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New 'Evil Dead' Homages Original

24 Jul, 2013 By: Stephanie Prange

‘Evil Dead ‘director Fede Alvarez and actress Jane Levy at Sony Pictures’ Blu-ray launch party at Comic-Con.

SAN DIEGO — It’s hard to classify director Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead, produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who directed and starred in the original, respectively.

Is it a remake, a sequel, a reimagining?

“The characters live in the same universe,” noted Alvarez of his first film as a director. “But at the end of the day, it has all the characteristics of a remake too. That’s why it’s something in between a sequel and a remake. It’s a requel.”

The 2013 version of Evil Dead, available now on Blu-ray Disc and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, features another group of young people who go to a remote cabin and find the evil Book of the Dead. As in the original, all hell and goriness breaks out.

Raimi’s 1981 original The Evil Dead is known for its wild, somewhat campy, off-kilter mood.

“We were a little bit campy, too,” Alvarez said. “When you’re going for over the top, it’s always going to end up a little bit funny at some point. Sam was never trying to be funny, He said he was trying the make the scariest movie he could.”

Alvarez’s film opens with an upside down camera shot, just to prepare the audience for the craziness about to ensue.

“That lets you know it’s going to be a weird ride,” he said. “The original movie was weird, and this one is weird, too. One of my memories of the original is the camera kind of falls back, crosses the room and ends up upside down. It’s one of the things people associate with that film, so it was a fun way to start mine.

“There are a lot of shots where you feel the wall is closing in,” he added, noting movies doin’t usually have both hand held and steady shots. “Everything was to throw you off balance.”

Alvarez and star Jane Levy, who plays Mia, appeared at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International to support the film’s disc release.

“It’s really fascinating to watch what goes into making a movie like this,” Levy said in reference to the extras on the discs. “With a horror film, it takes a lot of amazing artists to create these moments. Everything down to the scars they put on my arm, it’s so much fun to look at.”

To make her debut as the possessed Mia, Levy was literally immersed in special effects.

“I had a lot of fun preparing to make this film, going to the special effects house in Los Angeles and getting my whole body cast,” she said. “I was nervous. I had this weird mantra that came into my head when they were putting the cast on my head. You can’t hear or anything. I kept telling myself my mom loves me.”

“It was cool to walk around on set. You would see all of our body parts everywhere,” she added.

Special features on the release include a commentary with Alvarez, Levy, stars Lou Taylor Pucci and Jessica Lucas, and writer Rodo Sayagues; “Making Life Difficult,” chronicling the exhaustive process of making the film; “Being Mia,” about Levy’s makeup and performance as Evil Mia; “Directing the Dead,” profiling Alvarez’s re-imagining of a cult horror classic; “Unleashing the Evil Force,” exploring the new version of The Book of the Dead; and “Evil Dead the Reboot,” featuring cast Rehearsals, Bruce Campbell and more.

Will there be a sequel to the requel?

“We’re talking about it; we’re trying to figure it out,” Alvarez said. “ At the end of the day, if there’s a relevant story to be told there, we’d do it. We’re not going to do it just because the first one was successful. That definitely is not a good motivation. That leads to bad sequels. But if we find a great story that we realize has to be told to understand the first one better, to understand where the characters go, then we’d do it.”

There have also been reports that Sam Raimi is planning another sequel in his series.

“Since I met him, he’s always talking about it. He’s the No. 1 fan of Evil Dead,” Alvarez said.

Could the two series mix a la Marvel superheroes in The Avengers?

“That’s the dream sequel that we will combine both universes in a final film — as long as you do it in a way that, if you haven’t seen the original, you get it anyway.” Alvarez said.

Mia and Ash (a character from Raimi’s series) would make for some great chemistry, Levy said.

“I have this perverted idea that they are going to have a love affair,” she said.

“Me, too,” added Alvarez.

“You know kindred spirits, They’ve gone through similar stuff, and you know they meet,” she said.

“He’s the only one that would understand Mia and vice versa,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez was careful not to change the rules set down by the original film, making such an endeavor possible. He didn’t want to change the mythology, just add to it.

“In the original they talk about dismemberment as one of the ways out of the curse, right, so in this one we made sure that that was there, but we came up with two new ones,” he said. “We had new rules, but we kept the rules of the original one.”

As for that iconic Book of the Dead, Alvarez decided to let is speak for itself.

“We never say it’s bound in human flesh and inked in human blood, but you can tell by looking at it,” he said. “The fans, once they see it is wrapped in barbed wire, they know it’s the book.

“I have it in my living room,” he added.

And he’s not the only one with a souvenir.

“I got a chainsaw,” Levy said.

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