“Evil Dead”: The director and cast discuss the reinvention of a horror classic


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Take the first letters of all the character names in the new “Evil Dead” — David, Eric, Mia, Olivia, and Natalie — and it spells out “demon.” That’s just one of the many Easter eggs that the reboot of the franchise has to offer, according to director Fede Alvarez and producer Bruce Campbell (Ash!).

“You’re going to put on a nice, comfortable leather shoe here,” Campbell said. “It’s going to feel real familiar.”

Well, other than the gender reversal. The star of the new version, due out April 12, 2013, is Jane Levy, of the TV sitcom “Suburgatory” and the recent Halloween horror-lite film “Fun Size” (“That’s for kids,” she says). Campbell calls Levy (who plays Mia) “the new Ash.” “I hope she gets considered with the same respect and consideration that that idiot Ash does,” he said, noting that the gender switch allows her to carry on in his tradition without “some unnatural burden.” Also, he said, Sam Raimi’s idea behind the original “Evil Dead” — back when it was a short film shot on Super 8 called “Within the Woods” — was about a female protagonist. Alvarez said his treatment is a return to form.

“It’s a different story, but the same mythology,” Alvarez said. “The way it is for me, it’s very mythological, and it’s about women driving men insane. Usually in horror, it’s the other way around — it’s a girl running from some dude with an axe chasing her. ‘Evil Dead’ is one of the few where it’s completely the other way around, where the guys are freaking out and the girl is driving them crazy, because it’s the girl that turns first. I like the idea of women torturing men, psychologically, physically. That’s what we craved, and that’s one of the main ideas you’ll see in the movie.”

Alvarez co-wrote the reboot with his friend Rodo Sayagues, and then they brought in Diablo Cody (“Juno,” “Jennifer’s Body”) to punch up the dialogue and give it a female perspective. “As middle-aged men, we really don’t know how young people talk,” Campbell joked. “And she won a fucking Academy Award.” The story this time starts with the concept that Mia goes to her family cabin with her friends to try to kick a heroin habit. “You scream and get it out, and it’s a couple of bad days,” Campbell said. “But then the evil is unleashed.”

Knowing that not only would the film itself be scary, but making it could be scary, too, Campbell took a “fatherly” approach to the young actors, “letting them know what they were getting into,” he said. “I was like, ‘Don’t party, because you’re going to wear out. It’s going to be a long haul.’ Poor fuckers!”

“Bruce tried to scare me away,” Levy said. “He wanted to make sure I was up for the job, so at the audition he was like, ‘Do you know what it feels like to be buried alive? Do you know what it feels like to have tubes stuck down your throat to projectile vomit?'”

Luckily for Levy, she passed Campbell’s test. He claims that the film stands with the rest of the franchise, and anticipates double bills to show the original and the reboot at midnight screenings “for decades.” “I think they’re a great companion piece,” he said. “I know a lot of people were pissed when they heard about the remake, and I will be ready to accept everyone’s apology after you see it.”

What are you looking forward to most about “Evil Dead”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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