As a director, Sam Raimi always infuses fun in his work, as a producer, he makes sure to keep the horror genre well stocked with new talent but we all know the real reason we love Sam Raimi… … I’ll get to that in a minute. It all began with Evil Dead in 1981. Raimi created several short, low-budget films by the time Evil Dead appeared, honing his jumpy, quirky style. Evil Dead was an odd duck of a horror film about friends sharing a cabin the middle of the woods. Remote location, demon possession, a scary thing in the basement, it sounds pretty standard but Raimi’s gift for allowing his camera to tell a story instead of pounding the audience with narrative gave his extremely small movie an edge that was missing in most horror films of the time. The practical effects were decent, if a bit hokey, but there was no denying that Raimi had talent and everyone who saw the movie wanted more. Following a movie called Crime Wave, written by Raimi and the Coen brothers (yes, THOSE Coen brothers) with whom Sam shared an apartment, “more” is exactly what the audience got in Evil Dead II. This was the movie that truly put Raimi on the map. We’re back at the cabin in the woods, our hero “Ash” is returned with his fiancé as are the demons. Yes, it’s a sequel but it’s also a larger budget reimagining. Many of the cheaper practical effects were perfected in this film, adding to the enjoyment but it’s Raimi’s inventive use of camera that truly sets this movie apart from everything else in its day. Rather than throwing narrative at the audience to make his point, Sam uses jump-cuts, push-pulls and extreme wide-angle close-ups to heighten the tension and drive the plot. His camera often times becomes the object of terror, chasing Ash through the film as an unseen horror, allowing the audience to experience what it means to be a film monster. Interesting camera movement wasn’t the only tool in Raimi’s box; there was an unexpected element to his film: comedy. Raimi walked that tightrope between the two like a boss and, much like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, horror and comedy are two tastes that taste great together. Evil Dead II was a success in 1987 and Raimi had solidified himself as a master in the genre. In 1990, Raimi took everything that he perfected in Evil Dead II and created another mash-up of genres; Darkman. Darkman was a superhero/horror film and I have yet to see that pulled off successfully since. Granted, Darkman leans more heavily to the action side but the horror elements of that film are pure Raimi. If you’ve ever wondered why Raimi was chosen to spearhead the first major movie adaptation of Spider-Man, just watch the first 20 minutes of Darkman. That movie contains one of the best origin sequences ever filmed. From Darkman, Sam Raimi turned back to his original ideas in Evil Dead and created a blend of comedy, horror, and action in Army of Darkness. Ash was back and as over-the-top as ever, battling an undead army in 1300 AD. The result is an outrageously fun film that is an absolute playground for Raimi’s creativity. But that still isn’t why we love him… As the last few decades have gone by, Raimi has directed thrillers (The Gift, A Simple Plan) a heartwarming baseball picture (For the Love of The Game), returning to horror in Drag me to Hell, and a massively successful, long-awaited, and (mostly) AMAZING action trilogy with Spider-Man that ushered in the gigantic superhero boom that the film industry is currently milking. That’s all because of Sam Raimi, baby. That STILL isn’t why we love him… … we love him because he gave us Bruce Campbell. Sam and Bruce were high school friends and remain buddies today. Bruce was cast in Sam’s college film shorts. They shared an apartment together with the Coen brothers, Frances McDormand, Holly Hunter, and Kathy Bates. Bruce was cast as Ash in all three Evil Dead films and his particular brand of heroic ham MADE those movies. Would Sam Raimi be as successful without Bruce? Mmmmmm, probably, but we all would have been poorer. Thanks, Sam. Thanks, Bruce. Gimme some sugar, baby! Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.