Posts Tagged ‘Evil Dead’

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Censorshit

March 22, 2014

Well, as both a fan of horror and a believer in the independent D.I.Y. spirit, nothing makes me cringe more than when the hysterics starts to holler “think of the children” ’cause by now I am fully aware it’ll always come back and bite the adults as well as the independents right in the ass. Nothing makes this more clear than the announcement of BBFC‘s coming new guidelines in the UK. Reading all about it in Moviemail‘s great article BBFC changes: A major threat to indie DVD labels? it had me going “oh great, it’s the 1980s all over again.”

Earlier this year there was an outrage in the international horror community when the British Board of Film Classification announced a new ratings system as well as them monitoring material that used to be exempt from classification – a “well-meaning” government legislation ’cause, you know, think of the children. The reason for said act apparently being reality shows like The X Factor and artists like Lady Gaga and Rihanna. A sane person would of course say things like “if you don’t like the show – change the channel” or “don’t buy products by artists whose message/image/behavior you don’t approve of” or something really outrageous like “try parenting, you idiot!”, but we seem to live in an age when no one wants to take responsibility for anything and politicians couldn’t be happier to appease to that mentality.

So what’s the big deal? Well, here’s the bite-yer-ass part: As an unexpected result of these new regulations, any video material needs to be classified – documentaries used to be exempt – especially if it might be considered unsuitable for children. At a cost, of course, meaning that if you were planning to release, say, a behemoth anniversary edition of Tobe Hooper‘s Texas Chain Saw Massacre you need to classify not only the feature but the trailers, TV-spots, any interview that includes clips from the feature etc. etc. – in short, running up a pretty hefty bill while trying to make us nerds salivate. This won’t be a problem for the majors – and this is the part where I’m really struggling not to believe the tin foil hat crowd – but it will strike a huge blow to the indies that are already in a tight spot financially.

This happened back in the 1980s as well when the Video Nasty hysteria hit the British Isles circa 1984 (oh, what a fitting year!) For a short while starting around 1979 and up to the mid-80s, cult classics like Lucio Fulci‘s Zombie Flesh-Eaters (released by VIPCO, natch!), Tobe Hooper’s 1974 chainsaw opus (that was banned from cinemas until 1999!) and Ruggero Deodato‘s Cannibal Holocaust etc. were readily available in UK video stores – completely uncensored – since the BBFC only had authority to classify theatrical releases. Long story short a lot of conservatives like MP Graham Bright and socialite Mary Whitehouse (who proudly announced on television that she, in fact, hadn’t seen any of these videos and didn’t need to in order to know they were harmful to children – never mind the fact they never were intended for children to being with) drummed up public outrage, newspapers like The Daily Mail and The Sunday Times added to the hysteria and soon The Video Recordings Act of 1984 was rushed through the House of Commons and came into effect in 1985.

The reason there is a lot of odd conspiracy theories regarding this sudden reaction seems to be Palace Pictures and their 1983 video release of Sam Raimi‘s 1981 Evil Dead. Run by young mavericks Stephen Woolley and Nik Powell, Palace focused on distributing not only horror and cult classics, but international art films as well (emulating Roger Corman‘s New World Pictures). Stephen himself has stated in interviews that the video release was the hit of the year, selling an estimated 50,000 copies at a sell-through of £40-£50, netting the “upstarts” a whopping £2-£2,5 million (approx. $3,2-$4,1 million) – earning them, as well as the VHS format, industry attention that in the end might’ve been what changed the market forever.

You see, as ludicrous as it may sound today, the majors’ attitude when it came to VHS was in essence that it was a joke. I wish I remember the gentleman’s name ’cause he is the film industry’s equivalent of Dick Rowe Decca Records‘ A&R man who forever earned his place in music history as the man who passed on The Beatles, telling Brian Epstein “Guitar groups are on their way out” – but he saw the video rental market as less than secondary and that the majors couldn’t be bothered with it. “People don’t wanna experience movies at home” was the (paraphrased) decree. With this move the majors opened up the market for the independents – as people did wanna watch movies at home and stores needed tons of product to supply them with – creating a golden opportunity for anyone with a bit of cash and enough chutzpah to go for it. Unless I’m completely misinformed one UK video label was in fact started up by an ex-plumber.

That all changed with the Video Recordings Act that brought down a lot of these smaller operations as they just couldn’t afford the fees that came with the now-mandatory classifications. The market “cleared up” and in its wake the majors and corporate video chains moved in. Conspiracy or not, that was the effect. Parallelling that some thirty years later, the new BBFC classifications fee is flat, meaning that both Universal and a UK indie label like Arrow Video – known for their amazing editions of both horror, cult and independent films that’s just crammed with bonus material – pays the same amount for having their releases cleared with the British censor. Even though the law goes into effect in May 2014, and we’ve yet to see how it will affect independent horror releases, Nucleus FilmsMarc Morris already stated that their 3-disc DVD box release of Jake West‘s 2010 documentary Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide will not be reissued as just reclassifying it would cost them somewhere between £6,000-£7,000 (approx. $9,800-$11,500) – making it too expensive to release and impossible to sell due to needing an unrealistically inflated price in order to recoup the costs. I urge you to get it now as it is mandatory viewing for any horror fan.

To sum it all up the new classification system is moot at best unless the UK government is planning to revert its whole country back to a pre-internet age where information wasn’t readily available at the click of a button. In Kirby Dick‘s 2006 documentary This Movie is Not Yet Rated, director John Waters says something along the lines of how futile censoring movies at all these days is since most teenagers in their curiosity have gone online to look up more outrageous violent and sexual content than their parents would like to believe or admit – or do they really think they’re doing their homework for that many hours a day? – and with physical formats in all honesty being a thing of the past that mostly us old farts cling to, I kinda draw the conclusion that it’ll only affect 1) those of legal age while 2) adding another nail in the coffin of the already-narrowing independent market of an already-narrowing, “assorted” content – but maybe that’s what these conservatives have been wanting for these past thirty years. Think of the children? Babysitter society.

More on the subject:
Ban the Sadist Videos Pt. 1 (top) and Pt. 2 here.
Draft Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014 here.
The BBFC online fee calculator here.
Video nasty (wiki) here.
Blue Underground‘s Discovering Evil Dead here.
Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide trailer here.
Pre-1984 uncensored UK VHS videos have a cult following and are popular among certain collectors. Called “pre-certs” they sometimes fetch impressive sums on eBay UK. Find ‘em here.

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Phone Us!

April 24, 2013

iPhone

Okay, I need an iPhone now goddammit! Get the Necronomicon Ex Mortis iPhone Case via Zazzle.com that offers a wide variety on this iconic pop-culture artifact.

UPDATE: Sorry, but I was way off on this one. The specific design seen on the photo was created by one Phil ‘Fel’ Young! No official website as far as I know, but you’ll find the guy on Facebook. Maybe he accepts orders? Zazzle still got some pretty nifty designs available, but if you’re looking for that one you’re better off trying Facebook. My bad.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to Joe Banks who hepped me to the official Facebook page where you can order your copy of this awesome iPhone case. The link is www.facebook.com/EvilDeadIphoneCase  so go check it out! Cheers, Joe!

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Get To the Dirt!

February 15, 2013
copyright Evil Pumpkins.com!

copyright Evil Pumpkins.com!

Horror hounds take notice: Tennessee-based Evil Pumpkins offer up a variety of sculptures and jewelry, all with a pinch of  “evil dirt” from the fireplace from the actual Evil Dead cabin added to them! Yes, ignoring the warnings of Bruce Campbell – who predicted they would get “an ass-full of buckshot from those rednecks” messing around in said woods – local couple (?) Tanya and Jeano Roid located the cabin deep in the Tennessee wilderness and came back with vials of dirt to get creative with.

There’s some pretty cool stuff offered up – like that big-ass 13″ Frankenstein that’d look great in my living room! – and for the hardcore fans of Sam Raimi‘s cult classic how about a vial of said dirt for $20?

I initially found these guys on Facebook, but you can check out their official website here.

UPDATE: Well, I’m sorry but ever since I posted this I just couldn’t get this classic bit with Bill Hicks outta my head. So here we go. No offense intended to the owners of Evil Pumpkins (it begins around 4:25):

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Evil Dead – Red Band Trailer #2

January 9, 2013

Please note that the trailer offers some pretty graphic sequences.

Via Eva Halloween I found the second red band trailer for the 2013 remake of Evil Dead. And I gotta admit, for someone who turns into Angry Old Fart way too many times for comfort when it comes to this phenomenon, the trailer looks great! They certainly didn’t skimp on the gore, there certainly are gonna be scenes at least as intense (and with a bit of luck even more) as the original, and even though I think some of the male characters, well, look like wimps, I’m waiting ’til I’ve seen it before I go whining about “bad casting”. Sure, the dub step music is a bit of a turn off, but I doubt today’s 18-year-olds are as big on The Ramones as me.

Now, I know there are some “original, real fans” out there – and just out of curiosity, how would you distinguish a “fake one”? – who sees it differently and sure are spending a lot of time grumbling and trolling about this, but c’mon, does this look like a cheap Hollywood knock-off to you? If the producers wanted to make a quick buck out of this franchise they would’ve gutted it completely! If you’re such a great fan (and have that much free time to spend), treat yourself to a game and pop in your original VHS while taking notes of all the commercial no-nos it offers. Remember that this was released unrated back in the 80s because the MPAA frankly wanted to pretty much neuter it, and when it was resubmitted in 1994 it received an NC-17 “for substantial graphic horror violence and gore.”  Remove all that and what would you have left of the original concept? I’ll tell you: A bunch of stupid teenagers going to a remote cabin. The end.

Just like the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre or The Exorcist, what blew me away with Sam Raimi‘s horror debut was that it was just one long, uncompromising and exhaustingly horrific experience that just kept pummeling you silly for 90 minutes, and when it finally ended you were actually relieved it was over! Now, even though it offers spoilers Ain’t It Cool News offered a script analysis in February 2012 (check it out here, but as I said, there are spoilers) and sums it up “it reads like NC-17″ and calls it a “beast” – not words commonly used when talking about anemic remakes, and pretty reaffirming if you ask me! If still in doubt we’ve got script writer Diablo Cody‘s making comments like it’s “unbelievably violent” and “It was really important again to the filmmakers that it remain totally grounded in reality and timeless. They weren’t trying to make some hip trendy horror movie full of pop culture references” (check that one out here) and you’ll at least know it looks killer on paper. And if nothing else they at least are trying to avoid the typical “ironic” approach so common in horror and remakes. Add the fact that ‘Mr. Groovy’ himself Bruce Campbell have offered statements reassuring fans that neither he, Sam, or Robert Tapert were out for a quick money grab – you really think they need it after the Spider-Man trilogy? – and that they have the highest confidence in both cast and director, well, I for one am pretty assured about the end results.

So, long story short, judging by the new snippets found in this compared to the first trailer I wrote about here, plus the additional arguments offered here, this looks even more like a highly intense remake that once again will scare the crap outta you. I mean, Tom Savini made a great remake of Night of the Living Dead, John Carpenter made a killer job with The Thing, and don’t forget David Cronenberg‘s amazing (and genuine reboot!) of The Fly, so the occasional good remake actually does happen. And to me this has so far the signs of actually being another one. My birthday is in April and I am so treating myself to a movie ticket!

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Evil Dead – New York Comic-Con 2012

October 25, 2012

Well, lo-fi audio be damned, the Evil Dead panel discussion at the New York Comic-Con was pretty funny and offered some nice extra info when it comes to the remake and the possibility of an Evil Dead 4. Joined by director Fede Alvarez and star Jane Levy, Bruce Campbell does what he does best hamming it up for the kids while offering up some nice one-liners and answers. And I gotta admit, judging by the audience reaction – that brings to mind a rock star entering the stage – how come this guy never became a household name? I’m amazed.

Anyway, while on the subject of the King:

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The Evil Dead (2013) – Red Band Trailer

October 24, 2012

Please note that the trailer is pretty gory and viewer discretion is adviced.

Well, it’s just been posted – the Evil Dead red-band trailer! And even though I’m guessing a lot of younger people are gonna go “uh, it looks just like Cabin in the Woods!” lemme assure you that it’s the other way around. Sam Raimi‘s 80s horror masterpiece was way ahead of that one Junior. And this one seems to require wearing a raincoat or at least bring an umbrella to the cinema.

I gotta admit, I am not one to go gaga over remakes (if you’ve been following this blog you’re pretty familiar with The Angry Old Fart by now), but after seeing the interview with Bruce Campbell and the fact that this team may be part of “Hollywood” now they’re still kinda being outsiders to the system is pretty reassuring for me. If you’re part of your baby’s remake, how protective aren’t you gonna be about its legacy?

Like I stated in a previous post this could actually become one of the more intense horror movies out there (and the footage seem to back that theory). FX maestro Greg Nicotero once shared in an interview how he was completely blown away by the original movie but, on account of his technical knowledge, how the sheer amateurism of the gore and other visual effects constantly took him out of the moment. Well, now they’ve had a chance to do the horror of the original concept justice – and think about it, if say Stan Winston had created Exorcist-esque visuals for the original it’d been pummeling the audiences back then! – and I’m slightly optimistic by this. What do you think?

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Evil Dead remake (update)

October 24, 2012

Well, a friend hepped me to the teaser trailer of the new Evil Dead just being posted on Slashfilm.com, so I was all over that and checked it out immediately. I loved Bruce Campbell‘s quip “Where’s your artfilm now baby?”, but teasers just strike me as weird. Call me crazy but I think it should offer at least a bit more than a couple of brief glimpses with some graphics – with The Norliss Tapes we went for a full minute in order to give people a general idea what we were about and make up their minds if it was something they wanted to see/hear more of (check ‘em out here). Anyway, the red-band teaser (i.e. the gory one) will be relased later during the day and with time roughly being around midnight in California and 3 am in New York I guess I’ll just have to wait a couple of more hours until it’s launched online.

Speaking of which: There’s been a lot of groaning among fans of the original trilogy about this happening, but Bruce Campbell himself offers up some comforting words in the interview below. Their heart is in the right place when it comes to producing this, so now the only question (at least for me)  is if it still will deliver in direction. Check it out.

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Evil Dead remake (update)

October 16, 2012

Well, here we go: Via the ComicBookMovie.com website I catched a glimpse of the teaser for the upcoming remake of Evil Dead as it premiered (?) at the New York Comic-Con. And you know, even though this would be a great opportunity to unleash The Angry Old Fart and start hollering at clouds again, I gotta admit this looks pretty darn good! Yes, the quality is pretty lo-fi considering it was filmed by an audience member but it’ll give you a general feel of it and I for one am not disappointed. It could be worse.

Granted, I’ll probably never get used to the idea of anyone but Bruce Campbell portraying good old Ash, but the intensity and groundbreaking horror of the plot itself seems to be intact. And like KNB maestro Greg Nicotero himself once stated in an interview, this time around they had the budget to produce some truly horrifying FX making it more horrific than The Exorcist.

Check it out here, but FYI it contains a lot of gore. One more photo:

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Within the Woods

August 23, 2012

Well, keeping up with the Evil Dead theme I decided to post this; Within the WoodsSam Raimi‘s 1978 8 mm short movie that was made in order to find financial backers for their first full-length movie. A true DIY effort, it stars Bruce Campbell (of course) and Ellen Sandweiss, but the story line actually has more in common with its sequel Evil Dead II than the first, as Ash after accidentally desecrating an old Indian burial ground turns into a “deadite” and start going after his friends.

A nice piece of pop culture history in spite of its lo-fi quality!

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Evil Dead (remake)

August 22, 2012

Well, I already stated how I feel about these things, but Bruce Campbell himself recently claimed in an interview with Digital Spy that the 2012 version of Evil Dead directed by Fede Alvarez is ‘fabulous’. Comforting words, and add that Sam Raimi himself spoke positively about it just the day before and I guess I gotta admit this at least seems to be a cut above of the rest.

Read more here (Bruce) and here (Sam). And speaking of this cult classic, here’s Zeke‘s homage to it:

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