How does one remake or reboot a beloved franchise like the Evil Dead? Fede Alvarez is man who has wrestled with that question over and over again as he was asked by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spider-Man, Oz The Great and Powerful) to remake his original film. Mania caught up with the director and chatted about his first feature film, when he first saw the original Evil Dead, and will there be any CGI in the film?
Mania: What’s the tone of the remake? What can we expect?
Fede Alvarez: It is definitely something that comes out of the first one. This is Sam [Raimi} saying, “Would you make Evil Dead for me?” Of course, if you are approached with that question you would freak out because Evil Dead is so many different things. When somebody tells you that they are waiting for you to pitch them your version of the movie. So I said to Sam, Sure, of course (laughs), let me think about it. Do you have anything? Do you have an idea you want to do? I locked myself into a room with one of my best friends back home, whom I co-wrote the movie with. We thought about it and what Evil Dead is for us. For me, Evil Dead is... I saw it when I was 12. I watched the first one when I was going over all the horror I could grab. You know, when you are 12 and you get into that, you have to watch the next one and the next one and the next one. I remember going to the video store and they would say, “well, I have this” and I would say that I was done with all that, I need something real. I’m at the counter and the guy looks around, puts something down on the table and says “take that, go”. He gave me Evil Dead. When you’re 12, you’re not supposed to see that. So, I turned it around, because, back then, if you didn’t know anything about the movie, you read the back of the VHS to figure out what the movie was about. I see the girl in the trap door and the hormones.. I remember it being like the first time I discovered porn. I’m not supposed to do this but I’ll do it anyway. I went home, my parents weren’t around. It was a very very bad call. I should not have watched that movie. I was 12 and too young. I was so so sacred. It was a super violent and scary movie. Coming back to it now, with my friend trying to figure our movie, well, that is the movie we have to do again. The last time I saw Evil Dead was 5-6 years ago, maybe even more. I didn’t want to watch it again and try and figure that out. Let’s remember the key ideas and what has stayed with me all this time. What are those things that you never forget since you watched it for the first time? We knew those things would have to be in the new one. So we pitched to him, let’s make the scariest movie ever, like it was when I watched it way back then. Something that will scare the shit out of you. It’s gross and something that feels like you aren’t supposed to watch. It’s violent and so over the top and crazy, which is why it stays with you. We are trying to get all that in and that is what I pitched to Sam. That is the movie that he wanted to make. A straight horror, very scary and violent film. That’s what we did.
Mania: How accurate is it to the original Evil Dead?
Fede Alvarez: That doesn’t mean anything. That is a marketing or a branding thing. How are we going to market this? It’s just a movie and its 90 minutes. It’s called Evil Dead. It’s about 5 guys who go to a cabin. They go there for different purposes. One of them is trying to kick an addiction. She is a heroine girl and she wants to kick that addiction. She wants to lock herself in with her best friends and stick it out. They do that and discover the Necronomicon. There you go. Is that a remake? Is that a sequel? Is that a reboot? I don’t know what that is. A reboot is for a computer.
Mania: How gory will the film be?
Fede Alvarez: It is gory. That’s for sure. Sam always says this, “There is a fine line between horror and comedy”. If you go too far, everyone starts laughing. If you hit it on the right place, everyone is scared to death. We were always trying to stand on that line. Sometimes gore can be very funny. It is not that type of gory film. It has a lot of blood. I would come back every day after shooting and be covered in blood, usually. Black pants, black jacket and completely covered in blood. I would go to the supermarket and see myself covered in blood. I would look and around and think about how I would explain this to a policeman. It is very gory. People would have to cover themselves with plastic bags because there was so much splatter everywhere. I know it s hard to imagine. Believe me, it’s not funny.
Mania: Do you use any CGI?
Fede Alvarez: We came up with a lot things during the movie. We didn’t use any CGI. There is no CGI in the movie. So, everything you see is real. That is very demanding. It was a really long movie with 70 days of shooting, which is why people go to CGI because its faster, but people hate that, particularly in a movie like this one. So, we went and researched magic tricks and illusionist tricks. How do you make someone’s arm disappear? Suff like that. We really push the boundaries and try and complete those illusions. the bad news is, it’s always a trick. That’s the way we approached everything and that is very demanding. There is a particular scene that is very bloody, the last scene. I wanted it to be the bloodiest scene ever. I think it is.
Mania: What would your 12 year old self think of the film?
Fede Alvarez: I couldn’t watch it. Film isn’t involving like other things in society. Films used to put a lot of hard things in them, like back in the 70‘s, like in The Exorcist, which I love, “Fuck Me Jesus!” You could never put that in a movie today. It would never get released. It’s weird how society tends to be more open and less shocked. The Evil Dead is part of that also. A girl is raped by a tree. Come on?! When we first wrote the script, we didn’t even write that scene. No way, we can’t get away with that. Then we have Bruce [Campbell], Sam Raimi, and Rob Tapert who produced the original say, “let’s do that.” This is not a classic remake controlled by a big studio. It’s different. We work together. I didn’t write that scene and Rob Tapert is like, “Where’s my raping scene?”. Okay (bangs on the table as if there is a keyboard in front of him), there you go. So yeah, I couldn’t watch it if I was 12. This is more graphic. It is also more psychological. The fear is psychological. It has to be. The fear builds and builds. That is the kind of horror I enjoy.
Mania: Are there any iconic shots in the film from the original?
Fede Alvarez: Not really. Yes, well, there are some hints to the original. Sam knows this and would say, “Why don’t you put in this or that?”. I would say, “But that is your movie.” I have my pride; I am a director. I am not going to go and recreate another director’s vision. There are some moments when I would say “action” and it would look just like the original and I’m miserable. I didn’t put most of those things in the cut. Sam would back be up on that. Well, you’ll see. When you have to tell a story with 5 guys in cabin, you have to use all those same things. You have to make it bigger and crazier or else it’s just a room. We use a few things from the original. A few.
The Evil Dead arrives April 5th, 2013.