Sam Raimi Had Two Requests For Evil Dead Rise Director Lee Cronin

To begin with a fun, personal anecdote: 

This author was exiting a screening in Hollywood, California when he spotted the preeminent film critic Leonard Maltin in the halls of the theater. He was idly looking at a pair of posters for upcoming film releases. The poster for Fede Álvarez's them-upcoming 2013 film "Evil Dead" was displayed on the wall next to Andy Fickman's upcoming 2012 family comedy "Parental Guidance," starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. The tagline for "Parental Guidance" was a whimsical "Here come the grandparents, there go the rules." Meanwhile, "Evil Dead" sported the bold assertion "THE MOST TERRIFYING FILM YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE." Maltin, tapping into his inner bon vivant, proposed that the two films ought to swap taglines. It would certainly apply, he felt, to "Parental Guidance." 

The 2013 version of "Evil Dead" was a remake of Sam Raimi's 1981 low-low-budget cult classic "The Evil Dead" about a group of friends who run afoul of demons at a remote cabin in the woods. Raimi's "The Evil Dead," its two sequels, and spinoff TV series are frequently held in high esteem by young horror lovers and remain excellent examples of how to make low-budget films look and feel energetic and exciting. They also serve as a lesson on how horror tropes can be effectively accented using the language and timing of slapstick comedy. The 2013 film kept a lot of Raimi's enthusiasm for blood, but removed a lot of the more slapstick elements to insert, well, more blood. One of the final scenes of "Evil Dead" depicts one person chainsawing another person's head lengthwise while blood literally rains from the sky.

The 2013 film was a modest hit, and the Necronomicon will be opened once again in April of 2023 with Irish writer/director Lee Cronin's spinoff, "Evil Dead Rise."

Evil Dead Rise

According to a 2022 interview with Empire Magazine, Lee Cronin wanted to pay his proper respects to Sam Raimi's original two films, a double feature he says he watched with his father when he was only nine years old. The first film was initially rated X, and has since been rated NC-17 (meaning in the United States that no children under 17 are permitted to see it) for its pervasive levels of blood and gore. The sequel was rated R, making it safe for someone under 17, provided a guardian is present. The original was included on England's notorious list of Video Nasties. In the case of the quite silly and very funny "Evil Dead" movies, violating the rating suggestions is more like an impish act of punk rebellion. It seems that Cronin's father was quite open-minded and eager to share something over the edge with his child. Cronin's father is, according to Empire, now 80 and saw how taking his son to a double feature led directly to filmmaking work as an adult. 

Prior to filmmaking, however, Cronin was issued a pair of edicts by Raimi, who serves as executive producer on "Evil Dead Rise." In Raimi's words, Cronin was to "Make sure there's a book involved, and make sure there are good Deadites." The action in the three "Evil Dead" movies is always instigated by dark magic flowing from the Necronomicon, an evil tome bound in human flesh and inked in blood. Reading from the book summons Deadites, a flock of demonic monsters that can take possession of humans, alive or dead. Raimi and his crew created some rather impressive makeup and designs for the monsters and insisted they remain terrifying.

What about Ash?

Lee Cronin has, according to Empire, made good on his promise, saying: 

"What I love about the 'Evil Dead 'is that these aren't just mindless zombies. They talk [and] taunt. [...] There's more Deadite dialogue than ever before."

Empire also reported that Cronin, to keep the series' quota of blood, made 6,500 liters — about 1,700 gallons — of the stuff in a specialized blending lab. 

"Evil Dead Rise" is not a direct sequel to the 2013 film, but will follow the experiences of sisters Beth and Ellie, played by Lily Sullivan and Alyssa Sutherland, and Ellie's three young children, as they discover the evils of the Necronomicon in a cramped apartment in Los Angeles. Contrary to the previous movies, this will be the first "Evil Dead" flick to be set in a big city. One might immediately intuit, however, that any city-bound resources will not aid in the fight against Deadites. 

Bruce Campbell, the star of the first three "Evil Dead" movies as well as the spinoff TV series "Ash vs. Evil Dead" bears no credits on "Evil Dead Rise" other than as an executive producer. This doesn't discount the possibility, however, for a cameo appearance; Campbell did appear after the credits of the 2013 film to deliver his signature catchphrase "Groovy." It's also been established that "Evil Dead Rise" is indeed set in the same universe

So long as the filmmakers are enthused, the blood levels remain high, the humor remains intact, and the budget remains constrictively low, there's no reason not to keep making films under the "Evil Dead" banner for generations. "Evil Dead Rise" is merely another iteration of a now well-worn series. Long may they reign.