Preface: I, like I am sure many of you, oppose a reboot/remake of Sam Raimi‘s cult classic Evil Dead. Personally the original three movies stand as classics (with Evil Dead II the end all be all,) a horror holy trinity and should be left well enough alone. Enter Bruce Campbell. Taking to the stage at this years New York Comic-Con Mr. Campbell was tasked with convincing all of us that the new rebooted/remade Evil Dead is a good thing. The hard sell took the full 30 minutes for the record.
the only Ash there will ever be Bruce Campbell on stage was the reboot’s director, Fede Álvarez, and not Ash the films lead character, Jane Levy. The mission, convince everyone in attendance that a ‘new’ Evil Dead is exactly what we want. Did they succeed? Hit the jump to see (possible spoilers)!
The above is the first official image from the film, a clear call back to a classic scene. What the new Evil Dead promises to be is more hard horror than humorous (or as Campbell describes it ‘Splat-Stick’.) Yes, footage was shown, and as I was just watching via NYCC’s Twitch TV live stream, it was blacked out. In light of that here is a description lovingly stolen from i09.com:
First, we saw the iconic cabin, which is introduced with the iconic Sam Raimi low-angle tracking shot. A group of new kids and Jane Levy push open the old cabin door, revealing leaves, dirt and a grubby cabin floor. Jane looks beat as hell and ready for her night of heroin withdraw (yes they are keeping the plot similar to the original). A trap door is discovered. A boy heads down the stairs and discovers THE NECRONOMICON! Sadly, we didn’t get the money shot of the new book cover; all we saw was a book wrapped in black plastic, someone ripping into it and the familiar old pages. The character starts flipping through the Necronomicon, rubbing a pencil over the strange words. He recites the enchanted phrases. Jane lets out an insane high-pitched scream and then states, “We’re all going to die tonight.” This was already cut together pretty quickly; now things get even faster, so we’re only getting flashes of the gore. I spot a girl in the shower cutting up the sides of her mouth, while one of her cabinmates screams, “What are you doing?” Another girl’s arm looks like it’s covered in boils, and she takes an electric carving knife to her bicep. Someone starts up a chainsaw (the crowd goes insane at this). Cut to another girl trapped in the woods, wrapped with branches. Yep, the raping tree is back. Jane returns with white eyes, white skin and a black tongue, which she sticks out, provocatively licking an exposed knife. Slowly the knife starts splitting her tongue in half. She’s doing this right in front the boil armed girl’s face. The crowd goes wild.
And that’s it. At some point the worlds “Evil Lives Again” were splashed across the screen.
Past that I really hate to say it but the focus of the panel seemed to only be to sell Evil Dead fans on this new retelling of a classic. Campbell made large proclamations of declaring Levy the ‘new Ash’, offering to crown her that on the stage at that moment, should it be what fans want. Campbell also calls the movie a ‘comfortable shoe’, that true fans will find the new movie easily accessible.
It is worth noting that when Campbell asked if fans wanted him to reprise his role as Ash and continue the franchise, it was met with cheers. Regardless of how many times Campbell called the new movie ‘a time for something fresh’ or saying that they want to make sure they ‘don’t screw this up’ and saying that he is ‘in every frame of the [new] movie in spirit’ – there was a course of boos as the trio walked off the stage.
This new Evil Dead is clearly a whole new take on the subject matter. Lets accept that. Álvarez has made his movie. Bruce Campbell has asked us to accept it. If what we see on screen on April 12 2013 is not what we want, the good news is we still have three movies that preceded it that do. That, and the few flippant comments that Campbell made that will fuel internet rumors for years.