Many times, when a filmmaker tries to tackle a classic and remake/reboot it into a vision of their own, they miss the mark, especially when it comes to horror.
It’s fair to say when you’re dealing with a property like The Evil Dead - a franchise not just popular in the world of horror, but the world of cinema in general - the stakes are pretty high. Thankfully, after director Fede Alvarez (who would later direct 2016's Don’t Breathe) pitched and was approved by both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, he was able to create a final product that stayed true to the 1981 original, The Evil Dead, while still making it his own by bringing some fresh concepts to the table to horrify new and old audiences alike.
And with that, we will be taking a look behind the scenes and dishing up some fun facts on one of the more successful horror “remakes” out there, 2013's Evil Dead. Groovy.
The Director Claims No CGI Was Used In The Film
Much to the delight of fans of the original, this movie not only matched the graphic gore content, but surpassed it. What’s even more impressive is that, according to the director, no CGI was used. Instead, it was a combination of make-up, prosthetics, rigs, and fake blood. Since the actors were exposed to everything audiences saw in the final cut, rather than having to act with something that would be digitally added later, it allowed them to hone in on their craft and made for a very apt atmosphere overall whilst filming.
This was the choice of the director, Fede Alvarez, who stated in an interview:
Everything was intense. We decided to make [a] 100% free, GGI-free movie. So everything you see is real, so that really makes for a different experience, right? So everybody was exposed to real things all the time. So just standing there watching what we were doing was scary in itself, because it wasn’t something that, oh, you see it in the cut or you see it in the editing. No, you were standing there. Even without looking at the monitor, you will see pretty disturbing stuff.
The Movie Is Technically Not A Remake
Fans of the original The Evil Dead series know there was a pendulum wall clock mounted on the wall in the first two installments and Sam Raimi fans know he always puts a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 in his movies, which has since become the infamous ‘Ash car’ in the original franchise.
In addition to these two items making an appearance in this feature (with the actual clock that was used in the original), it has since been confirmed that what initially seemed to be Easter eggs for The Evil Dead fans turned out to be much more than met the eye. . . these items were there because this movie is, in fact, a continuation of the originals. This makes sense considering the different characters and circumstances they find themselves in.
It is probably best to hear it from director Fede Alvarez himself, who took to Twitter and put everyone’s debates to rest on whether the movie was a subtle sequel:
It continues the first one. The coincidences on events between the first film and mine are not coincidences, but more like dark fate created by the evil book. (Ash car is still there rusting away).
They Used 50,000 Gallons Of Blood In One Day
Unlike the original climax, this version decided to turn the ending up to eleven and have hell send everything it had upon the cabin, including a mammoth downpour of blood rain.
Not only did the movie surpass the 200-300 gallons of blood used in the original with a whopping 70,000 gallons used overall, but 50,000 gallons of that was used on the final scene alone. When you use 350 times more blood in a remake of a movie infamous for its gore, that’s quite the achievement.
Jane Levy Went Crazy On Camera For Five Minutes For The Cellar Scene
A lot of the actors were given free rein to experiment or improv on this picture, but no one more than Jane Levy, who credited her performance to the production itself:
It’s a real safe movie to be able to try things, I think. I’m a recovering drug addict and I’m becoming possessed. I don’t think anything is too crazy.
Levy gave her absolute all and went against the cliché grain. Her dedication to her character, Mia, is probably best highlighted when they were shooting a scene where she was possessed.
In the movie, there is a brief clip of Mia going crazy down in the cellar. In actuality, whilst filming, Levy stayed in character, pulling all sorts of demonic expressions, for a full five minutes before asking them to cut. Fede Alvarez stated in an interview about the original footage:
I think the shot is probably five minutes long and she doesn’t stop.