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Fake Blood and True Grit: How Sam Raimi Made 1981’s ‘The Evil Dead’

Turns out making a splatter film in the dead of winter is a horrorshow in its own right.
The Evil Dead Shotgun
Renaissance Pictures
By  · Published on June 11th, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about how Sam Raimi went out making his splatter masterpiece (splasterpiece?): 1981’s The Evil Dead.

When Sam Raimi made The Evil Dead he couldn’t even legally buy a beer. At 20 years old, Raimi mustered a gaggle of friends/suckers and made his way into the woods of Tennessee … in the dead of winter … to a bare-bones cabin coated in cow manure. Hell. Yeah.

What followed was, by all accounts, a comedy of errors by way of Lord of the Flies. Which, considering The Evil Dead‘s creative debt to The Three Stooges, feels a bit like life imitating art. Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, one of the great charms of the original Evil Dead is that everything depicted in the film feels very real.

Like the teens in the film, the crew of The Evil Dead was trapped in a remote cabin, up against a seemingly unending volley of hardships. Only, instead of demonic possession, they were grappling with fundraising, frozen camera equipment, and an inexperienced director. When you watch the film, all of that comes across on-screen: a creepily tangible and electric quality that was a direct consequence of the chaos and creativity that was going on on-set.

The video essay below details the grueling and inspirational story behind the making of The Evil Dead, from the ruthless fundraising to having to was fake blood off your hands in the coffee machine.

Watch “How Sam Raimi Made a Splatter Masterpiece”:

Who made this?

This video on Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is by Andrew Saladino, who runs the Texas-based Royal Ocean Film Society. You can browse their back catalog of videos on their Vimeo account here. If Vimeo isn’t your speed, you can give them a follow on YouTube here.

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Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.