Raimi, Sam & Tapert, Rob (Boogeyman)


So here’s where most of the information about the Evil Dead remake that’s been out on the Net came from: the interview with Rob and Sam at the Boogeyman junket. Even though they were there to talk about one movie, it seemed everyone involved had Evil Dead on the brain, so read on for some truth behind the rumors you’ve been seeing all over the place. And for some discussion of Boogeyman as well.

Question: How relieved are you that Ghost House Pictures got off to such a great start?

Sam Raimi: I’m very relieved because Rob Tapert, myself, Joe Drake, Nathan Kahane, all really want to make this company work. We’ve got a lot of plans to make some great horror pictures in the future, bring some promising young directors to behind the camera, and that first film being successful really allows us to do everything we had hoped.

Q: How many films do you think it will take before they stop selling them on the name Sam Raimi above the title?

SR: I think we’re at that place now and that’s really what we want to do. We want to establish Ghost House as its own label, a label known for making hopefully a good quality horror picture.

Q: What do you think of the fan backlash against an Evil Dead remake? I know there was backlash against the Dawn of the Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes, but this is different because it is the actual filmmakers wanting to remake it. How do you feel about that?

SR: Well, I respect the fans and their wishes, and more than anything, Rob and I want to please the fans of the films. But I’ve never thought that making a film ever takes away from an existing film. No matter what you do, they’re just two separate realities. Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell and myself made Evil Dead in 1979. It bridged over into 1980. It was a 16mm film and although we think it was effective in a lot of ways, we actually think that it’s not like it couldn’t be improved in many ways. For example there’s like no real characterizations – the dialogue is not very good, the photography is 16mm like I mentioned, we had a small lighting kit. I think Tom Sullivan did a great job with the makeup but if he was given a little more time and a little better budget, I think he could have even gone further. And I love Bruce Campbell, so I don’t think you ever replace Bruce. I just think there’s a lot that a new director could bring to it that I didn’t. I’m kind of excited to see it be born again in a strange way. I think it could be a lot of fun for the fans of the first one, and I think there are so many people that have never seen the thing that it’s exciting to realize that gee, that horror story we told could be retold to a much larger audience, and if it was told in a finer quality, maybe they would like it.

Q: Would it be grounds for a new trilogy?

SR: I haven’t thought that far ahead.

Q: Would it be PG-13 like the other Ghost House movies?

Robert Tapert: I think that would be a mistake.

SR: No, I don’t think so.

Q: I think one of the reasons there is so much backlash is because if you remake it now it would seem like that would pretty much seal the door for an Evil Dead IV ever being made. If you came out with an Evil Dead IV after remaking part one wouldn’t you confuse a lot of people?

SR: Oh, I think the fans are really smart. I don’t think they’d be confused. I’d like to make a part four.

Q: Well sure not the hardcore fans, but the general public.

SR: Yeah true. There’s this very small audience for Evil Dead IV, and if we ever make a movie called Evil Dead IV, which I’d like to make with Rob at some point and starring Bruce Campbell, I’m not saying there’s a million people, but there’s 100,000 people that will know exactly what it is and that’s about as big as the crowd is, honestly. It’s not a giant crowd, but they’re a great crowd.

RT: And you might have to call it Army of Darkness II oddly enough because only the fans really knew that that was Evil Dead III. Even the people at Universal Home Video called us up one time and said, “We want to do a direct to video Army of Darkness II because that’s a really good title.” We said, “No, that’s really Evil Dead III.” They said, “Oh, well, we don’t care about that Evil Dead stuff but the Army of Darkness was really good.” They’re totally confused.

Q: Will Bruce be involved?

SR: Evil Dead IV would just be made with Bruce, but if we make a new Evil Dead movie, which we’re hoping to produce, Rob and I would try to get a young director with brand new ideas with his own cast and his own take on the thing.

Q: Would Bruce possibly have a cameo?

SR: I don’t know.

RT: Bruce has said no. He said he’d rather wait and do something else rather than strictly playing a cameo.

Q: What are his feelings on the remake talk?

RT: The only thing that Bruce has asked is that nobody is called Ash. He wants to sit on that name.

Q: How far along are you on the remake?

SR: We’re way out in development. We’re waiting to find the right director for the project that thinks he can really bring something new to it so that we can say to the fans, ‘We really believe in this guy. He loves the material. He’s got a great new take on it. He’s told us all these different ways he can improve it. And therefore we can go ahead with a clean conscience thinking it’s going to be a really good project, something that the fans would like.’

Q: Would it be a Ghost House release?

SR: Would it be, Rob?

RT: I don’t know. Meaning, eventually it’ll probably end up back in the Ghost House library. We actually haven’t even thought about it.

SR: It’s probably not, but we don’t know.

Q: I had heard Bruce really wanted to do Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash and was really disappointed that you decided against it. Is there any truth to that?

SR: He might have been. I don’t want to speak for Bruce. I don’t really know how he felt about it. I just know that although it would have been financially profitable for us to do it, if we didn’t have control over it that is where I was afraid we would have upset the fans. By letting someone else work the character, and even very talented filmmakers and great artists like they have working on that film. But because their desire is to make their film and not treat the character of Ash, we said no. Enough lack of respect and I couldn’t be sure we would have been happy with it and that’s what I didn’t want to do.

RT: And I think equally if we would have done that we wouldn’t have been able to do Evil Dead IV or Army of Darkness II. That would have in its own way been the demise of the franchise.

Q: That didn’t stop their franchises.

SR: No, they have been very successful, but we have a particular take on the character that would be very hard to ask someone else to get into that mindset because he is such an ignoramus. There is an element of comedy that may pollute their picture too. I thought it would not be a very good idea to try it. I like directors to direct their own movies, and yet my interest in the character would force me to be meddling and just didn’t want to be in that situation with another director, certainly one I respect so much.

Q: What do you look for in a young director?

SR: Somebody that can create really good characters, because I think that would be a great way to improve Evil Dead. Somebody with a real desire to terrify the audience that has a morbid, sick fascination with punishing them. Someone who is really a great visualist; good campfire storyteller.

Q: More scary than funny now?

SR: Well, the Evil Dead movie was always intended to be the scariest movie we could make with elements of black humor. Then Evil Dead II, we tried to change the balance of that and mostly make a dark comedy that had elements of a horror film. But to remake Evil Dead I, that much I would like to insist upon, our goal and the goal of this director should be to terrify the audience in a very intense and merciless way.

RT: As Sam would say, to punish them.

Q: When do you start Grudge 2?

RT: Grudge 2, we’re working on the script right now. Shimizu San and Taka were here for about two weeks and sending treatments back and forth, ideally off to script in the next month or so.

Q: Shimizu would direct again?

RT: That’s the intention. Based on him being here, there’s a deal, there’s everything, he said he loves it, he wants to do it. If he came back tomorrow and said no, he wasn’t going to, he would legally be able to do that but I think everybody’s aboard. Certainly Taka’s aboard. We desperately think Shimizu san is fantastic.

Q: Will Sarah Michelle Geller be back?

RT: We loved working with Sarah and right now our intention is to use her character in the sequel. It’s really her decision if she wants to come back and do it, but we loved the experience and think she was not only an asset to bringing in an audience, but to taking an American cast and an all Japanese crew and working in a strange land, she was the camp leader. She was the one who when the new people came over, she rallied, “Hey, let’s go out to dinner, let’s go to the fish market, let’s do all those things.” So she was really kind of the beacon for all the non Japanese-speaking people who came to Japan. To work with somebody like that again would be great.

Q: How did the development of Boogeyman come about?

RT: Boogeyman came about when Sam and I were approached a couple of years ago by Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane to form this company Ghost House Pictures. They already had the script Boogeyman that they brought to us and at that time it was more of an 80’s monster movie. Through development and once Stephen Kay came aboard, it moved more into like a psychological realm. So it was a long development process but that’s how it kind of came to us.

Q: What is next on the Ghost House slate?

SR: I’m not exactly sure which one is going to go into production next but Grudge 2 is being written right now and in treatment form. Actually it’s about to take its step into script form. There’s a picture called 30 Days of Night which is being written right now, and that’s over at Columbia Pictures who really want to make the film. They have been great about rushing it into production but we’re trying to get the script just right. That’s based on the great comic book by Steve Niles and Templeton did the great illustrations for it. So it’s based on both of their works. As far as those two which will go first… actually I don’t know. Rob do you know?

RT: I don’t know. We have one more called Scarecrow with the Pang Brothers who did The Eye.

SR: Maybe that will go first.

RT: That may go first.

SR: So you asked what’s next, I bet it would be Scarecrow. But that name night change.

RT: Yeah, we will probably change the name because I think there are like six Scarecrows running around out there (laughs).

Q: So any other projects are still a long way off?

SR: No, there is horror movie that my brother wrote that we are considering jumping into production soon if we can find the right director for it, but we don’t have the financing in place for it yet. Then there are other projects that are a long way off.

Q: Which brother, Ivan or Ted?

SR: Ivan, but I’m hoping Ted would be in it but I haven’t spoken to him about it yet.

Q: Do you think there is ever a chance that you may release your old college films some day? There have been bootlegs floating around for years. I mean I own them and I’m sure others would love to see the Adventures of Cleveland Smith or the Helping Hand. Maybe an Anchor Bay DVD release some day or something?

SR: Maybe one day.

RT: You probably have the only copy.

Q: Well if you need a copy let me know.

SR: The truth is we don’t own the music on those films because they were never intended for professional release and the quality is so poor. I think they are really valuable learning experiences for all of us, but sometimes you really don’t want your learning materials going out there as your films. It’s kind of upsetting that they’ve taken them. It’s like someone going into your folders and taking your early writings from high school and publishing them. You know please don’t do that stuff to me; steal my stuff and selling it on the internet. It’s kind of rude. But I don’t feel like it’s something I’d really like people to see.

Q: There’s some more remake material right there.

SR: (Laughs) That is true.

RT: Bruce, I think, is more in touch with the fans all the time over Evil Dead, he was the one who came back and said, “Oh, there’s this huge backlash. People don’t want to do it.” And of all the crazy people, our original investors who would profit from it said, “Geez, we don’t know why you’d even do it. We’ve done very well.” But there is somebody out there who is going to be able to reinvent that movie for a whole new group of people who are never going to experience it in a theatrical event. Even though it’s a great DVD, it’s a great theatrical experience. To bring that to a whole new generation and a whole new group of people with somebody who wants to honor the first movie and take it to the next level of entertainment, in building the better roller coaster so to speak, we would be denying the people who originally like it and the people who will never see it and experience it that opportunity if we don’t at least investigate to the best of our ability how can we go about that task.

Q: If you don’t get a script or director that you both feel will do it justice, will you abandon it?

SR: I would say we’d put it on hold. I don’t think we’d abandon it, but we won’t make it unless we have a really good script and a really great director, somebody we feel is just right for it.

Q: Would you ever want to go back and do special edition DVD’s for your earlier films like Darkman or The Quick and the Dead? Currently both of those DVDs are only available in bare bones editions.

SR: No. That was years ago and I don’t really have the desire to go in and create materials out of those films that the audience hadn’t seen.

Q: I had always heard that there was a much longer cut of Darkman, is that not true?

SR: There was yes. And things were removed from it. Rob and I were successful in putting back in a lot of those things.

RT: Let those dogs lie.

SR: Yeah I’d like to let those dogs lie.

Q: Were there parts of Boogeyman that scared you? Does anything really scare you?

SR: Oh yeah I’m a big coward in the movies. I jump and scream at the lamest of things. So I’m the easiest audience member. What scared you, Rob?

RT: I liked the scene with all of the missing kids.

SR: That’s right, I would say the same thing. That is one of the eeriest moments for me when he is trying to find what this Boogeyman is; trying to find some answers and the ghosts of all these missing children that the Boogeyman has taken throughout the years appear in the house. And their almost asking for his help is kind of freaky to me. There is another moment that is really eerie to me, when the young lady (Skye) is in the house and they’re trying to find the answer to what this creature is, and we find out that she is a ghost of one of the girls that must have been taken by him. That was a sad and eerie moment for me and one of my favorite moments.

Q: Will there be an ‘R’ rated version of the Boogeyman for the DVD like the version of The Grudge that I believe is coming out, is that correct?

SR: No that is correct. There is a director’s cut coming out that is really intense.

Q: That’s a later release than the one that just came out?

SR: Yes.

RT: One of things when Stephen Kay came aboard, because we were moving in a harder direction. Stephen said, “There can’t be any blood. This has to be a ‘PG-13’ movie because the concept of the Boogeyman is going to appeal primarily 12 to 16 year olds.” So that idea of the Boogeyman is a younger idea so we never really shot the material. I think even in the hardest version maybe we had to cut like ten frames out of the bathroom scene for this or that because the MPAA wanted to condense it down. So there is a little tiny bit of the dad being taken in the beginning; there was some violence there. There wasn’t much that got shot that didn’t make it into the movie for ratings purposes.

Big thanks to Sony for allowing us to take part in the junket and especially to Sam & Rob for allowing themselves to be distracted from the matter at hand so often! Boogeyman is now in theaters, so make sure you check it out and see if it scares you as much as it did Sam!

Discuss Boogeyman in our forums!



Sign up for The Harbinger a Dread Central Newsletter