Fake Blood and True Grit: How Sam Raimi Made 1981’s ‘The Evil Dead’
June 11, 2021
Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about how Sam Raimi went out making his splatter masterpiece (splasterpiece?): 1981’s The Evil Dead.
When Sam Raimi made The Evil Dead he couldn’t even legally buy a beer. At 20 years old, Raimi mustered a gaggle of friends/suckers and made his way into the woods of Tennessee … in the dead of winter … to a bare-bones cabin coated in cow manure. Hell. Yeah.
What followed was, by all accounts, a comedy of errors by way of Lord of the Flies. Which, considering The Evil Dead‘s creative debt to The Three Stooges, feels a bit like life imitating art. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, one of the great charms of the original Evil Dead is that everything depicted in the film feels very real.
Like the teens in the film, the crew of The Evil Dead was trapped in a remote cabin, up against a seemingly unending volley of hardships. Only, instead of demonic possession, they were grappling with fundraising, frozen camera equipment, and an inexperienced director. When you watch the film, all of that comes across on-screen: a creepily tangible and electric quality that was a direct consequence of the chaos and creativity that was going on on-set.
The video essay below details the grueling and inspirational story behind the making of The Evil Dead, from the ruthless fundraising to having to was fake blood off your hands in the coffee machine.
Watch “How Sam Raimi Made a Splatter Masterpiece”:
Who made this?
This video on Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is by Andrew Saladino, who runs the Texas-based Royal Ocean Film Society. You can browse their back catalog of videos on their Vimeo account here. If Vimeo isn’t your speed, you can give them a follow on YouTube here.
More Videos Like This
- For more of the Royal Ocean Film Society’s work, check out their essay on the cult-like appeal of the Criterion Collection.
- Here’s Royal Ocean Film Society on the weird and wonderful world of fan edits.
- Further evidence of the Royal Ocean Film Society’s brilliance: why 3D’s failure is a tale as old as cinema itself.
- For more Sam Raimi content, here’s Queue favorite Ryan Hollinger waxing poetic on The Evil Dead trilogy.
- And here’s another favorite of this column, on the unique appeal of The Evil Dead‘s crude, low-budget practical effects.
- And finally here’s Patrick (H) Willems on Sam Raimi’s unique approach to horror-comedy.