Friday, April 5, 2013

Just what is it about Sam Raimi?

 Just what is it about Sam Raimi?
In honor of the Evil Dead remake hitting theaters this weekend, I decided to write a small post trying to explain my love and obsession for the man behind the classic 1981 original. 

In many ways I grew up watching Sam since he had a small role in the Stephen King's mini series The Stand. Growing up, my mother was a HUGE King fan so hearing about his books, and watching movies based off his work was a staple. The Stand was and still is one of my favorites. Sam played Bobby Terry, a brief role as one of Flag's men who were stationed to stand guard. Sam will and forever be burned into my memory as that poor guy who gets eaten alive after blowing Ossie Davis' face off.

When I was 11 or so I remember buying The Evil Dead and Last House On The Left on VHS. In one night I was blown away by the two brutal horror classics that unfolded before my very own eyes. It wasn't long before I of course discovered Dead By Dawn and of course Army Of Darkness. To be the first two Evil Dead movies were complete classics. I loved how truly awesome and bizarre these movies were and how they were so unlike any other movie I had seen before. 

I of course LOVED The Quick And The Dead growing up (maybe because a very young and adorable Leo was in it long before he was doing horrible Boston accents.) The range this guy has with movies is insane. I mean just last year I re-watched Darkman, how ahead of it's time that movie is can't even be put down into words. Hell, I even bought For The Love Of The Game and enjoyed it. Don't hate...

Time passed and I still clearly remember watching The Gift when it came on video. To me this was a great thriller. I have always been interested in movies/stories about people with second sight, and this down South setting was truly perfect. I of course knew who Sam and Ted Raimi were, and I always respected them for being the ones behind the Evil Dead movies. In college while taking a film course I was partnered up with a few girls and since I made it really clear after screening the raft massacre from The Burning about my love for horror, one of the girls decided to choose a scene from Evil Dead 2 to screen and study. In fact a friend of mine who was also in the group still jokes that while she and the other girl got B's on their part, I was the only one who got an A studying the sound effects done in the "Groovy" scene.

When Drag Me To Hell came out I was there opening weekend. My first viewing I really wasn't feeling the movie. I mean it did look and feel like a Raimi movie, but I really wasn't crazy about it. Finally when it came out on DVD and I re-watched it a few times I finally saw it's charm and fell in love with it.

Finally back in 2010 I happened upon the slasher Intruder at a local video store. Back in 2008 my horror collection was featured in an issue of HorrorHound magazine which also had a beyond awesome article based on some of the greatest underrated slasher of all time. Intruder was one of them. Right away my interest was peeked when I first read about this movie. I found the whole super market setting different, and the fact that Sam and Ted himself were actors in it. Now I grew up watching the Evil Dead movies, and believe it or not Darkman (which I still have on tape) and of course later A Simple Plan, which I remember renting and loving. I knew Ted from several movies, mostly as PacMan from Shocker, so I decided to keep my eyes open to see if this movie would ever get released. Lucky enough, I found the bare bones DVD a few years later and picked it up on a blind buy.

I remember trying to watch the beginning of this movie with a friend of mine but I was dead tried and could barley get through it. I picked out Sam almost right away and commented on how adorable he looked. Sadly due to being exhausted I didn't get the chance to finish it. Wanting to watch it at a better time I waited until finally a month or so later I watched the movie fully and was blown away. Never before had I seen such a bad ass movie that was so brutal and well done. In fact Intruder is not only one of my favorite slasher and horror movies, it also has a place in my top ten favorite movies of all time.

In fact I was lucky enough to get a flyer with Sam's poor head on the meat hook when the special edition blu-ray was being released. After HorrorHound in November in 2011, me and my friend Nate gushed about Raimi films the whole ride back in which I explained what The Gift was about an how truly awesome it was. Shocking enough all those years I hadn't seen the Spiderman movies. (Besides Batman, I'm really not a big super hero fan.) Still, I decided to watch all of the movies even though everybody claimed part 3 was a huge pile of shit. Before I knew it I got Intruder on blu-ray and began to re-buy all my Evil Dead movies from tape to DVD and finally blu-ray. I couldn't get enough of the extras, or finding out as much as possible based around the making of these movies. Re-watching all his classics I began to collect as many copies as I could and began to really truly enjoy the kind of films he directed. I respected his style, his comic humor, and how much him and Ted looked like. What really sparked my intrest was his brief acting career. Thanks to Heather Seebach and her amazing YouTube channel, I was able to watch almost every role he was ever in, including the good old days in the 1970's when he began directing super 8-movies. 

Between playing Stick in Indian Summer, a dead corpse in Body Bags, the confused meat man in Innocent Blood, the crazed cult leader in Tho Shall Not Kill.. and of course the mid evil soldier at the end of Evil Dead II, I was sold. My inner fan girl was swooning. 

I love Sam no matter what (even Spiderman 3) This man seems like a really friendly legit guy from all his interviews and has been making movies for all the right reasons all these years. You can't help but respect the guy after hearing what he went through to make the original evil dead. I feel he's the joker of the horror world. Just this happy go lucky prankster who still hasn't grown out of being that 20 year old guy who loved comics and would beat the hell out of Bruce. Sam has directed so many amazing movies showing his range (horror, western, drama, thriller, romance, action, ect) He's featured some amazing actors, and has always stayed true to his style. Even now with his big budget movies, you can still watch one and feel that it's a Raimi movie. In fact I still boycott The Amazing Spiderman due to the fact I feel they should have let Sam have a second chance and make up for his horrible mistake with part III. I saw OZ The Great And The Powerful and LOVED it. He made a wonderful prequel to a classic movie and paid total tribute. I feel he makes movies now almost for his children (I believe there's a whole litter of Raimi children) It just goes to show what a great father and story teller he is. Hell, even the stuff he produces is awesome! For my birthday last year I made it a point to go see The Possession which wasn't bad at all!

I have sculpted, and painted Sam. In fact I have a whole series of paintings based off him (obsessed much?) Just a few weeks ago I got started on my Sam Raimi tribute tattoo with getting his autograph tattooed on me. I plan in the future to finally get his character Randy from Intruder done on my leg. By far one of the greatest deaths ever in a horror movie.

I of course have my Raimi sisters (Heather and Kristy) and can't wait for the up coming Fright Rags Raimi brothers shirt. One of my new favorite terms is "Raimi love, is real love."

I mean look at this sick drawing of me and him dancing while critters watch.

Sick I know...

Now tomorrow I'm off to go and see The Evil Dead remake. This weekend I'll be posting my thoughts and hopefully it will pay total respect to the classic that Sam put his blood, sweat, and tears into. Between this remake and OZ I feel it has been a Raimi themed spring. I look forward to seeing what's next in line for him and maybe just maybe fingers crossed we might get us Evil Dead 4/Army Of Darkness 2 finally. 

I mean stranger things have happened.

Long live Raimi love!

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