Back To The Past: 6 Time Periods The ‘Evil Dead’ Should Travel To
With Evil Dead Rise being such a hit, it’s clear that there’s a future for this long-lasting horror franchise. However, the future of the franchise might not lie ahead, but behind. After all, both 2013’s Evil Dead and Evil Dead Rise teased chapters in the past for the three Books of the Dead. Why go forward in time when we can go backward?
The franchise has not been afraid to take place in the past, but there is a lot of opportunity to set future Evil Dead films in the past, to outline the diverging paths of the three Books of the Dead throughout the centuries. And here are six potential time periods they could easily exploit.
Modern horror is inherently tied to the gothic. From fictional horrors like Dracula to the historical realities of White Chapel, Victorian England is a treasure trove of nightmarish situations that an Evil Dead sequel could mercilessly exploit.
I mean, take your pick. Do you find the Deadites overtaking the bodies of the impoverished? Perhaps follow some Body Snatchers learning their stock of robbed corpses is coming back? Or do you mix the Evil Dead with Jack the Ripper for something truly heinous and grotesque?
The only thing I’d advise any Evil Dead writers against is exploiting figures like Joseph Merrick for horror. The man had a rough enough life. I don’t think he needed Deadites.
Evil Dead Rise showed what happens when figures of religious authority interact with the Book of the Dead. Imagine taking that a step further, with a rich family like the Medicis getting their hands on this thing of evil.
The idea of Italy at the height of its artistic achievement being bombarded by psychotic, blasphemous demons is a thing of beauty already. Add to that instruments of torture and Italian weaponry, as well as a chance to bring Leonardo Da Vinci in on the gore, and you have something that could be very fun.
Meiji Restoration Japan
We don’t need to restrict the Evil Dead to just America and Europe. There are three books. Who’s to say someone didn’t bring it with them to Japan?
The Meiji Restoration was an era where Japan rapidly modernized, resulting in intense cultural divides. For those who learn history through media, think The Last Samurai or Rurouni Kenshin.
There’s already a great cultural conflict in place. What better way than some Western artifact of evil coming in to either bring greater conflict to both sides or unite them against one evil?
On a more superficial level, it’s the last samurai vs. Deadites.
There are many ways to take a story about Colonial America encountering the Book of the Dead, and they’re both great options.
When people think about Colonial America and horror cinema, a lot of people are going to think of either Prey or The VVitch. And both of these offer fantastic, low-budget templates on how an Evil Dead film in Colonial America could work.
Undeniably, the trick becomes what the focus of the film should be? Isolated horror or gruesome violence? Center on underrepresented Indigenous people? Focus on colonists struggling to survive, bringing, perhaps, a book with them? We know the 2013 Evil Dead‘s Book of the Dead ended up in America somehow, but, unlike the original trilogy’s book and Rise‘s Book, we have no explanation for how it got here. This could be it.
All of these options so far are post-Army of Darkness, after 1300 AD. However, history extends far further back than that. Army of Darkness was a sword and sorcery film. Why not go further back to the sword and sandal genre?
Perhaps a Roman legion uncovers an ancient site where the Book of the Dead is located? Or maybe someone brings the Book of the Dead with them to the Colosseum? Or perhaps we simply focus on normal people living under Roman authority on the outskirts of society?
While all of these are incredible possibilities, one undeniably interesting possibility would be to see Deadites interfere with the formation of the Roman Empire, interacting with figures such as Caeser, Mark Antony, Brutus, and Cleopatra. But that might be a little over-the-top…
The Books of the Dead were found in the ruins of Sumer, one of the first civilizations known to man. These books are OLD, so why not illustrate the origin of all three books?
In many ways, this is the least likely to be made. There’s a sort of secrecy and enigma to the Books that shouldn’t be fully explored. The show Ash vs Evil Dead explored the origins to an extent, but…should they explore it further? Some of the horror might be lost by showing us the books being inked in human blood and bound in human flesh.
But on the other hand, seeing something so grotesque and horrific might be worth it. Especially if we bear witness to the first Deadite…ever.