One of the things most fans recall about the original Evil Dead series is the campy, goofy attitude that developed throughout the series. Sure, there was generous portions of gore, but Raimi was equally inspired by Three Stooges-style slapstick. But don’t expect many laughs in the new Evil Dead; the remake is side-stepping the silliness of the later films, for a more straightforward scare-fest like the original.
Original star (and remake producer) Bruce Campbell feels the first movie was never intentionally funny, so it makes sense the retelling would play things straight. “The first one was only a funny movie because we were kinda hokey actors, delivering bad dialogue, not really knowing what we’re doing,” he admitted. “So it made it funny. But in this movie, they’re all better actors than we were.”
Of course, Evil Dead is still a movie, and a source of entertainment, even without much comedy. “We think the Evil Dead movies are fun for audiences,” explained Campbell. “The first one was very scary, the second one was kinda weird and loopy, and the third is an adventure movie with talking skeletons. They’re all over the place, but it’s still the Evil and the Dead– you can either be serious with this topic or not. Fede had a very straightforward approach, a very serious approach. If you’re laughing during this movie, it’s only nervous laughter. This is not a funny movie.”
New star Jane Levy didn’t find much to laugh about during the making of the film. “It was the worst time in my life,” she said, not joking. “I was so uncomfortable, in so much makeup, I looked disgusting, I was freezing cold, and tired and sad and I wanted to go home.”
The actress also questioned even the nervous laughter Campbell mentioned. “I think if there’s anyone who’s funny it’s Lou Taylor Pucci– he’s really great,” she said of her co-star. “But i haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t know what they’re talking about. I didn’t really feel like laughing. I felt like crying.”
The lack of comedy may come as a surprise considering the script was co-written by the witty, and often hilarious Diablo Cody, but Campbell asserted she was only brought in to “make sure that middle-aged men like us know what twenty-something people sound like.”
The grave and serious tone was part of director Fede Alvarez’ concept for the retelling, and Campbell and Raimi left a lot of decisions up to him. That’s fine by Campbell, as he feels the franchise couldn’t be in more capable hands. “This guy is really thinking this through, and he’s really serious,” said Campbell. “He wants to do a retelling of that same story. We got behind it, and Sam hand-picked Fede, so we have complete confidence in him.”
“We have even more now that we’ve seen it,” Campbell teased. “We were like ‘Jesus Christ, what did he do??’ In my opinion he did a spectacular job… this is an adult movie, this is old school horror. This movie’s gonna freak people’s shit out.”
Check back tomorrow as the creators of the Evil Dead discuss what it takes to film a great remake!