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Sam Raimi Talks Drag Me to Hell

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In 1981, a young director named Sam Raimi set out to give audiences a new vision of the horror genre with his now cult classic film The Evil Dead. Twenty-eight years later (and one Spider-Man trilogy behind him), Raimi is looking to do the very same with his latest project, Drag Me to Hell.

Raimi explained, “I was trying to do an original piece with this feature and to do something very different than what’s out there now. Drag Me to Hell was my way of telling a different story than I ever have before but using a lot of familiar elements that, as a fan, I love to see when I am watching horror.”

Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell (click for larger image)

“When writing the story, I had to make sure I stayed true to the characters and still built suspenseful sequences in ways that I hadn’t done before. I feel like my job as a director is to entertain and give the audience something they haven’t experienced before,” Raimi added.

Drag Me to Hell centers around Christine (played by Allison Lohman), a young woman who works at a bank. Desperate to earn the respect of her boss and a promotion, she makes the mistake of denying the elderly Mrs. Ganusch (Lorna Raver) an extension on her defaulted mortgage which drives the old woman to curse Christine as her punishment. The curse states that within three days, poor Christine will be carried off to the bowels of hell and it’s up to her to figure out a way to spare her own life before the demons come for her.

Although Lohman’s character is the main subject in Drag Me to Hell, Raimi is quick to point out she isn’t your typical horror film protagonist.

“Christine starts out with the idea that she is a good person but by the end of the film, she really is a despicable character to watch,” said Raimi. “I think the audience can identify with her in the beginning because she seems generous, but when push comes to shove and she has to get this job promotion, she sins with greed and forces this old lady out of her home hiding behind the rules of the bank.”

To bring Christine along on this horrific journey wasn’t enough for Raimi. He felt it was important as a storyteller to make the audience just as accountable as the main character they were watching.

Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell (click for larger image)

Raimi said, “I wanted the audience to make this choice with her. We know that we are all nice people but the truth is, we are sinners too. Here you have this old woman who is unpleasant looking and the audience, like Christine, just wants to do anything to not have to look at her and get her out of the way. So, when the effects of the curse start to happen, you as a viewer know that this thing is coming not only for Christine, but for you because you are sinners, too.”

“There are all sorts of reasons for any of us to be greedy or cruel,” Raimi added. “People try to hide behind logic or institutional rules, like Christine does in the film. But it doesn’t make a difference. In the end, everyone is responsible for the choices that they make. Christine is no exception to that rule and neither are any of us, despite what we may think about ourselves.

Even though Raimi sees Christine as the villain in Drag Me to Hell, he knew that he had a tricky task with finding someone who was able to balance being the nice girl next door as well as someone who could also representing the sinner in all of us.

What makes the audience compelled to follow Christine as she fights to stay out of hell has to do with the casting of Allison Lohman,” explained Raimi. “She has a positive charm about her which helps the audience stay with her despite all the horrible things she does. She goes against her own values, lies, asks people to risk their lives, tries to blame her boss when confronted by the demon, and selfishly tries to give the curse away to save her self.”

“She was a good person on the outside but when you see what she’s willing to do, she’s just not a good person at all. She deserves what she gets. Although, maybe she’s just a little overpunished for her sins,” Raimi joked.

Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell (click for larger image)

Raimi is aware of the initial reaction of the horror community had when they found out Drag Me to Hell was going to be PG-13 and wants to assure fans that a rating isn’t the driving force behind whether or not a movie will be entertaining.

Raimi said, “We always knew that we were aiming for a PG-13 rating for Drag Me to Hell. We (his brother Ivan helped Raimi co-write the movie’s script) didn’t want to rely on outrageous violence or blood and gore like we did with the Evil Dead movies. I thought it would be interesting as a director to go in a slightly different direction and try not to have a lot of that this time around.

Of course, there is still some violence and blood because it is a horror movie but we make up for it by using different techniques in the film so that it’s still entertaining and suspenseful,” added Raimi.

Something that recently surprised the long-time director was the fact that Drag Me to Hell was picked to screen at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in France.

Universal approached me with the idea that we should show the movie to Cannes Viewing Committee,” said Raimi. “I honestly didn’t think it was a good idea at all but decided to not say anything to the studio about my reservations. So, you can imagine how surprised I was to find out it got picked.

Raimi joked, “I think it actually says a lot about the depravity of our society.

Now with Drag Me to Hell set to hit theaters this weekend, Raimi is getting ready to return to the world of Peter Parker and his alter-ego Spider-Man in the coming months.

Raimi said, “Spider-Man 4 is still in the script development stage so I have no idea what we’re going to be doing this time. I think we’ve learned our lessons on Spider-Man 3 and I am really looking forward to exploring Peter’s character further with Tobey (Maguire).

I feel like the last two years have been a vacation with working on a horror film,” Raimi added. “What I love about these movies is the fact that the audiences are truly the greatest audiences to entertain for. They have so much appreciation for these projects that it makes my job as a director that much more worthwhile.

Drag Me to Hell opens in theatres this Friday!

Heather Wixson

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Synapse’s Suspiria 4K Restoration Gets a Release Date

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Earlier this year, we wrote about Synapse Films’ Suspiria 4K restoration and how it was available for pre-order. The weird catch was that there was no release date confirmed and that pre-orders would go out sometime in December 2017. Today that changes as we can confirm that the 3-disc special edition Blu-ray collection will come out December 19th, just in time for Christmas but a little late for Hanukkah. Any chance we can have one extra night this year?

Restored over three years, Synapse has been working tirelessly to create the ultimate version of Dario Argento’s 1977 classic supernatural horror film, which has since gone on to become one of the most recognized and lauded titles in the genre. This cut has been overseen and approved by Luciano Tovoli, the Director of Photography on the film.

Pre-orders are still available via Synapse Films’ website.

Special features:
*Limited edition of only 6000 units produced
*Exclusive Steelbook packaging and collector’s o-card sleeve, featuring artwork from Malleus, Van Orton Design, Juan José Saldarriaga & Chris MacGibbon
*Three disc [Two Blu-rays + One CD] limited collector’s edition (only 6000 units) containing a new 4K restoration of the original uncut, uncensored Italian 35mm camera negative exclusively done by Synapse Films, with color correction supervised and approved by SUSPIRIA Director of Photography, Luciano Tovoli
*Original 4.0 1977 English language LCRS sound mix not heard since the theatrical release in 1977, presented in high-resolution DTS-HD MA 96 Khz/24-bit audio
*Italian 5.1 surround sound mix
*Two audio commentaries by authors and Argento scholars, Derek Botelho, David Del Valle & Troy Howarth
*Do You Know Anything About Witches? – 30 minute SUSPIRIA visual essay written, edited and narrated by Michael Mackenzie
*Suzy in Nazi Germany – Featurette on the German locations from SUSPIRIA
*A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of SUSPIRIA – All-new anniversary retrospective on the making of the film and its influence on cinema
*Olga’s Story – Interview with star Barbara Magnolfi
*Original theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
*Special Collector Edition Booklet containing an American Cinematographer interview with Luciano Tovoli, liner notes by Derek Botelho and restoration notes by Vincent Pereira & Don May, Jr. Cover artwork by Matthew Therrien Illustration
*“International Classics” English “Breathing Letters” opening credit sequence from U.S. release version
*Alternate All-English opening and closing credits sequences, playable via seamless branching
*Newly translated, removable English SDH subtitles for the English language version
*Newly translated, removable English subtitles for the Italian language version
*Exclusive CD remaster of Goblin’s SUSPIRIA motion picture soundtrack, containing additional tracks not included on the original 1977 soundtrack release

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Creep 2 Starring Mark Duplass Hits Netflix This December

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Just the other day we shared with you guys an exclusive interview with Partick Brice, the director of the Mark Duplass-starring found footage flicks Creep and Creep 2.

Today we have the awesome news that the killer sequel Creep 2 (review) will be hitting Netflix streaming on December 23rd.

The original creeptastic motion picture is already streaming on Netflix so if you need to catch up – or just watch the original again – you can do so tonight and get ready for the sequel which, personally, I found to be superior (if even just slightly) to the original.

What did you think of the original film? Are you excited to check out the sequel? Or have you already seen it? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Creep 2 starring Mark Duplass and Desiree Akhavan hits Netflix December 23rd!

Synopsis:

Desiree Akhavan (“Girls”, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) stars as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass, reprising his role from the previous film). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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Waxwork Records Unveils Phenomenal 2018 Subscription Package

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Our pals over at Waxwork Records have unveiled their 2018 subscription bundle and it’s packed to the brim with some absolutely fantastic titles! Horror fans who enjoy spinning their music on turntables can look forward to two Romero titles, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, and lastly they’ll have Jordan Peele’s smash success title Get Out. On top of getting those five records, those who join the subscription program will also receive a t-shirt, coffee mug, poster, notebook, magnet, enamel pin, calendar, and more.

For Night of the Living Dead, Waxwork Records worked closely with the film’s original creators, including Romero himself prior to his passing, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Criterion Collection so that they could source audio from the 4K restoration. It will be released as a 2xLP package.

Dawn of the Dead will also get a 2xLP release that will include brand new artwork, re-mastered audio, and more. The same kind of treatment is being given to The ‘Burbs. Christopher Young’s Drag Me to Hell soundtrack will be a single LP but will get the same level of attention and quality as the other titles.

As for Peele’s Get Out. Michael Abels; score will be released on a 2xLP vinyl set and will pay tribute to one of the most culturally significant movies of the past several years.

The Waxwork Records subscription package will be $250 ($285 in Canada) and will open up for sale this Friday, the 24th. More information can be found on Waxwork’s website.

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