Schlocky? Check. Scary? Very. But Sam Raimi's 1987 film had a sense of humor never before seen in the genre that set the director, then 27 and in "filmmaker's jail" with his collective, onto an A-list trajectory. Star Bruce Campbell, writer Scott Spiegel, producer Rob Tapert and more reveal the backstory of how their desperation forged a cult classic.
A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Before Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II opened in 1987, horror movies had one objective: to scare audiences. But when Raimi and his filmmaking collective -- actor Bruce Campbell, writer Scott Spiegel and producer Rob Tapert -- decided to remake their 1983 debut, The Evil Dead, they added the kind of Three Stooges-esque humor that informed the Super 8 shorts they shot together growing up in the suburbs of Detroit. Thanks to that injection of slapstick, Evil Dead II -- about a guy (Campbell) visiting a cabin in the woods that's besieged by demons -- became a horror classic and set Raimi on the road to eventually directing Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man films. And it all started because they were desperate for work.