How do you make an Evil Dead movie after Cabin in the Woods?

In the new Evil Dead movie, five teenagers go to a cabin in the woods, and wind up raising something... sinister. Does that sound familiar? It's basically the premise of Cabin in the Woods, the horror spoof that Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon put out last year. Was Evil Dead director Fede Alvarez nervous about the similaries? We asked him.

This is just part of the exclusive Evil Dead interviews we did over the weekend at Wondercon. Stay tuned for more about the making of this gruesome and insane film!

The movie Cabin in the Woods just came out about a year ago. Did you worry about putting out another movie with the sort of premise that Cabin in the Woods was poking fun at?

I don't think it is [making fun of these sorts of movies]... I watched Cabin in the Woods while I was still shooting the movie. I was so happy that it was just going to a different thing, and it wasn't really a horror movie, right? It's a smart comedy that talks a lot about horror. Right? It's a very smart comedy. And I'm happy that we're on their route, in a way. I don't think they're saying there's nothing there for me. I don't think they're saying horror movies are stupid. They're saying, "Horror movies happen because this is going on. This is the reason why all these stories happen." I think that movie was a love letter to horror movies. So I was never [worried].

On a similar note, there have been a lot of horror comedies since the original Evil Dead films, including the Scream and Scary Movie franchises. Do you think horror-comedy, as a combined genre, has changed in the last 20 years?

They're like different things I guess. A good horror movie — it doesn't matter how many comedy horror films there have been before. Doesn't matter how much you think it's going to be funny. A good horror movie will scare the hell out of you... the moment you sit down and you start being exposed to that story, it's going to freeze your blood. And I think that's what a good horror movie can make. It doesn't matter how many comedy horror [films] you watch. If you sit down and watch The Exorcist, it's going to be scary. I don't think it changes anything. There's room for so many things in life. There's room for those movies, and there's room for the straightforward horror movies. And at the end of the day, I think if you create something new and fresh and it's disturbing and scary, doesn't matter how many comedies there have been before, it works.

Do audiences have shorter attention spans now? Do you have to move faster, to get the scares or the funny parts?

Yeah, definitely. Movies in the 1970s and 1980s will take more time to set up, and use a little more of a slow burn. But this one is a little bit of a slow burn. The first half of the film is quite a slow burn into horror. It doesn't quite kick in until the middle of the film. But when it goes, it goes. It never stops. We were trying to be very old-school in the whole approach, and trying to be as classic as we could.