From his modest start in that ramshackle cabin in the woods what must seem like a lifetime ago, Sam Raimi has become one of the more versatile and beloved directors in Hollywood. With Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Darkman today, we bring you our Top 9 Sam Raimi Films – Horror and Otherwise.
We’re going to keep this list to films directed by Raimi. If we were to include the movies he’s acted in, or god forbid produced, we’d be here all night. But a few of his production credits like 30 Days of Night, both of The Grudge films, Boogeyman, The Possession, Timecop and of course the Evil Dead remake are noteworthy.
Some honorable directorial mentions include his most recent, Oz the Great and Powerful. It might not have been the epic it was billed to be, but it looked fantastic; and when you manage to haul in half a billion dollars at the box office worldwide, then you must be doing something right. Other notables are The Gift and, for you hardcore Raimi/Bruce Campbell fans, Crimewave.
Now on to our Top 9:
The Evil Dead (1981)
No sense in fooling around. We may as well start this list right off with the film that got the ball rolling for Sam Raimi, and that is, of course, The Evil Dead. More than a cult classic, The Evil Dead is a cornerstone of the horror genre. Launching the careers of Raimi and frequent collaborator Bruce Campbell (not to mention Joel Coen of the famous Coen Brothers, who was an editor on the film), The Evil Dead is the cabin in the woods film. The one that set the standard that is imitated to this day. As amusing as it is gruesome, what The Evil Dead lacked in budget, it more than made up for with personality. Seen as Raimi’s rite of passage film, The Evil Dead would go on to be so much more than just another horror flick. It spawned sequels and a remake and absolute legions of fans. If there was a Mount Rushmore of horror, The Evil Dead would be on it.
Drag Me To Hell (2005)
After doing a trio of Spider-Man movies, Raimi decided to return to his horrific roots with a dastardly film entitled Drag Me to Hell in 2005. And, even though it had been 17 years since Army of Darkness with only thrillers and no real horror movies in between, Raimi came back strong. It was hailed by audiences and critics alike, which was reflected at the box office. The movie brought in over $100 million on a $30 million budget. It also brought us one of the more memorable new horror characters in a long time. Not an oversized monster or blade-wielding psycho, not this time. The creepiest character in Drag Me to Hell was an elderly Hungarian woman named Sylvia Ganush (played marvelously by Lorna Raver), who just happened to have the ability to lay one helluva curse on you.