We are counting down to Halloween with Nerdipop’s top 80’s Horror Movies! Grab your striped sweater and hockey mask! Get ready for a stroll down memory lane!
First up the movie that made the book of the dead (also known as the Necronomicon) a household name and brought us the Deadites. This is none other than the horror movie classic that kicked off the careers of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, The Evil Dead.
Synopsis: Five college students take time off to spend a peaceful vacation in a remote cabin. A book and audio tape is discovered, and its evil is found to be powerful once the incantations are read out loud. The friends find themselves helpless to stop the evil as it takes them one by one, with only one survivor left with the evil dead who desperately tries to fight to live until morning.
Did you know?
Director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell were friends from high school, where they made many super-8 films together. They would often collaborate with Sam’s brother, Ted Raimi. Campbell became the “actor” of the group, as “he was the one that girls wanted to look at.”
The cabin was located in Morristown, Tennessee. In Bruce Campbell’s biography he says that it was later burned down. No one knows for sure what happened (Sam Raimi says that he burnt it down himself after filming). Additionally, no one will give out complete directions to the cabin because the only remaining part of the structure is the brick chimney, and too many people have already vandalized the property.
The blood is a combination of Karo syrup, non-dairy creamer, and red food coloring. At one point, Bruce Campbell’s shirt that he wears in the film was so saturated with the fake blood that after drying it by the fire, the shirt became solidified and broke when he tried to put it on.
Andy Grainger, a friend of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, gave them this advice: “Fellas, no matter what you do, keep the blood running down the screen.” They included the scene in the finished film where the blood runs down the projector screen as a tribute to him.
At the end of a ‘normal’ day of shooting, Bruce Campbell would return home in the back of a pickup truck because he was covered in fake blood from head to toe.
The opening sequence of the evil moving over the pond is actually Bruce Campbell pushing Sam Raimi in a dingy whilst he films the shot.
The cabin did not actually have a cellar. Most of the cellar scenes were filmed in the stone cellar of a farmhouse owned by producer Rob Tapert’s family in Marshall, Michigan. The last room of the cellar was actually Sam Raimi’s garage. The hanging gourds and bones are a tribute to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). For the scene where the students descend into the cellar, a hole was cut into the floor, a shallow pit was dug and a ladder was placed into the pit.
Because of the low budget, contact lenses as thick as glass had to be applied to the actors to achieve the “demonic eyes” effect. The lenses took ten minutes to apply, and could only be left on for about fifteen minutes because eyes could not “breathe” with them applied. Bruce Campbell later commented that to get the effect of wearing these lenses, they had to put “Tupperware” over their eyes.
During scenes involving the unseen force in the woods watching the characters, Sam Raimi had to run through the woods with the makeshift rig, jumping over logs and stones. This often proved difficult due to mist in the swamp.