talk about the sequential chronology of the movies. However, if we look at it from the point of view of the movie’s timeline, then The Army of Darkness, which is the third movie of the franchise, is the first as it takes place in 1300 AD, long before the first Evil Dead movie. But for the sake of chronology, we will go according to the release dates.
The plot of the first Evil Dead film follows five students from Michigan State University – Ash, his girlfriend Linda, his sister Cheryl, their friend Scotty and Scotty’s girlfriend, Shelly – as they travel to Tennessee for a vacation in an isolated cabin. We see how everyone except Ash keeps getting possessed and attacking everyone and everything. The end of the movie was actually supposed to be the end of it all.
When they show a screaming Ash running away from a demon, it is supposed to be the end of Evil Dead in general. But one can’t do that to a film that great. Evil Dead 2 was made as a ‘requel’ of the first film since Sam Raimi was unable to get the rights to the first movie. Due to this, the second Evil Dead movie wasn’t entirely different from the first. It was based on the same premise of Ash coming back to the same place, the Knowby cabin.
Instead of showing a dead Ash in Evil Dead 2, we see that only his hand had gotten possessed somehow, which he proceeded to cut off and replace with a chainsaw. Since the second film also follows the same premise, we see Linda, his girlfriend, get possessed once again, and he has to kill her. This time, the deadites were released because of a recorded incantation.
As the movie progresses, we see that Ash gets possessed and then gets un-possessed after seeing Linda’s necklace. It is quite a beautiful scene until the bloodbath begins, then it just turns into a different kind of beautiful. The second movie also sets up the premise for the third film in the franchise, Army of Darkness, when Annie Knowby, the daughter of Professor Knowby, who owns the cabin, chants an incantation to send the demon back. However, the incantation ends up taking the evil forces, nearby trees, and Ash with it. He then lands up in 1300 AD Middle-East.
Following his arrival in the middle-east, Ash is taken to a castle after having his weapons and chainsaw seized. All of this, including taking away the poor man’s chainsaw arm, was done because the people believed that Ash was working with Duke Henry, a Scottish man who was at war with the English knights.
After the English Knights figure out that Ash has time traveled, he is thought to be the fulfillment of a prophecy that says he will be the one to save humanity from the Deadites. Ash must then get the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, in order to return to his own time, according to the priest from 1300 AD.
Ash, unfortunately, spawns into an “evil Ash” on his quest to get the book. This evil Ash emerges from a piece of his broken reflection in a mirror. Even though Ash tries to kill him, Evil Ash escapes the grave and eventually gathers the Deadites and uses them to form an Army of Darkness. However, Ash leads the people in a successful uprising against the army of Deadites along with Duke Henry.
Ash is given a medicine that will allow him to sleep until he returns to his own time after killing the Deadites in the Army of Darkness. He slumbers for six millennia, wakes in 1982, and then reclaims his position at the S-Mart, except he is just an employee now and instead of ‘could have been King’ Ash. But to be fair, I would also choose to sleep for 6 millennia instead of being a King.
We then come to the fourth film in the franchise, Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead. According to Alvarez, it follows the earlier one in a more contemporary context. So, yes, the background and the storyline are pretty much similar to the previous Evil Dead movies. In Fede Alvarez’s opinion, the similarities between his version and the original 1981 edition are not just coincidences but rather “evil destiny” wrought by the Necronomicon. On a side note, I love the term “evil destiny”.
Anyway, since the plot is the same, but the characters are different, we see Mia at the Knowby cabin with her friends. Off the bat, there are similarities between the first movie and this one. There is Ash’s decaying automobile, which is quite obviously from the previous film. Another similarity was how the cabin has already been broken into just like it had been in the first movie.
This film also has horrifying encounters and fight scenes with the Deadites after the friends decide to recite an incantation from the book. There is one notable difference in this Evil Dead; Mia’s parents are shown as the owners of the cabin here. Now, this might have been the result of property ownership changes over the years, and it doesn’t necessarily rule out the other ties.
Later on, when the Evil Dead post-credit sequence rolls, it features Ash Williams, proving that the universes are interconnected. After this movie was released, Fede Alvarez said he would start working on an Evil Dead sequel immediately after. Meanwhile, Sam Raimi had claimed that he would work on Age of Darkness 2. However, plans for both the films fell through. The two stories were eventually supposed to merge into one and show Mia and Ash together in a movie. Had this happened, we would have had many more Evil Dead movies to swoon over as horror fans.
But it’s fine; we have the Evil Dead tv series – Ash vs. Evil Dead – a show that only gets better by the seasons. It was initially intended to be a sequel to the trilogy, but Ash vs. Evil Dead is actually set some 30 years after the events of the first three Evil Dead movies.
Ash is shown working as a stock boy at Value Mart, another departmental store like S-Mart. A Deadite epidemic poses a threat to the planet in the series. Ash is forced to make new friends in order to combat the evil that he has already been trying to stop for decades—though, in some ways, it’s been going on for much longer than that. Ash battles a Kandarian demon near the end of the story and kills it.
The show ends with Ash awakening in a bunker after being dragged out of the wreckage of the battlefield. Now, even though Campbell has said he’s finished playing the role, the series ended on a cliff-hanger which essentially means that our beloved protagonist of The Evil Dead franchise can’t retire just yet, but he isn’t said to be a part of Evil Dead Rise, so one can’t really be sure yet.
However, given Raimi’s most recent work on “Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness,” it seems unlikely that he wouldn’t use what he learned there in the craziest Evil Dead production to date.
Evil Dead Rise (2022)
Starring Alyssa Sutherland, Nell Fisher, Morgan Davies, Lily Sullivan, and Gabrielle Echols, Evil Dead Rise focuses on a familial dynamic. This time, the location of the film has also changed. We are now going to see the setup in a high-rise building in Los Angeles, instead of a cabin where the family members are exposed to an ancient evil, which will make them deal with the nightmare they could never have ever imagined.
The dramatic factor will be increased by incorporating the horrors of Evil Dead into a more subdued family dynamic. As they are seen helplessly eaten by a type of savagely chaotic evil created by Sam Raimi in the late 1970s, it helps to guarantee that viewers empathize with the characters and their relationships with one another.
The plot line reads, “When road-weary Beth pays an overdue visit to her older sister Ellie, who is raising three kids on her own in a cramped L.A. apartment, the sisters’ reunion is cut short by the discovery of a mysterious book deep in the bowels of Ellie’s building. The book’s contents, spoken aloud, give rise to flesh-possessing demons, and Beth finds herself thrust into a primal battle for survival as she is faced with the most nightmarish version of motherhood imaginable.”
So clearly, we are going to have something related to motherhood. Maybe some jealousy about motherhood that would lead to incantations being read, you know, in order to have kids and all. Another possibility could be the kids getting possessed, but that might not be the case. It would be really fun to see Ellie get possessed first and then slowly possess her children one by one, truly showing a grizzly and nightmarish version of motherhood. Another interesting possibility could be that since the movie is set in a high-rise building in a city, the entire city is an open ground for the Deadites to possess.
As far as the cast is concerned, we have some brilliant faces. Alyssa Sutherland, who is unrelated to Kiefer Sutherland, just, by the way, played the role of Queen Aslaug, Ragnar’s second wife, in the popular television series Vikings. She also had a role in the 2017 television series The Mist, which was based on the same-named book by Stephen King. Clearly, she has experience with these films, making her a fit choice for this one. She will be shown playing the role of Ellie, a mother of three. Another great choice is the casting of Lily Sullivan.
She is a skilled model and performer, best recognized for her work in the Australian comedy, Mental. She is set to play the role of Beth, Ellie’s sister. We will also see Jayden Daniels play the role of Gabriel, Tai Wano playing the role of Scott, Gabrielle Echols as Bridget, and Billy Reynolds-McCarthy as Jake. Meanwhile, Nell Fisher and Morgan Davies are still unknown characters.
Now, we don’t know WHEN we can watch Evil Dead Rise, but there is information on WHERE you can watch it. So, keep your cards ready and go ahead and buy the subscription to HBO Max. Yes, the movie is not being released in theatres and is being released directly to a streaming service platform. However, that is not necessarily a show of no-confidence in the movie. I think it is smarter to release a film using streaming platforms because it gives more access to people, and who am I kidding? I just love being able to sit in the comfort of my own home eating popcorn and drinking a litre of coke.
As far as the older Evil Dead movies are concerned, one can sit and rewatch the first three movies, Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness, on HBO as well as AppleTV and Amazon Prime. The 2013 remake, however, is not available on HBO. It is available on Starz, YouTube, AppleTV, and Amazon Prime. Those who want to deep dive and watch the tv series as well, because that’s just how good the movies are, can do so on Netflix and Starz.
There is a lot of excitement and hype for the new Evil Dead movie, and understandably so. It has so far been a masterpiece of a franchise and has not disappointed even once, be it in movies or the tv show. With Lee Cronin joining the party, my expectations are even higher, considering how well he did in his film “The Hole in the Ground.”
Interestingly enough, “The Hole in the Ground” also follows a similar premise of a mother and her quest to find her lost son, who might not actually be her son. I can’t wait to see what magic Sam Raimi and Lee Cronin bring us with the new Evil Dead. I really hope they don’t do a surprise or soft release and we get to know about it only after it is released. Let us know your thoughts and theories about the film and the franchise in the comments below!