Director Lee Cronin Used Army Of Darkness' Necronomicons To Help Construct Evil Dead Rise

"Evil Dead Rise," the latest film in the "Evil Dead" horror franchise, is setting itself up to be one ferociously fun flick. The trailers revealed glimpses of our new hero, Beth (Lily Sullivan) wielding a chainsaw, we've seen her with the boomstick, and there's a freaky new take on the Necronomicon Ex Mortis — the Book of the Dead. 

The red-band trailer promises that this "Evil Dead" entry will be as gory and gross as the rest of the franchise, and its version of the book seems to reflect the film's extra teeth (literally!). So what's up with this new Necronomicon? Is it the same one discovered by Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) in the woods back in the 1980s? Is it the one from Fede Álvarez's 2013 reboot, found by Mia (Jane Levy) and her friends? Or is it some new, third thing, bringing new lore to the world of Kandarian demons and Deadites? 

In an interview with Empire Magazine, writer and director Lee Cronin revealed the origins of the newest Necromicon, and it turns out that the inspiration comes directly from "Army of Darkness." This isn't a franchise known for having easily followable continuity, but that's definitely a pretty great way to cement this new entry within the "Evil Dead" universe.

Multiple books - it's canon!

The newest Necronomicon, which features teeth, veins, and human flesh bindings, is one nasty-looking piece of literature. The team behind "Evil Dead Rise" started work on the book as soon as pre-production started, because they knew the Necronomicon is vital for a good "Evil Dead" story. It's also important for the book to be appropriately scary, and franchise star Bruce Campbell hyped up "Evil Dead Rise" being "all about the Necronomicon." Cronin revealed the inspiration behind this particular iteration of the Book of the Dead:

"In one of the early meetings I had with Sam Raimi, I said, 'You know the way in "Army Of Darkness," there's three [Necronomicons]? You had one, Fede had one, I'm going to take the other one.' It gave me that platform to nudge things forward, and also to showcase that we live in a world where there is more than one copy of the Necronomicon. Those books may all have slightly different personalities — it's not exactly the same book, necessarily, that Ash had in the cabin. But it's very, very firmly related. It could even be more dangerous..."

"Army of Darkness" is sometimes only hinted at in the "Evil Dead" franchise canon because of rights issues, but Cronin's reveal that the three books from that film are canon in the new film sets up the potential for all kinds of future hijinks. A sequel to "Evil Dead Rise" could even feature multiple books, maybe crossing over with the Starz series or the 2013 film, introducing Beth to Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and Pablo (Ray Santiago) or even Mia, if they could convince Levy to come back

This book's a 'bastard cousin'

The new Necronomicon is a little bit different from its predecessors, missing the full facial features of the original book and the grotesque stitching of the version from the 2013 remake, but it's got plenty of its own freaky flair. There are veins all over the fleshy cover, and a set of sharp teeth serve as the locking mechanism that holds the book closed. Cronin revealed that work on the book took somewhere close to three months, and that it was a unique work of art:

"It's all completely hand-made, hand-drawn. It's got a different visual style to what you've seen before internally. I even brought in little hints of Celtic influences and different things to give it a hell of a lot of personality. It's the bastard cousin of the other books, and they're the bastard cousin of this."

Both of the other Necronomicons are filled with terrifying drawings, weird glyphs, and strange languages, so drawing from ancient Celtic influence is a neat new touch. The original and reboot versions both have Latin and Sumerian, but it will be interesting to see if there's any Gaelic in the new film. Does this mean that the Leprechaun from "Leprechaun" could be a Deadite?! 

"Evil Dead Rise" will claw its way into theaters on April 21, 2023.