Back in the year 1979 a group of teenagers set out to produce a film together, the main members of note were Bruce Campbell: a man who would eventually be well known for the film in question and appearing in fantastic and always funny cameos in the Spider-Man trilogy, and Sam Raimi, a man who would be well known for making the memorable trilogy in the first place.
Evil Dead was made in 1981 on a shoestring budget and a number of questionable loans, but wound up becoming a cult-classic that swept the nation. Then it became a trilogy that became full of iconic dark humor before rebooting with a dark story-line akin to the original in 2013 as a television series.
For decades, fans of Ashley J. Williams and the Deadites have explored the deep history of the film’s production, hoping to get to know everything there is about the gore-fest that horror buffs can never keep quiet about, from on-set accidents, actor shenanigans, to easter eggs and references to other horror franchises.
So in this article we’re going to be covering a solid 15 facts you didn’t know about the Evil Dead franchise, spanning across 35 years and all four films, and of course the new hit TV show on Starz.
15. A Dedicated Act
As one can assume, many teenagers in the late 1970’s liked to take the occasional drug-trip. Hence why it’s no surprise that there’s a scene in the original film where Ashley, Cheryl, Scott, Linda, and Shelly are all smoking marijuana.
But what some fans may not know is that the take used in the film was done a day after they’d intended it to be because of a re-shoot. When everyone was getting ready for the shot, someone in the cast had the bright idea that everyone should actually get high to give a realistic performance, naturally this made keeping everyone in check during filming a nightmare, so the shoot was cancelled for the day.
14. Saucer Contact Lenses
As mentioned previously, The Evil Dead was made on a very thin budget. This meant that director Sam Raimi had to cut a few corners wherever he could.
One way he cheaped out on production value was with the contact-lenses that actors had to wear whenever they were possessed by Deadites. The cast still commonly compares them to being like teacup saucers placed in their eyes. This complicated things during filming as well, as anyone wearing the lenses couldn’t actually see.
In fact, there’s a scene filmed that wasn’t actually put in where Cheryl is swinging around a pencil trying to stab a character. Raimi’s advice to the actress? Try not to actually hit anything but make it look like you’re trying to.
13. What’s In A Name
Believe it or not, but if you pay close attention throughout the original trilogy, there’s no point in any of the films where they say Ash’s full name, only calling him “Ash” or “Ashley.”
During filming, Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi played around with a few names, commonly calling the character Ash Holt as an immature joke before settling on the more believable Ashley J. Williams.
12. Spider-Man’s Budget
Normally anyone who hears the name Sam Raimi typically associates it with the Spider-Man trilogy from 2002-2007.
This was a big step up for the director who started out in an actually decrepit cabin in Massachusetts. In fact, after running the numbers many people concluded that Spider-Man cost just over 1,000 times more money to produce. A big leap indeed.
11. Stephen King, Voice Of Reason
When the original production wrapped up in 1981, Raimi and co. were doubtful that the film would reach the level of fame that it eventually received. This was achieved by help from none other than famed author Stephen King, who made sure that he helped spread the word about this fantastic film.
When time came for a sequel, he came to the call once again and convinced his friend Dino De Laurentiis over dinner to have his production company finance the film.
10. Friday the 13th
One thing that fans of the Friday the 13th franchise loved was the highly anticipated crossover with A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Following this was rumors of a sequel including Evil Dead hero Ash Williams. Unfortunately this was in the works but fell through due to disagreements as to whether or not Ash should die at the end of the film.
However, the films are still connected. During Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis can be found clearly in the middle of one shot during the film.
9. The Ending
Most fans of Army of Darkness are aware of the alternate ending originally intended by Raimi, but not as many know how that would have played into the sequel.
Yes, Sam Raimi had intended a sequel to Army of Darkness, but the two different endings complicated things, causing him to solidly consider a follow-up film revolving around both endings simultaneously. Of course, this was abandoned as it would be too confusing for the audience.
8. The Comic Series
Not commonly known by viewers of the trilogy, but strongly enjoyed by those that do, is the Army of Darkness comic series, which began in 2004.
The series picks up where the Army of Darkness film ends, and continues on carving its own path. The comic continues on even now, and features amazing crossovers with other horror icons like Jason Voorhees, the Re-Animator, and Freddy Kreuger.
7. “Demon” Is Shorter Than “Deadite”
In 2013, rumors of a reboot that’d plagued the internet for nearly a decade finally came to fruition under Ghost House Pictures. Sadly the film didn’t do as well as many had hoped for, but still included some interesting facts and trivia nonetheless.
Such as how by combining the character’s names David, Eric, Mia, Olivia, and Natalie, you get the word demon, which doesn’t technically match the original films but it’s much shorter to make work than “Deadite.”
6. Shot In Order… Mostly
The production of The Evil Dead reboot was considerably higher than the original film, though that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any budgetary cuts taken.
Most of the film was recorded in order to avoid the cost of cleanup, making day by day filming much faster.
5. Ashes to Ashes
One thing many people noticed about the remake is the absence of protagonist Ashley J. Williams.
It’s commonly accepted that Sam Raimi requested the character’s exclusion, but this is incorrect and he actually looked forward to seeing Ash brought back to the big screen. It was actually Bruce Campbell who was adamant about the character not being brought back, and his wish was respected.
Since its announcement, The Evil Dead has been explained as a reboot or a remake of the original, but this is questionable throughout the course of the film.
During moments where the Necronomicon is read aloud, Professor Raymond Knowby’s voice can be heard. In addition, the cabin is modeled very closely to the original.
Plus, the post-credit scene includes Ash’s return which was actually intended as a larger cameo wherein he’s the one who gives Mia a lift on her way out of the cabin… before she turns into a Deadite and Ash blows her brains out.
3. The Classic
Yet another reference to the original film is the inclusion of the classic Delta 88 outside the cabin; Sam Raimi’s personal vehicle which has used in all Evil Dead films, as well as Spider-Man, Darkman, and Drag Me To Hell.
2. The Evil Dead IV
Before discussion began of an Evil Dead series, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell had hoped to make a film sequel, and they’d talked about what the plot should be for about two decades.
Of course that produced a lot of ideas that couldn’t be fit into an 80-minute run time, hence why the sequel became a series instead.
1. Crossovers Ahoy!
With Ash vs Evil Dead on a hiatus, there are rumblings in the horror community about crossovers in the show’s future, thanks to the previously mentioned inclusion of the Necronomicon in Friday the 13th, Freddy’s glove seen in the cabin’s basement, and of course because of the previously cancelled Freddy vs Jason vs Ash film.
So would Ash be crossing hairs with a few other heavy hitters of horror? Only time will tell.