Bruce Campbell conquers New York Comic Con with amazing Evil Dead footage, mere presence

Allow your skepticism about the new Evil Dead movie to die now. This weekend, New York Comic Con attendees were treated to exclusive footage of the movie that is not a reboot, nor a remake, but a new entry in the classic horror franchise. And it was sick. I'll admit, I got a little choked up like a mother watching her daughter nail a ballet recital. A bootleg version of the footage is floating around today (for the moment), but when I tell you it doesn't come near the impact felt by those of us in the IGN audience, I'm not exaggerating. We felt collectively punched in the face. And then, there was Bruce Fucking Campbell.

I wasn't entirely happy about this new Evil Dead movie in the beginning, especially when I heard Sam Raimi was not going to direct, nor was Bruce Campbell going to be Ash. But then we all found out that Raimi and Campbell would be directly involved in its production and hand-pick its director, Fede Alvarez. It still didn't feel quite right. But after this panel, even if it still doesn't feel like an Evil Dead movie, that doesn't mean it's going to be a bad movie. In fact, I think this is going to be a great movie.

Let's start out by acknowledging how effortlessly and robustly Bruce Campbell owns a large room. Most of the people in the IGN theater had been there for hours (present company included), securing their seat for a number of spotlight panels that day. I don't doubt that some of us were there just to see Evil Dead, especially if we were going to get a wholehearted endorsement of this movie from Ashley J. Williams himself.

After a long standing ovation, Campbell sat down and told us all that we, Evil Dead fans, were "rude, crass, impatient people," and that if we wanted him to "crown" Jane Levy as the new Ash, "I will do it my fucking self." He and Levy discussed the casting process, Levy revealing that Campbell was either trying to talk her out of it or make sure she was prepared to take a Raimi-style beating from Alvarez. (Because what is an Evil Dead movie without its director abusing its lead actor? Not an Evil Dead movie.) Later, he and Alvarez also defended the hiring of Diablo Cody to brush up the script. Alvarez, who pointed out that he wasn't American, said that Cody's work on the script was really to make sure the young American characters sounded right. But also, Campbell added, "she won an Academy Award." So, there's that.

And even though Cody's job was to give the characters some silly quips amongst the horror, it was made very clear to us that this Evil Dead was going back to the very first movie, which was straight-up horror, and not the second or third movies, which were more "splatstick," a phrase coined by Campbell and Raimi. Before the video footage, we saw the full image that I teased above, which is of Jane Levy as a Deadite. Here is the full picture, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly:

This is really the first glimpse of the movie that we were getting, and it was pretty impressive. (As in, the audience made audible sounds of shocked approval.) But it was about to get better, because the footage we were shown had a palpable impact on the audience. This movie is not messing around -- it looks terrifying. We were sideswiped by this thing.

We have the Necronomicon. We have an idiot reading the Necronomicon. We have tree rape. And we have chainsaw. We have a new Evil Dead movie, and it is here to swallow our souls.

After giving a gaspy fan five dollars following a kiss on her hand, Campbell offered a final benediction:

"We don't want to screw this up... I know a lot of you were pissed... I will accept all of your collective apologies."

Legend has it that Bruce Campbell then dropped the mic and vaporized into thin air that day, but I had to scurry away to be on another panel, so I can't say for sure if this happened. But I'd like to believe it did.

Photo credit: Entertainment Weekly


  1. I love LOVE love Bruce Campbell! My halloween costume this year and the last three years will be Ash, with the chainsaw and the Necronomicon in my hands (and instead of the right hand of course)

  2. I kept thinking the 2 guys from Cabin in the Woods were going to show up. Especially after they said something like, “we never should have touched anything in that basement”

        1. And we must protect the purity of the English language, A.K.A. the least pure language in the world!

  3. Updated tree rape, eh?  That might tease the dollars from my wallet.  Glad to hear there’s chainsaws though.  Wouldn’t be “Evil Dead” without some hot chainsaw action.

  4. The ‘tree rape’ scene is the one big thing he modified from 1 to 2. It still had the tree, but sans rape. Because unlike most guys, Sam Raimi grew up.

    I don’t know much about it. But I’m looking at who they replaced Ash with. I’m not sure I can see her filling that role. I might be wrong. I thought the woman in Drag Me To Hell was pretty damned good, but I think a lot of that came down to Raimi’s direction. 

    The beauty of Evil Dead was, Sam Raimi was brilliant. He did things no filmmaker at his time had done. The things Sam did, they’re in every single action/horror movie on the screen today. This remake cannot hope to do that; they’re just going to be doing those thirty year-old things. It can’t be Evil Dead, because it’s not revolutionary. 

    Also, I cannot stand Diablo Cody. She’s about as familiar with the way real people talk as, say, Kevin Smith. Or Joss Whedon. Their lines might sound cute as memes or ad copy. But they’re not conversational, and they universally feel forced. 

  5. Even if it’s another Evil Dead movie, there’s still the question of do I want another Evil Dead movie. If it has the Necronomicon, tree rape, and chainsaws, all I can think is I’ve already seen that movie – three times. I’d rather they put their energies into something original. But what do I know – this will make them tons of money.

    1. Sometimes a movie is made to break new ground. Other times, a movie is made to please the cult fan following. This is a case of the latter.

      Not every movie that gets made is meant to appeal to everyone. Sometimes a movie is made for a certain audience. Sometimes that audience isn’t you. Don’t rain on their parade just because you aren’t a part of it.

      1. Sorry, it just seems like most of the movies today are only meant to appease the cult following, but they’re the people buying movie tickets.

        1. Nah, the trouble is that most movies are meant to appeal to as broad an audience as possible in order to turn as big a profit as possible.  Horror movies are usually a cheap(ish) investment for a studio, since they rarely have to spend a lot on talent, exotic locations, pricey production values, or six-figure-plus script doctors.  But even the relatively freewheeling horror-film purveyors are allergic to risk, and are much more likely to spend the slightly larger budgets, not on original fare, but on solid, known-quantity, name-brand “cult” franchises… hence the interminable sequels of the 80s and 90s, and the endless stream of reboots of those same franchises today.

          What made the first Evil Dead so great was a handful of barely-out-of-their-teens filmmakers doing the best they could with a loose-change-under-the-couch-cushions budget (okay, low six figures) and more talent than sense.  It’s still a perfectly serviceable plot, and there’s no reason why the remake shouldn’t be an utterly scary and competent little horror movie, as long as the right people are making it (and it seems they are).  Great, as far as that goes.

          But yeah, we’ve been to that nasty little cabin in those godforsaken woods more than a few times by now.  No matter how talented the singers, at a certain point we tire of the same old song and dance.

          I just wish the studios would admit that there are stories worth telling and characters worth seeing that we didn’t see back in the 70s and 80s.  It feels like the abuse Universal used to heap on its stable of movie monsters from the 30s onward through the 60s… as if nothing could possibly be scary unless it be named Dracula, Larry Talbot, Im-Ho-Tep, or Frankenstein’s Monster.  For awhile there we simply couldn’t get away from Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Leatherface.  And maybe Chucky.  We had those relentlessly stupid Final Destination flicks for a while there, and now we’re stuck in an endless loop of found-footage horseshit and zombie movies of wildly varying quality.

          Buy a fresh script, somebody!  For the love of Mike!

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