Seriously, this is some quality filmmaking here, that happens to also be terrifying. Even my mom likes it.
Some reasons it is awesome:
The shots and culture of Utqiaġvik/Barrow, Alaska.
The vampires are unlike other vampires. They are almost alien and have their own language. “[A] fictional vampire language, with click consonants, was constructed with the help of a professor of linguistics and the nearby University of Auckland. [Director David] Slade explained, ‘We designed this really simple language that didn’t sound like any particular accent that you would be aware of.'”
The graphic novels are also beautiful and horrifying.
After years bereft of decent YouTube content of Sam Raimi that goes beyond sound bites into what I really want which are hours of hearty in-depth interviews to geek out on, it finally occurred to me to search podcast archives with the idea that this format allows for longer conversations and perhaps, for Raimi, more comfort because it’s audio-only.
I found two. They are both fantastic, and between them, they arguably contain more Raimi time than all of YouTube combined.
Filmmaker Sam Raimi is a true geek God. Decades later after the original Evil Dead, he has returned to the franchise with the new Starz TV series Ash vs. Evil Dead. Sam chats with Josh about all things Evil Dead from the very early beginnings to the brand new chapter in the series.
Highlights (you have to HEAR them; it’s all in the delivery; just trust me and do it):
16:30: “Your protagonists tend to suffer a great deal… I guess that’s good drama though, in a way.”
“I think it’s more my recognition of a sickness the audience has that I am simply trying to cure.”
31:49: “What do you think your best performance in film has been… I have a fondness for Hudsucker Proxy which I know you co-wrote, and you appear, you’re one of the two kind of idea men.”
(Quoting the film.) “‘An idea man. I like the whole idea of the idea man idea.'”
42:00: His whole story of getting the Spider-man gig is precious.
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“[Comedy and horror are] the genres that cause the most visceral reactions.”
“While their aims are very different, comedy and horror both affect us on a base level—that sets them apart from other genres.”
“Unlike most horror comedies that have funny parts and scary parts, here [in Evil Dead II] the funny parts are the scary parts, and vice versa.”
“What Raimi recognizes is that the construction of a scare is more or less the same as the construction of a laugh—there’s a setup, and a payoff.”
“His brand of manipulation rests on knowing how we will react to certain things, and aiming to put us through a sort of fun house experience, eliciting the most visceral reaction possible.”
Bruce Campbell has been killing it as the iconic Ash Williams on the Starz TV series Ash vs. Evil Dead. But before the TV show, there was the Evil Dead trilogy, directed by Sam Raimi. Today, we’re talking about 10 random facts you may not know about the second Evil Dead film, starting with…
“I have found that when the audience is set up for a sequence of suspense, and they expect a scare, oftentimes you can give them a punchline instead, and the buildup to that punchline can work as a suspense sequence.
“The construction of a suspense sequence is very similar to the construction of a joke. And in a horror film, that suspense sequence is capped with a scare, and in a joke, it’s capped with an unexpected punchline, and I find the two can be interchangeable.”
Being a horror fan isn’t easy. You fall in love with a no-bullshit, nightmare-inducing killer, then the next thing you know he’s in Manhattan, going to hell, or bumbling around in space. It was probably never John Carpenter’s intention to have the ultimate opponent of Michael Myers be Mr. Break Ya Neck, either.
This is a fascinating and almost entirely well-researched piece with a huge error.
I hate to be the pedant here (though really I love it) but it did NOT start with Nightmare (however it did start with Wes Craven).
Sam Raimi explains the true origins here, in this video I’ve seen just once or twice, starting at 4:14:
Any discussion of Spider-Man 3 is inevitably a discussion of where your loyalty lies.
This was by far my favorite Spider-Man film, the only one worth watching more than once. And that is because Sam Raimi made it his. (He directed the three, and was little more than a pawn of the production company’s for the first two.) And while I’m pretty indifferent to Spider-Man, I am a stringent devotee (read: gushing fangirl) of Sam Raimi’s.
I’m not the only one. One of the only, perhaps, but not the only.
(And for the record, that dance sequence was lame only if lame in this case is a euphemism for AWESOME.)
It was so cold, and I couldn’t stand the torture of freezing to death so slowly, so I crawled outside and lay down to die in the cold, but Rob the poor bastard covered me with a blanket and here I am today.
Ben: It says here that civet cat season is 12 hours long.
Lucas: That’s right.
Ben: What the hell is a civet cat?
Lucas: They kill them for the perfume.
Ben: Who does?
Lucas: Whoever comes in and applies for a license.
Ben: Not one single civet cat hunter has ever asked me for a license.
Lucas: I believe they’re extinct, that’s why.
Ben: Then do I need to keep the forms?
Nancy: Were you in a mental hospital?
Nancy: How long were you in the mental hospital?
Hank: Three and a half years.
Nancy: Have you ever considered suicide?
Nancy: Why were you in the mental hospital?
Hank: I tried to kill myself.
“I love the Spider-Man character. And that’s what’s at the heart of it. That’s why I really love it. But there’s another fun thing that I never had before where you make your movie and a lot of people see it and they seem to like it. So it’s like oh my god, I’ve always been the nerd, lame ass guy on the side, but I made something that a lot of people like. I know that won’t last for long, and I’m obviously riding the Spider-Man thing. He’s a popular character for 40 years. So anyone who makes a Spider-Man movie gets to make a popular movie. But it’s fun to be popular, even if it’s a brief, lame thing, and even though I know it’s not important. I can’t help it. It’s really fun and I know how quickly things turn in Hollywood.”
“And it was great making movies in college because if you made the right movie you’d get this cigar box full of $5 and $1 bills, you’d have like 500 bucks after a weekend. And it was like oh my god, we’re rich! We’ve got to make another picture. But if the movie bombed, you spent a lot of money on the movie, on the ads at the State news, renting the theater, lugging these heavy speakers, the projector bulbs, [and] it was a washout, you realize this movie is not making money. I’m broke. I’ve got to make the movie that they want to see. So it was a great learning experience.”
“I think if people love the source material, and that’s really whey they’re making the movie, then that’s a natural outcome. That the things we all love, and work with the creators of the movie to save the things that were so effective. I think it’s situations where people don’t love the material, they just say, oh that was a big hit, it could be a big hit here. It’s just generalizing. Things got lost if you don’t understand why people like a thing. When you love something, it’s easy to say, ‘That’s my son, cut out his heart? No, he needs the heart.’ It’s harder when you don’t love the thing yourself.”
…Sam [Raimi] wanted the climactic sword fight to play out as elegantly as a Fred Astaire movie and he wanted it all in one crane shot.
I must have rehearsed the routine for three weeks, but when it came time to shoot, the rigors of running up and down steps, fighting with both hands, and flipping skeletons over my head was too much to pull off without cuts. After ten takes, I knew Sam was pissed off, because he yanked the bullhorn from John Cameron.
‘Okay, obviously, this is NOT WORKING, and it’s NOT GOING TO WORK, so we’re going to break it up into A THOUSAND LITTLE PIECES.’
When Sam gets upset, he lets you know it, and he’ll torture you for days afterward because he’s one of those guys who never forgets. The first ‘little piece’ of the sequence was a shot of me ducking as a sword glances off the stone wall behind me.
‘So, you think you can do this, Bruce?’ he’d say, loud enough for the entire crew to hear. ‘Or should I break this ONE shot into THREE MORE SHOTS?’
Sam also threatened to put Ash in a chorus line with skeletons.
Bruce Campbell, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions Of A B Movie Actor (re Army of Darkness)