Sam Raimi

The Fly Movie 1986

There’s a lot being made of superhero science, both by me and also the rest of the world. Now that superheroes have become a regular thing in the multiplex and not just something that nerds on the fringe of society reads, it’s not uncommon for someone to ask what a real-life superhero would be like. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 marks the fifth time the Marvel web-slinger has made his way onto the modern movie screen. While some of the changes made by Sam Raimi for his series have been switched back to the traditional model (like the organic web shooters being replaced with mechanical ones), the superhero is basically the same. Bitten by a genetically-altered spider, Peter Parker is imbued with special powers unique to spiders. Watching the new movies and contemplating the powers Peter Park has and doesn’t have got me thinking… Ignoring the actual process of infection for Peter Parker, how likely are his powers really ones that realistically come from spiders? What would a real-life “Spider Man” be like?

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All this week, Film School Rejects presents a daily dose of our favorite articles from the archive. Originally published in November 2011, David C. Bell explores some of the toughest roads to the big screen for a score of great movies. Most films tend to be technological and logistical nightmares right from the start; clusters of egos working together with complicated equipment in an attempt to capture what is essentially a really elaborate lie tends to be a rather surreal process, so it’s not really surprising to hear that a whole lot of craziness can go down during the making of a movie – however as unsurprising as it may be, it’s still damn entertaining. That’s why DVD documentaries, in my opinion, are like the ultimate kind of reality TV: stick a bunch of millionaire actors, union laborers, and eccentric artists in a room with expensive and possibly life-threatening electrical equipment and you’re surely going to get something worth watching. These are the sets that were no doubt the worst to be party to, and the best to be a fly on the wall for – that is if you happen to be a really sadistic fly.

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Sam Raimi Directing

While Fede Alvarez did a great job helming the 2013 Evil Dead remake, he apparently doesn’t have plans to touch the upcoming sequel to Army of Darkness. That honor will be left to Sam Raimi himself, as Alvarez has confirmed casually via twitter that Raimi is the director of Army of Darkness 2 like this wasn’t huge news or something.

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pit witch army of darkness

If anyone has a spare boomstick lying around, Bruce Campbell might need it. He may also need one of those special walkers with the tennis balls at the tips. According to ComicBook.com, the actor confirmed to an audience at the Wizard World Nashville Comic Con that he was going to make a sequel to Army of Darkness. He was asked directly if he was going to make Army of Darkness 2, a question that stems from both the core of fan passion and from recent rumors that Sam Raimi was determined to make one happen. Campbell’s answer? “The last one was 22 years ago. I just haven’t been racing to do it. Sam Raimi is just a little bit busy making the biggest movies in Hollywood. I use to be busy. Now I’m not. That’s why I’m here. . . Ash would have to stop occasionally from chasing some deadite to catch his breath. Maybe we could do that, I guess. That would be exciting. Fight in a walker. That would be alright. Hit them with my cane. Fake them out, have a fake heart attack, distract a zombie. I like it. . . Alright sir, the answer is yes.” Obviously this comes with a shovel-full of salt. It’s not exactly our signal to go out and buy a celebratory banner, but maybe it’s a hint that we should be saving up for one. Because banners have gotten really expensive.

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OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

After years of development, Disney managed to travel back over the rainbow with Oz the Great and Powerful. While it wasn’t the box office juggernaut that Alice in Wonderland was, it did bring a new version of L. Frank Baum’s classic books to the big screen. The colorful fantasy world that Sam Raimi shows in Oz the Great and Powerful is appealing to children of all ages, but more importantly, it looks crazy when you’ve been drinking. If you’re taking a trip back to Oz, have a few drinks of a different color and enjoy the ride.

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Within-the-Woods

Why Watch? After all the cultish love and the trivia and the rebooting, isn’t it nice to get back to its roots? Also, The Rebooting is a horror movie I’m writing. Don’t steal the idea. It’s pretty obvious to see the DNA for The Evil Dead in this short where Bruce Campbell plays himself with terrifying make-up (and a mysteriously deep knowledge of ancient rituals). In fact, it was made specifically to raise money for a feature film called The Book of the Dead that Campbell, Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert were planning on making. It…didn’t succeed. It only played publicly one time — before a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in Detroit — but Raimi and company didn’t have permission to use the music, and the whole thing became a clustercuss that would haunt them all the way through the 2002 special edition release of The Evil Dead. There are sadly no high quality versions out there, but even through the wavy VHS-friendly lines, you can still make out the abject terror that comes with running a camera as low to the ground as possible in a disgusting forest. And the horror make-up effects! So good. So, so good. What will it cost? Around 30 minutes. Skip Work. Watch More Short Films.

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evildead02

Editor’s note: Rob’s review originally ran during SXSW last month, but we’re re-running it as Evil Dead officially hits theaters starting tonight. When a remake of Sam Raimi‘s seminal horror film was first announced it was met with a fair share of understandable skepticism. The hostility was tempered somewhat by the inclusion of Raimi, Robert Tapert and original star Bruce Campbell in the producers’ chairs, but still people wondered if that bloody magic could be recaptured. The answer is a tentative and extremely gory “yes.” Kind of. Somewhat. Unless you’re someone who prefers their horror films to be smart and scary in addition to being creatively bloody. Five friends head to a cabin in the woods (surprise!) looking for both a fun vacation and a place to help one of their own kick a bad drug habit. But withdrawal is the least of their problems when a bloody basement and a skin-bound book are discovered beneath their feet. Soon an evil entity is causing violent and messy mayhem in the form of extreme acts of self-mutilation and murder. And tree rape. Can’t forget the tree rape.

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commentary-evildead

For a cult classic like Sam Raimi’s original 1981 shocker The Evil Dead, there’s plenty of widely known trivia out there – from the use of his 1973 Delta 88 Oldsmobile classic to how many people fled the production when money ran short and schedules ran long. Back in 1998, when DVDs were still relatively new, Raimi and his producer Robert Tapert sat down to do a commentary on the film, giving the stories from the set from the horses’ mouths. With the remake coming out this week, it’s a good point to look back on this groundbreaking masterpiece of low-budget splatter. Recorded before Raimi became one of the biggest directors in Hollywood, making films like the Spider-Man series and now Oz the Great and Powerful, this commentary offers some modest insight with the man closer to his low-budget roots.

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Sam Raimi Directing

Bridging two worlds, Sam Raimi has done something incredibly difficult as a filmmaker. He’s proven himself as the capable creator of massive budget spectacle with heart while remaining the cult hero that early fans continue to worship. He sold out without selling out. That in itself is a bold lesson in staying true to your own sensibilities no matter what the bottom line is, but there’s a lot more to learn from the man who grew to prominence by cutting off Bruce Campbell’s hand. The key? You can’t just take a hand; you have to replace it with a chainsaw. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a very snappy dresser who doesn’t mind getting covered in blood.

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Drinking Games

By now, if you’re a horror fan, you are at least curious about the upcoming Evil Dead remake that is hitting the theaters this weekend. Whether you pooh-pooh the thought of remaking a classic film or if you’re eager to see a new, bloody installment in the franchise, you can’t help but have the Sam Raimi original on the brain. With about 847 different versions of 1981’s The Evil Dead available on various home video formats – from VHS and Betamax to the current Blu-ray release – as well as being available this month on Netflix Instant, there’s no better time than to check out this groundbreaking film. If the gore isn’t enough to make you queasy, why not try this drinking game to make your head spin by the end?

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review oz great powerful

Hollywood trend #74 goes like this. Pick a classic children’s tale that hasn’t been adapted in the past few years, say Alice in Wonderland or Snow White maybe, then build a new film around it that substitutes excessive CGI for imagination and physical comedy for characterization. Oh, and be sure to improve upon the source material by throwing in a big third-act battle between armies too. Anyway. Oz the Great and Powerful is a new look at a land we are all too familiar with thanks to L. Frank Baum’s books and a little movie called The Wizard of Oz. Director Sam Raimi‘s film predates Dorothy’s classic adventure to show how the wizard actually became the wizard in the first place, but just because it takes place in a magical world doesn’t guarantee a magical experience.

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IntroDirectorCameos

The beauty of being a director is that you can get killer screen time without the hassle of actually knowing how to act. Being a good director, however, is knowing not to haphazardly stick yourself in your films – at least not unless you’re Spike Lee or Woody Allen. Really it’s all about identifying your limitations. So here are some neat ways that a director opted to show up in their film without taking the spotlight at the same time. These are creative little cameos that you might never notice in a million years of watching.

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Evil Dead Trailer

If, like all grandmothers, yours is into gallons of blood spewing from someone’s mouth, forced tree seduction, banned books and mangled lesbian make-out scenes, she is going to absolutely rave about the new redband trailer for the Evil Dead remake. She may even knit a sweater with the Necronomicon on it. And if you were afraid they were going to dial back on the violence and gore, take heart. Then squeeze it, jab an exacto knife into it, and you’ll have the kind of red-raining imagery that the Fede Alvarez-directed, Diablo Cody-scripted flick. If you’re sitting in the front row, it’s time to put on the raincoat we’ve provided for you:

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Oz the Great and Powerful Movie Poster

Sam Raimi‘s Oz: The Great and Powerful crashes down on audiences in March, and while we’ve already gotten a great look at the world they’ve built for it (while crossing our fingers that it won’t be an Alice in Wonderland clone), we haven’t been given a look at the villainous Wicked Witch of the West. It is, without a doubt and zero hyperbole, the biggest villain-based mystery of all the 2013 releases. Is she being played by Mila Kunis? By Rachel Weisz? By Benedict Cumberbatch? The production has kept it a relative secret — hiding Kunis and Weisz’s characters under new Ozian names (Theodora and Evanora respectively) and including them to varying degrees in the trailers, but the poster above looks an awful lot like Weisz in green make-up, and the stuff we’ve seen so far suggests her character just might lose it and turn to the dark side. Let’s all obsess about it until March, and in the meantime, enjoy this dramatic one sheet from Disney.

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Evil Dead Poster

Most terrifying film ever? That’s a pretty bold claim to make, and it also signals (like the recent trailer did) that this is not your daddy’s Evil Dead. The film looks to be almost old school in its lack of humor and dedication to pure terror and practical effects. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are on as producers, and they’ve given their blessing to director Fede Alvarez to craft something as terrifying as possible. But most terrifying ever? We’ll find out when it opens on April 12, 2013. [Yahoo! Movies]

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Oz the Great and Powerful

If Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful ends up being another Alice in Wonderland-level exercise in style over substance, the parallels to its main character are going to be too obvious to dismiss. In the film, James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a Kansas con-man magician who does tricks illusions and enjoys tricking illusioning people out of their coins. During a hot air balloon stunt, he’s pulled into a tornado and whisked away to the strange land of Oz where three good witches (played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams) implore him to rid the world of a wicked witch. The only problem? He only talks a big game, and he might not be able to deliver any real magic. The plot in its vague form mirrors The Wizard of Oz directly, and the look of the universe tries for the CGI expansiveness of Alice, but hopefully Sam Raimi has been able to make the movie his own. With a new trailer comes new hopes and concerns. It looks like a lot of fun, but some of the dialogue (and the delivery) sounds like first draft exposition. It’s also not hard to think of Franco as a bored actor at this point, and there’s nothing here to disabuse anyone of that notion. However, the callbacks to the 1939 classic are spot-on and exciting. Maybe this could be a real epic after all.

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Evil Dead Trailer

It feels like just yesterday we we wondering why we were supporting the latest idiotic trend in movie marketing by watching a teaser for a trailer of the new Evil Dead. It was a move that makes even less sense now that, barely twenty four hours later, the actual trailer has been released. And it looks like a gloriously violent and gory return to real horror without any post-modern, meta or comedic trappings. The lovely Jane Levy and the always wonderful (and equally lovely) Lou Taylor Pucci co-star among a group of friends who head to a cabin in the woods for some dispensable reason only to find a nightmare involving murder, possession, mutilation and tree branch splinters in their bajangos. Director/co-writer Fede Alvarez has remade Sam Raimi‘s classic with Raimi’s blessing and hands-on involvement, and the result looks to be a hardcore horror film that immediately impresses with its tone and dedication to practical effects. Check out the gleefully nasty redband trailer for the new Evil Dead below.

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World of Warcraft

Sam Raimi has been developing an expansive World of Warcraft movie for quite some time, but this year’s Comic-Con brought sad news for anyone wishing to see that universe brought to life in movie form. According to Crave Online, the director announced that he would not be moving forward with the project. More specifically, his involvement and schedule for Oz the Great and Powerful meant he couldn’t direct WOW. “…They don’t have me directing World of Warcraft anymore because when I took the Oz job, they had to move on to another director. They had to start making it,” said Raimi. However, it’s unclear what director they’ve moved on to or at what stage of development the project is at. Of course, Blizzard Entertainment might have been too busy making sure Diablo III servers stopped crashing in order to make a few director phone calls. For now, let’s consider this news the equivalent of a loading bar that’s still half full. Or half empty, depending on how you look at it.

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The Great and Powerful Oz

There’s no doubt that Sam Raimi learned a lot (and proved a lot) about big budget filmmaking when he took on Spider-Man, so it will be interesting to see whether his particular brand of humor and action will translate well to the wonderful world called Oz. Oz the Great and Powerful is a promising project, but the images from it are doing a lot of work to raise expectations. They may say nothing about the story, but they ensure that the visual experience will be the closest thing to a gorgeous legal drug trip that we can get. Check out these 6 new images from the Disney flick:

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It’s been three years since a Sam Raimi film graced theaters and five since he’s had a box office hit (sorry, Drag Me to Hell), but he returns to the big screen next year with something substantially different than his usual fare. In fact, if the lead were Johnny Depp instead of James Franco you might be forgiven for thinking this was a Tim Burton joint. Oz the Great and Powerful is an upcoming Disney film that posits the origin of L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz (the man, not the story). Oscar Diggs (Franco) begins as a mediocre magician in the dustbowl of a black and white Kansas before boarding a hot-air balloon for an ill-fated ride into a tornado. The journey lands him in Oz where he comes face to face with creatures, people, three witches and technicolor. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams play the three witches, and that’s really all the reason one needs to want to see the movie… Check out the trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful below.

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