SFotD: Sam Raimi’s 1978 ‘Evil Dead’ Prequel ‘Within the Woods’

By  · Published on April 5th, 2013

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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Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.