The Evil Dead Remake Gets the Oscar (Re)Touch

When one mentions the words “cult horror”, the first film that jumps into many people’s minds is Sam Raimi’s 1981 horror/comedy The Evil Dead. The Evil Dead sparked two other successful films in Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness, and is highly regarded by many to be the apex of the horror/comedy genre. Rumors regarding the remake have been floating around online for quite some time, but Ghost House Pictures has finally pushed out an official press release, and it will undoubtedly cause a mixed reaction to fans of the 1981 film:

“Sam Raimi and original producing partners Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell (who also starred in the original franchise) are gearing up to remake their cult sensation THE EVIL DEAD through their long standing Ghost House Pictures partnership. Raimi and Tapert were such instant fans of Fede Alvarez’s short film “Panic Attack” that they set up a blind deal with the filmmaker and through that process have attached Fede Alvarez to write and direct the film. Alvarez wrote the script with Rodo Sayagues. Academy Award® winning screenwriter Diablo Cody is currently doing revisions on the draft. Ghost House is committed to renewing the franchise and has the film on the fast track.

Raimi, Tapert and Campbell will serve as producers. Ghost House Pictures partners Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane will executive produce. Nicole Brown and J.R. Young will oversee the project for Ghost House. Lionsgate will handle international sales on the film.

The three producing partners commented, “We are committed to making this movie and are inspired by the enduring popularity and enthusiasm for the ‘Evil Dead’ series. We can’t wait to scare a new generation of moviegoers using filmmaking techniques that were not available to us thirty years ago as well as Fede bringing a fresh eye to the film’s original elements.”

Raimi wrote, directed and, along with Tapert and Campbell, produced the original horror classic THE EVIL DEAD that tells the story of five twenty-something friends who become holed up in a remote cabin where they discover a Book Of The Dead. An archaeologist’s tape recording reveals that the ancient text was discovered among the Khandarian ruins of a Sumerian civilization. Playing the taped incantations, the youths unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival. THE EVIL DEAD spawned a franchise with the equally successful installments EVIL DEAD II and ARMY OF DARKNESS.”

The biggest news in all this has to be the fact that Academy Award winner Diablo Cody is giving the script a rewrite. Cody gained fame – and 21 awards – for her Juno script, and if that is one all knows of her, this may seem like an odd connection. However, during the same year Cody wrote Juno, she also penned the horror/comedy Jennifer’s Body, meaning Cody has experience in this genre.

I know I’ll be in the (vast) minority, but this news has gotten me excited to see this remake. Having just watched Jennifer’s Body earlier this week, I can see Cody’s style of humor being a perfect fit in an Evil Dead remake, assuming the director, Fede Alvarez, stays true to the style of the original. Cody has a knack for developing three-dimensional characters that would be fun to hang out with. Not only that, but she also makes them funny. Obviously Cody has a particular style that some do not appreciate, but anyone who enjoyed the atypical horror/comedy Jennifer’s Body should be excited to see that Cody is rewriting this script.

The other factor that has me feeling positive about the remake is that Raimi, Campbell, and Tapert (who join up for an excellent audio commentary on the Blu-ray release of the original film, by the way) are all on board. If the original writer, director, star, and producers are putting their energy behind this remake, it has my attention. This could just be another ploy to squeeze money from the cult fans into these men’s pockets, but if we get a quality horror/comedy out the mix, I’m all for it.

The way I see it, in a genre littered with remakes, it could get much worse than having an Academy Award winning screenwriter revising your script, and the creators of the original producing. Equally as promising: Diablo Cody tweeted “Re: EVIL DEAD. Fede Alvarez wrote a brilliant script. My job is easy. Have no fear. (Wait, do have fear.)” after the press release went live.

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Source: / Film