It’s been twenty-five years since the release of Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn but yesterday crowds of horror fans swarmed outside The Ritzy Picturehouse in Brixton to once again make cinema history for the new Evil Dead movie.
Generations of Evil Dead fans hung close together whilst photographers snapped away at the wood cabin in front of the Ritzy, set there as part of the premiere. Wax candles melted into one another. A bible lay sprawled across the pavement. Onlookers were unsure as to whether it was a prop. It remained untouched.
There was a party atmosphere as people milled around the iconic cabin. A hand popped through wooden slats wriggling bloodied fingers. Seconds later a demonic zombie slid its head out, glaring at potential victims. Inside the cabin was delicately lit. More Disney than demon. But the stunt gave the crowd a buzz and set the mood for the evening.
But first a guest, as star of Evil Dead, Jane Lowry, emerged from inside the cabin. The press circled. Cameras flashed. Interviews were granted. And then we marched inside.
The Ritzy bar staff wore Evil Dead T-Shirts. Their faces flaunted flesh wounds and trickling blood. You hoped that an eyeball wouldn’t accidentally drop into a cocktail or two.
We settled into our seats, adding to the air of nostalgic chatter that filled the auditorium, people giggling and remembering their favourite moments from previous films. Others spoke of the highly anticipated Q&A with Director Fede Alvarez. Then the lights dimmed, popcorn crackled and the movie began.
As in Dead by Dawn viewers were immediately thrown into the action. Friends David, Eric, Olivia and Natalie gather together at the cabin to help Mia (Jane levy) battle a heroin addiction. But, of course, they discover the Book of the Dead, summon a demon spirit into the cabin and one by one fall victim to possession. It’s a familiar story and exactly what we’d hoped to see. Eventually after scoring, slicing and devouring each other into a congealed mess, protagonist Mia comes face to face with the demon entity. A battle of flesh commences, qualifying for possibly the goriest last stand of the year.
As the credits rolled, the audience applauded. We can be a nasty little bunch when it comes to Evil Dead and we got what we expected and deserved. And yet, insatiable fans that we are, we begged for more. And more we got courtesy of a special Q&A with director Fede Alvarez and actress Jane Lowry.
‘We just wanted to make a new Evil Dead and decided to make a new story, new characters with the same themes. It was like a sequel to the first movie, where the car is still there. It’s the same cabin, someone bought it ages ago…you know very cheap…probably because a lot of people died there. Then 30 years later this movie happened! It’s kind of a requel’ Fede Alvarez explained.
When asked whether there were any scenes that stuck with her, actress Jane Lowry answered:
‘Everything sort of stuck with me, I loved the trap door scene. I think it was so scary with the singing and her eyes rolling at the back of her head, I think that moment was the most exciting I was to recreate. We were both really nervous that day because its just an iconic moment.’
Fede continued, ‘Thank god this is our vision, this is what was in the script and this was my director’s cut and there was really no censorship of any level. There’s no more gore than what you saw here. There’s probably going to be an extended version, but those are scenes that were moved just to keep the pace of the movie. This is definitely my favourite cut of the film.’
So what does the future hold for Evil Dead?
‘We definitely want to continue and follow the story of Mia and find out where she’s going to go and what happens to her after. Is she going to go back and do drugs, probably, but we have a meeting with Sam in a couple of weeks to sit down and really figure it out.’
The Evil Dead franchise is alive and kicking and the hype isn’t over yet. Some fans even booked a second helping before leaving with signed copies of movie merchandise and cherished photo opportunities with the charming Fede Alvarez. Needless to say we await the next chapter. Bound in human skin of course.