At New York Comic Con, io9 chatted with the one and only Bruce Campbell, who's one of the producers for the 2013 remake of Sam Raimi's cult classic The Evil Dead.
In the course of our conversation, Bruce spun yarns about this remake's take on Evil Dead hero Ashley J. Williams, the new Deadites, and why this film won't be a giant exercise in nostalgic onanism.
How would you compare this new Evil Dead to the prior Evil Dead films?
Bruce Campbell: Remember, there's no humor in the first one. The first one is a melodrama. This is much back to that. There are no jokes. There's no trash-talking, it's an old-time, old-school horror movie. But the mythology is the same — there's the Necronomicon, you're fucking with the wrong book. The rules are the same with regards to bodily dismemberment — you have to burn them alive or chop them up.
How would you describe Mia (actress Jane Levy), the new protagonist in Evil Dead?
Bruce Campbell: She's just a regular person like Ash was. She's struggling with drug addiction — the character, not the actress — and she's going to dry out with a group of friends at her old family cabin. She hopes to get herself better, but the problem is the possession business starts when they find this nasty book that they should've left alone. People think she's just going through withdrawal, and that lets it get a little too far along the way. By the time they figure out what's happening, it's too late. It's a similar tragic story of five twentysomethings trying to survive the night.
How would you characterize the special effects for this film?
Bruce Campbell: It's mostly special effects make-up. The digital stuff is only to help when we need it. It's not the reason we're making this movie. It will all feel very real. You know, nail guns to the forehead. Don't forget, the whole first movie was a disaster. It was supposed to be six weeks and it went twelve weeks. It was the coldest winter on Tennessee's record. We came from Michigan to escape the winter, and Michigan ended up having one of the warmest winters on record. It was just a ridiculous, endless nightmare shoot.
Similarly, what sort of visual style does director Fede Alvarez employ here? [Ed's note: Here's our NYCC interview with Fede.]
Bruce Campbell: I don't want to give the style away, but know that Fede has made it his own. He's not imitating Sam and never intended to. Fans of Evil Dead should feel comfortable watching this movie, it's like putting on a comfortable, terrible pair of shoes. Fede's treating it not like an MTV superstar. It's not masturbatorial. By telling this story in an adult fashion — when the wacky shit happens — it's more horrifying than if he treated it like a big joke. Sam Raimi handpicked the director here. We were all over this movie like a cheap suit. We're as concerned as the fans are about not doing something to piss them off. We want to make two more of these. I want dueling trilogies! But you'd have to talk to Fede about that.
Were the cast Evil Dead fans coming in?
Bruce Campbell: They knew about it, but they were too young. None of them were born when we filmed Evil Dead.
Did you happen to see the tribute to Evil Dead in Cabin in the Woods [spoiler photo here]?
Bruce Campbell: Nope, I haven't seen it. But we accept that!
Finally, if you were to remake Bubba Ho-Tep in the style of this new Evil Dead, what would it look like?
Bruce Campbell: Well, I've read a sequel, but I didn't like it, so I'm not doing it. The things I didn't like are the things [Bubba Ho-Tep director] Don Coscarelli did like. It was tough to reconcile, so I suggested to Don, "Absolutely go make the movie." I wish him nothing but the best. Filmmakers have their own sensibility, but I didn't want to hold him back, with no malice.
The Evil Dead hits theaters April 12, 2013.