The Evil Dead title


Bruce Campbell / Ellen Sandweiss / Richard DeManincor / Betsy Baker / Theresa Tilly / Ted Raimi  /  Special Effects  Sam Raimi  /  Art Dept.  Steve Frankel  /  Make-up  Tom Sullivan  /  Original music  Joseph LoDuca  /  Cinematography  Tim Philo  /  Editing  Edna Ruth Paul  / Produced by Bruce Campbell / Written & Directed by Sam Raimi

The Ultimate Experience In Grueling Terror

The Evil Dead is set to return in a glossy, big budget remake, but already the fans of the original ‘experience in grueling terror’, are shifting uncomfortably in their prospective cinema seats. Sam Raimi may have come under some joking stick from his fan purists for that trilogy of Spiderman popcorn movies, and the forthcoming shiny-mainstream ‘Oz, the Great and Powerful‘.. but allowing the desecration of his sacred Evil Dead series with a remake injected with oodles of cash, just seems downright wrong on all levels. The Raimi darkly comic style has indeed lent itself very well to projects beyond the Evil Dead of course, most notably with the Sharon Stone western ‘The Quick and the Dead‘ in 1995, ‘The Gift‘ with it’s reluctant Psychic Cate Blanchett, and most recently with the wonderfully creepy ‘Drag me to Hell‘ (with a deliciously quirky performance from Alison Lohman).. but, nothing can quite top the genius originality of all three original Evil Dead films.


Arrival at the Cabin

Don't go down into the Cellar..

The Evil Dead achieves that clever reinterpretation of early cinema standards that characterises avant guard filmmaking so well. Taking us on a Phantom train ride, that early Silents such as the Lumière brothers film L’Arrivée d’un Train (1896) shocked audiences with, and transposing the scene to a loose scrub track through a dense woodland, arriving at what seems to be an end of the line eerie cabin final destination. The effect is amplified by a preamble trip across a rickety bridge track that threatens collapse, and establishes in our minds that this is indeed a one way trip.

The original Phantom Rides ran in two directions –  the first, from the perspective of the train itself, was achieved by strapping a camera to the front of the train, becoming as it were, the eyes of the rocketing beast. The reverse of the Phantom Ride was the illusion of collision, and was achieved by placing the camera at an angle on a train platform, filming directly into the oncoming behemoth. This last effect caused such shock to early film audiences, that many filmgoers leapt from their seats to avoid the oncoming metal monster. Raimi uses both of these effects in the Evil Dead films, and often back to back, to flip and distort vision.

Travelling on the ‘phantom ride’ in ‘Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927)


Camera-run from Evil Dead II


Meeting the ‘phantom ride’ in L’Arrivée d’un Train (1896)

Released the same year, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining also made use of Phantom Rides, but famously developed the now ubiquitous Steady Cam to allow cameramen to run and chase an actor or an actor’s perspective with grace and relative ease. With it’s comparatively minuscule budget, The Evil Dead had to make use of camera’s strapped to planks of wood, and cameramen who were willing to risk life and limb for art. Both films may have used similar techniques, but the overall effects were polar opposites in terms of mood and more obviously in perspective. Whereas Kubrick achieved a balletic smoothness to his gliding camera through The Overlook Hotel and it’s snowbound maze, Raimi’s looser and haphazard camera churns and warps vision, with the sickening buoyancy of a drug trip on a full stomach. 

Evil Dead is pretty much exclusively shot in the third person, from the perspective of  either it’s characters or from without, via some unseen embodiment of the dark woods. Vision plows forwards, backwards, or is knocked cockeyed into Dutch angles, transporting us into a bold melding of German Expressionism (tones of ‘The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari’ abound), and dizzying 60’s Batman style fight scenes.. like Hitchcock on acid. Raimi references other horror films of the 1970’s, such as ‘The Exorcist’, and ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, but unlike Tarantino, he reinterprets and explores these motifs, rather than as a direct homage. We get the feeling of The Evil Dead as an original setter of a new style, as opposed to the sort of ‘ticking-off list’ of reference points that later horror pieces like ‘Scream’ developed. In this sense, ‘The Evil Dead’ was as influential on the medium as ‘Psycho’,  ‘Les Diaboliques’ and ‘Night of the Living Dead’.

Lazy Mary dutch angle

Automatic Drawing

Sam Raimi described the shooting process of Evil Dead as ‘twelve weeks of mirthless exercise in agony..’, a feeling echoed by it’s shell-shocked cast trapped on-location (Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker & Theresa Tilly).  Indeed, despite the film’s success, only Bruce Campbell reprising his role for parts II and III, with the actress Betsy Baker though key to the plot, having to morph into Denise Bixler and then Bridget Fonda as the trilogy advances. This change though works particularly well, since the whole feel of the Evil Dead trilogy is one of an almost dreamlike reinterpretation with each subsequent sequel. Before part one was set into production, Raimi had already attempted a dry-run short three years earlier, entitled ‘Within the Woods’, with Bruce Campbell and Ellen Sandweiss already on-board (good luck finding a decent copy to watch, by the way.. the only version I could track down online looked like it had been dragged through a hedge backwards), and exists as a fascinating prototype in embryonic form.

Raimi’s use of Shemp’s during all three films to make up for low budget and filming difficulties has become the stuff of legend and self parody, using not only himself, but also his brother Ted Raimi to double for the actors left, right and centre. A fake Shemp, for those not in the know, is when someone appears as a replacement for a missing actor during filming, and can be disguised by either not appearing fully in frame, or by standing with back to camera. The term ‘Shemp’ itself derives from Shemp Howard, of The Three Stooges, who having unfortunately died midway through filming, the Stooges decided to use Joe Palma (Shemp’s stand-in) along with old unused footage to create the illusion that Shemp was still around for the remaining contracted films in production. Each of the Evil Dead films supplies a long list of Shemps in their closing credits, and include numerous appearances by Raimi himself.

Ellen Sandweiss


The Evil Dead joined the fraternity of hip, dangerous films that carried the infamous X -Certificate.  As critic William Rotsler so succinctly put it – “The XXX-rating means hard-core, the XX-rating is for simulation, and an X-rating is for comparatively cool films.” For while it is true that Evil Dead became uncomfortable bedfellow with such nasties as ‘I Spit on your Grave’, and ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, it also rubbed shoulders with other heavy weight creative forces, such as ‘Fritz the Cat’, ‘A Clockwork Orange’, ‘Last Tango in Paris’, and the iconic ‘Midnight Cowboy’. The later years of the X-Certificate found the more dubious filmmakers applying the X to their films themselves, in hopes of gaining artificial notoriety. Ultimately the large number of seedy films carrying the X-Certificate began to cause some cinemas to avoid X films altogether, on the assumption that X just stood for Sex in the minds of patrons.. so by the time Evil Dead II was completed, Raimi decided, along with others to release their films unrated, dropping the X, and instead including a warning banner upfront – ‘Contains content for Adults Only’. By the early 90’s the X Certificate was put aside altogether, and replaced with a no-nonsense NC-17 rating in America, and 18 Certificate in Britain.

Recording, precursor to found footage Horror films

Bruce Campbell

 The enduring appeal of the ‘Dead’ films owes much to it’s highly inventive, offbeat humour, and it’s on the spot creativity. A joy and passion which can rarely be replicated on a big budget. The pleasures of stop-frame animation for example, an integral part of the final scenes of the 1st film, continued to appear in the subsequent sequels,  so as to maintain a firm link to the creative magic of independent, low budget filmmaking, despite the increased budgets of those installments. Raimi struck gold with his Evil Dead series, and so too did it’s charismatic star, Bruce Campbell, who went on to become a highly successful cult personality in his own right, appearing in numerous roles and guest-spots in the years that followed, including an iconic run on cult Tv series ‘The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.’ (well worth seeking out, though perhaps merely as an oddity in Tv land).

Something else I should mention.. that X-Cerificate still weaves it’s mystical power, and manages to scare off many a prospective viewer, who doubtless fear nightmares and revulsion.. which is a shame, since The Evil Dead is as fresh and original now as it’s ever been. Yes, there’s many a freaky, disturbing image to contend with, but on each occasion you experience a chill, you find a counterbalancing grin on your chops. ‘Evil Dead II: Dead before Dawn’, will have you laughing out loud, and by the time you reach the end of  ‘Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness’, you’ll be pining for more, like a pathetic, Horror-sick puppy dog. As for those who continue to avoid the original, and instead get sucked into watching the remake instead? Well.. perhaps one of those nice, safe Twilight films will better suit you’s. 

Join ussssssss


Within the Woods (1978)

The Evil Dead(1981/2)

The Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)

The Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness (1992)



The Evil Dead - Promo shoot 1981 (Lobby)

  The Evil Dead - Promo shoot 1981 ~ The Evil Dead - Promo shoot 1981 (ii) -

The Evil Dead - Promo shoot 1981 (iii)   The Evil Dead - Promo shoot 1981 (iv)



The Shining (1980)

You've always been here


Jack Nicholson / Shelley Duvall / Danny Lloyd / Scatman Crothers / Philip Stone / Barry Nelson / Joe Turkel / Lia Beldam / Billie Gibson / Lisa Burns / Art Direction Leslie Tomkins / Production Design Roy Walker / Original Soundtrack Wendy Carlos & Rachel Elkind / Editor Ray Lovejoy / Cinematography John Alcott / Producers John Fryer, Jan Harlan, Mary Lee Johnson & Stanley Kubrick / Director Stanley Kubrick


~Many thanks to Jess Stryker for additional photos~


‘Some places are like people.. some shine and some don’t.’

The Overlook

..when something happens, it can leave a trace of itself behind. Say like, if someone burns toast. Well, maybe things that happen leave other kinds of traces behind. Not things that anyone can notice, but things that people who “shine” can see. Just like they can see things that haven’t happened yet. Well, sometimes they can see things that happened a long time ago. I think a lot of things happened right here in this particular hotel over the years. And not all of ’em was good.’

Danny & Wendy

The Grady Twins

‘Come and play with us, Danny.. forever.. and ever.. and ever.’

Outlining a writing project

‘…The winters can be fantastically cruel. And the basic idea is to cope with the very costly damage and depreciation which can occur. And this consists mainly of running the boiler, heating different parts of the hotel on a daily, rotating basis, repair damage as it occurs, and doing repairs so that the elements can’t get a foothold.’

Overlook Maze

Physically, it’s not a very demanding job. The only thing that can get a bit trying up here during the winter is, uh, a tremendous sense of isolation.’

Jack or Kubrick

‘God, I’d give anything for a drink. I’d give my god-damned soul for just a glass of beer.’

What'll it be

‘Perhaps they need a good talking to, if you don’t mind my saying so. Perhaps a bit more. My girls, sir, they didn’t care for the Overlook at first. One of them actually stole a pack of matches, and tried to burn it down. But I “corrected” them sir. And when my wife tried to prevent me from doing my duty, I “corrected” her.’

Shelley Duvall

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy..’

All work and no play makes jack a dull boy


‘The exterior of the hotel was filmed at the Timberline Lodge, near Mount Hood, in Oregon. It had a room 217 but no room 237, so the hotel management asked me to change the room number because they were afraid their guests might not want to stay in room 217 after seeing the film. There is, however, a genuinely frightening thing about this hotel which nestles high up on the slopes of Mount Hood. Mount Hood, as it happens, is a dormant volcano, but it has quite recently experienced pre-eruption seismic rumbles similar to the ones that a few months earlier preceded the gigantic eruption of Mount St. Helens, less than sixty miles away. If Mount Hood should ever erupt like Mount St. Helens, then the Timberline Hotel may indeed share the fiery fate of the novel’s Overlook Hotel.’

‘The first step was for Roy to go around America photographing hotels which might be suitable for the story. Then we spent weeks going through his photographs making selections for the different rooms. Using the details in the photographs, our draughtsmen did proper working drawings. From these, small models of all the sets were built. We wanted the hotel to look authentic rather than like a traditionally spooky movie hotel. The hotel’s labyrinthine layout and huge rooms, I believed, would alone provide an eerie enough atmosphere. This realistic approach was also followed in the lighting, and in every aspect of the decor it seemed to me that the perfect guide for this approach could be found in Kafka’s writing style. His stories are fantastic and allegorical, but his writing is simple and straightforward, almost journalistic. On the other hand, all the films that have been made of his work seem to have ignored this completely, making everything look as weird and dreamlike as possible. The final details for the different rooms of the hotel came from a number of different hotels. The red men’s room, for example, where Jack meets Grady, the ghost of the former caretaker, was inspired by a Frank Lloyd Wright men’s room in an hotel in Arizona. The models of the different sets were lit, photographed, tinkered with and revised. This process continued, altering and adding elements to each room, until we were all happy with what we had.’

Stanley Kubrick interview (Michel Ciment)

The Timberline Lodge Oregon (Mount Hood) 1


Exterior – The Timberline Lodge Oregon (Mount Hood)

The Timberline Lodge Oregon (Mount Hood) 2

The Timberline Lodge Oregon (Mount Hood) 3


The Ahwahnee Hotel main lobby


Interior – The Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park, California (built – 1927)

The Ahwahnee Hotel main lobby 2


Jack arrives at the Overlook 1

Ahwahnee reconstructed at the Elstree Studios, England

Jack arrives at the Overlook 2


Ahwahnee Hotel - Maze

Ahwahnee – Rug pattern & Corridors

Ahwahnee Hotel corridor

The Ahwahnee Hotel Fragment of one of the hotel's original Persian rugs. These framed historic rug fragments are used as decorations


Danny - Carpet maze design

Overlook Set

Danny - Carpet maze design 2


The Ahwahnee Hotel - elevator lobby

ELEVATORS – The Ahwahnee .. to Elstree Set

Elstree Set - Lift





“Rocky Mountains”
Written and Performed by Wendy Carlos & Rachel Elkind

Written by György Ligeti
Performed by Sinfonie-Orchestra des Sudwestfunk
Conducted by Ernest Bour

“Music For Strings, Percussion and Celesta (movement III)”
Written by Béla Bartók
Performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Conducted by Herbert von Karajan

“The Awakening of Jakob”
Written by Krzysztof Penderecki
Performed by Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki

“Utrenja – Ewangelia”
Written by Krzysztof Penderecki
Performed by Symphony Orchestra of the National Philharmonic, Warsaw
Conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki

“Utrenja – Kanon Paschy”
Written by Krzysztof Penderecki
Performed by Symphony Orchestra of the National Philharmonic, Warsaw
Conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki

“De Natura Sonoris No.1”
Written by Krzysztof Penderecki
Performed by Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki

“De Natura Sonoris No.2”
Written by Krzysztof Penderecki
Performed by Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki

Written by Krzysztof Penderecki
Performed by Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki

Performed by Jack Hilton and his Orchestra

“Midnight, the Stars and You”
Written by Jimmy Campbell, Reginald Connelly, Harry M. Woods
Performed by Ray Noble Orchestra with Al Bowlly

“It’s All Forgotten Now”
Performed by Ray Noble Orchestra with Al Bowlly

“Home (When Shadows Fall)”
Performed by Henry Hall & the Gleneagles Hotel Band

“Kanon for 52 string orchestra and tape”
Written by Krzysztof Penderecki

View from the solarium in  The Ahwahnee Hotel

“Midnight, with the stars and you;
Midnight, and a rendezvous.
Your eyes held a message tender,
Saying, “I surrender all my love to you.”

Midnight brought us sweet romance,
I know all my whole life through
I’ll be remembering you,
Whatever else I do,
Midnight with the stars and you.”



Poster Art French Poster Overlook Hotel July 4th 1921

The Shining - Maze - Steady-cam The Shining - Kubrick 2 The Shining - Still 1

The Shining - On-Set The Shining - Still 2 The Shining - Still 3

The Shining - Still 4 The Shining - Still 5 The Shining - Kubrick


Jack Nicholson - Portrait c.1980 1 Jack Nicholson - Portrait c.1980 2

Shelley Duvall - portrait c.1977 1 Shelley Duvall - portrait c.1977 2