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“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.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

“Evil Dead” red-band trailer promises true horror

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It’s time for skeptics to learn why Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are so excited about the upcoming “Evil Dead” remake. The film looks like a bloody, gory mess in all the right ways, as is proved by the new red-band and very NSFW trailer.

“David, please, please — you have to get me out of here,” Jane Levy’s Mia tells her brother in the teaser. “You don’t understand: there was something in the woods, and I think it’s in here with us now.”

They don’t — or can’t — leave, and many, many bad things end up happening. From tree rape to the grossest girl-on-girl makeout scene we’ve ever seen, “Evil Dead” promises an exciting horror film in a genre that hasn’t been very fresh in recent years. That’s exactly what Campbell and Raimi want from the movie, too.

“The movie’s not funny. The movie is old-fashioned, retro horror. There’s not a snappy line in the whole movie,” Bruce Campbell recently said of “Evil Dead,” which he is producing. “The first movie wasn’t like that, and this is a remake of the first movie, so he’s really just matching the tone of the first movie, which is not, ‘Hardy har har.’”

“Evil Dead” hits theaters on April 12.

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

Talkative Driver Fred Armisen

Bring Earplugs

Check Out Portlandia’s Talkative Driver

Portlandia returns to IFC for its sixth season on January 21st at 10P.

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Need a lift? Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein hit the road with a ridesharing service that’s heavy on the small talk.

Check out the “Talkative Driver” series here and be sure to catch the return of Portlandia Thursday, January 21st at 10P.

Presented by Subaru.

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