Calendar » Get Out

Raising the Dead

Fans and filmmakers resurrect some cult classics.

by

comment
4683.0.jpeg
Talk to people who worked on the 1981 cult classic The Evil Dead, and you get different opinions regarding the chilly Tennessee location. Actor Bruce Campbell recalls, "Until I worked on another shoot, I didn't know how much [filming The Evil Dead] sucked. The shooting conditions were abysmal. We were freezing and covered in Karo syrup. It was a long, miserable winter."

Yet Tom Sullivan, who created the makeup, stop-motion animation, and special effects for the movie, remembers cheerier times. "It was like a working party," he says. "Everybody was so enthusiastic that we were working on a movie. There were no egos, no clashes, no control freaks. Everything was geared toward turning out this film."

He'll relive his experiences this week at The Evil Dead reunion, the centerpiece of the Twisted Nightmare Weekend, a three-day gathering of horror films, fans, vendors, and autograph hounds. More than half a dozen cast and crew members from the movie will be there sharing memories. (Campbell, originally scheduled to appear, is no longer participating.)

When Sam Raimi (who went on to make two Evil Dead sequels as well as the Spider-Man films) gathered a bunch of friends in 1979 to make a movie about a group of kids who stumble on the "Book of the Dead" and proceed to literally unleash hell, none of them had any real experience making a movie. Says Sullivan, now a Michigan-based filmmaker and artist: "We thought if it played in a couple drive-ins down South for a weekend, we'd be ecstatic."

The success of the film prompted a 1987 sequel, Evil Dead II, which basically reformatted the original on a bigger budget. "That one was frustrating," says Sullivan. "Everything was micromanaged. Instead of being left to develop things on our own, we'd do something and have to do it over and over again, until we finally got what we needed. It was one of the worst working experiences I ever had. Nothing at all like the other one."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.