Why Sam Raimi Put A Stop To Evil Dead 4: Consequences

The direction of the "Evil Dead" franchise has never been a meticulously planned venture, but the sudden appearance of an unauthorized sequel called "Evil Dead 4: Consequences" was particularly spontaneous. In a bizarre legal battle that serves as a case study in what happens when someone pays zero attention to copyright laws, Sam Raimi and his production company, Renaissance Pictures, stopped the production of a bootleg "Evil Dead" film back in 2012.

Since the legal incident, there have been numerous additions to the world of "Evil Dead." The "Evil Dead" remake-reboot film, directed by Fede Alvarez and released less than a full year after the conclusion of this lawsuit, proved that Raimi did have plans to return to the franchise in some way. In addition, the television series "Ash vs. Evil Dead" brought Bruce Campbell back to the iconic role of Ash Williams in 2015 until the show was tragically canceled in 2018. There's also the upcoming "Evil Dead Rise," produced by Renaissance mainstay Robert Tapert and set to premiere on HBO Max this year. At the turn of the decade, though, the public had heard little about anything "Evil Dead"-related. When Raimi decided to register the trademark in preparation for the "Evil Dead" remake, he found an obscure production company trying to block the filing.

The Consequences of Evil Dead 4

Glenn MacCrae, president of Award Pictures, was confident that his company could wrest control of the rights to "Evil Dead" based on a statement Raimi made in "The Evil Dead Companion" book, published in 2000. Raimi and producer Rob Tapert claimed that they were "never going to do a sequel," which Award argued was proof that the two gave up the rights to their franchise. In addition, Award also posited that Renaissance allowed the "Evil Dead" title to be used in "20 other motion pictures," according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, though what that specifically means is a mystery.

Unsurprisingly, Renaissance sued in May 2012 with the argument that Award was interfering with the making of the "Evil Dead" remake. The federal lawsuit didn't go far, as MacCrae and Award Pictures stated that they couldn't afford the right lawyer and never showed up in court. In response, the judge concluded that Award is:

"permanently enjoined from ... using the EVIL DEAD name or mark or any derivation or colorable imitations thereof ... as or as part of the title of a motion picture, television program, video game, play, book or any other form of entertainment provided or to be provided through any media."

The court also ruled that Award could not attempt to register the "Evil Dead" trademark or interfere with Renaissance's attempts to register "Evil Dead" as a trademark. In other words, the "Evil Dead" name belongs fully to Raimi and Renaissance Pictures, and MacCrae's company was banned from even implying that they might own the rights to the franchise. It's strange to even think about why MacCrae was so intent on making another "Evil Dead" film, and why he took a risk he obviously couldn't follow through with. The situation worked out for Raimi and Renaissance Pictures in the end, though, solidifying their legal hold on the property.