FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG Sam Raimi - Hail To The King Part 1
By James Whittington, Sunday 17th May 2009 It’s been years since Evil Dead director Sam Raimi has helmed a real horror movie but on May 27th he returns to the genre with the critically acclaimed shocker, Drag Me To Hell. Here in the first of a two-part feature we take a look at his early career and how he inadvertently influenced a generation of horror moviemakers. Samuel Marshall Raimi is probably one of the most unassuming figures working in the industry today. Born in 1959 he grew up fascinated by cinema and even before he reached his teens was creating his own movies. Sam roped in childhood pal Bruce Campbell for his early pieces that were mainly homage to the classic comedy group The Three Stooges. Together with Robert Tapert they went on to create Within The Woods in 1978. This 32-minute shocker, shot entirely on 8mm film stock was made to show investors so the budding film director could get his picture The Evil Dead made. This short is still unavailable to buy even though fans are screaming for a release. Few know that another picture, It’s Murder was also created to help bring the money in. When The Evil Dead (or to give it one of its many alternate titles The Evil Dead: (The Ultimate Experience in Gruelling Horror) was released it made little noise in the United States, but here in the UK (1982) there was a tidal wave of publicity, a lot of it pretty negative, mainly because of the many violent sequences the movie contained. The plot is straight forward enough; a group of teenagers go to a shack in the woods and listen to a tape that contains forbidden incantations from Necronomicon Ex Mortis also known as the Egyptian Book of the Dead. When the tape is played all hell is unleashed and evil demons possess the innocent party causing much bloodshed and death. Controversial and shocking the movie is in parts brutal, packing a bloody punch that never lets up. It was placed on the “Video Nasty” list in 1984 along with 38 other titles. We had to wait until 1992 for it to get an official release and then nearly another 10 years before we could legally buy an uncut edition of the movie. The appreciation of The Evil Dead grew steadily with horror fans and Raimi’s unusual film style and inventive camera angles caught the eye of movie producers ending with Columbia asking him to produce an original piece. Crimewave released in 1985 was a bizarre and surreal cop comedy/drama but the finished product wasn’t the box-office draw that they had hoped for. So Raimi decided to return to what he knew best and delivered The Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn in 1987. This revisited the original idea of The Evil Dead and turned the effects, laughs and gore up to 11! Crammed with more visual gags and plenty of blood (though not as graphic or controversial as the original) this was an adrenaline action piece that proved Raimi’s unique style seen in his first few movies wasn’t a fluke. It seemed obvious that Raimi would turn his attention to comic book action and although he was unable to secure the rights for the project he wanted to handle (its rumoured that Raimi wanted to make a big screen version of 1930’s radio show The Shadow) he created an original anti-hero in 1990, Darkman. Darkman is a vibrant and as you’d expect over-the-top piece of cinema which stars Liam Neeson as Peyton Westlake a scientist who is burnt and left to die by a mob boss. He is then subjected to radical new surgical procedures that destroy his ability to feel pain. This in turn increases his inability to control violent outbursts. Add to this a new skin that covers his badly burned body that last just under 100 minutes and you have a truly original take on the superhero genre. Though it performed well at the box office and gave Raimi the revenue and clout to make Evil Dead III, (better known as Army of Darkness), Raimi would soon go on to produce even bigger and more original movies. His best work was yet to come. Next time we’ll take a look at his box-office blockbusting Spider-Man series of movies as well as his TV work and eventual return to big screen horror.
MORE FEATURES The Evil In Us and P2 receive their UK TV premieres on Horror Channel in December
Posted on Wednesday 22nd November 2017
Christmas nightmares come early on Horror Channel, as the UK's primary TV destination for genre fans serves up the UK TV premieres of Jason William Lee's slick and stylish modern take on the zombie virus, The Evil In Us and Frank Khalfoun's boundary-pushing crime slasher P2, starring Wes Bentley.
There are also network premieres for Adam Egypt Mortimer's deeply-cutting supernatural revenge chiller Some Kind Of Hate, Ruth Platt's astonishingly bravura art-house horror The Lesson, Travis Oates' powerfully disturbing thriller Don't Blink, starring Mena Suvari and Glen Morgan's gruesome Black Christmas, a remake of the classic 1974 seasonal slasher, starring popular scream queen Mary Elizabeth Winstead....SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel devotes November to Bloody Brits and rampaging sharks!
Posted on Thursday 19th October 2017
November on Horror Channel has a distinctive cutting-edge with a Saturday night prime-time Bloody British Season, celebrating the new wave of British horror movies that reinvigorated the UK horror industry in the early 2000s. There are 9pm network premieres for Neil Marshall's sensational werewolf debut feature Dog Soldiers (2002) (Saturday 11th), his monstrous all-female star cast follow-up The Descent (2005) (Saturday 25th), Christopher Smith's underground ghost train journey through hell, Creep (2004) (Saturday 18th), and Nick Hamm's psychologically gripping The Hole (2001) (Saturday 4th), with Keira Knightley in her first significant film role.
And the cuts get deeper with a Sharkmania Marathon...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel celebrates Stephen King's 70th year and goes Southbound this October.
Posted on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 Works by Stephen King feature heavily this month on Horror Channel, which celebrates the icon's 70th year of one of horror's most prolific and popular authors. There are network premieres for his fearsome feline anthology Cat's Eye, starring James Woods and Drew Barrymore; his darkly weighty cautionary tale Stephen King's Thinner, directed by Tom Holland in his directorial debut; the science-fiction action horror Maximum Overdrive, starring Emilio Estevez; and the 2009 adaptation of his short story Children Of The Corn.
Horror Channel has eleven film premieres in October, including the UK premieres of Southbound, a chiller compendium from the creators of the V/H/S franchise; Mitch Wilson's gruesome...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2017 event
Posted on Thursday 28th September 2017
Horror Channel FrightFest Halloween 2017 unleashes seven choice shockers for the 7th annual West End Halloween chillorama - a wits-end wallow in all things gruesome, gory and glorious.
This year, the all-day shocktoberfest is at the Empire Haymarket on Sat Oct 28, 2017 and embraces one world, one European and five UK premieres, spanning three continents.
From the emotional making of a low-budget slasher to zombie nightmares, Gothic horrors, an outrageously strange mind cult, a sci-fi alien action extravaganza, a comic strip creature feature and the last word in Killer Clowns, this year-s line-up is an eclectic mix of the quirky, unusual and extreme.
Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director sai...SHARE: READ MORE Drag Me To Hell, Starry Eyes and Black Sheep amongst nine prime-time film premieres on Horror Channel in September
Posted on Sunday 20th August 2017
Horror Channel has nine prime-time film premieres in September including the UK premiere of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer's stunning contemporary occult tale of Hollywood ambition and possession, Starry Eyes.
There are also network premieres for Sam Raimi's ferociously terrifying Drag Me To Hell, Eli Roth's splatter sensation Hostel, Mike Mendes' ultimate B-Movie experience Big Ass Spider, Jonathan King's zombie sheep gore comedy Black Sheep, James Wan's creepy killer-doll horror Dead Silence, starring True Blood's Ryan Kwanten, Robert Longo's cyberpunk action thriller Johnny Mnemonic, starring Keanu Reeves, Bryan Bertnia's home-invasion chiller The Strangers, starring Liv Tyler and John Carp...SHARE: READ MORE Film Highlights for August: Frightfest Season
Posted on Monday 31st July 2017
To celebrate Horror Channel FrightFest 2017, taking place in London during the August Bank Holiday, Horror Channel is dedicating thirteen nights to past festival favourites. The channel will air the following six UK TV premieres: Luke Hyams's beastly X MOOR; David Keating's skin-crawling rural nightmare CHERRY TREE starring Anna Walton; Adam Mason's blood-freezing home invasion thriller HANGMAN; Jason Lei Howden's splatstick shocker DEATHGASM; Eli Roth's notorious post-modern celebration of the Italian cannibal genre THE GREEN INFERNO; and Gez Medinger & Robin Schmidt's intriguing existential horror AFTERDEATH.
The double bills, on every night from August 18th - 30th, starting from 9pm, also feature FrightFest...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel brings a true classic plus a quartet of contemporary chillers this July
Posted on Tuesday 20th June 2017
Horror Channel has five prime-time Saturday night film premieres in July including the UK premiere of Brad Parker's chilling disaster horror Chernobyl Diaries. The film is written and produced by Oren Peli, who first terrified audiences with his ground-breaking thriller Paranormal Activity.
There are also network premieres for Todd Lincoln's supernatural spine-tingler The Apparition, starring Tom Felton, Don Coscarelli's surreal cult classic Phantasm, David Jung's paranormal found-footage soul-shaker The Possession of Michael King and Andrew Paquin's murderous home-invasion debut Open House co-starring his sister Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer.
Which one will you be staying in for?
Our pr...SHARE: READ MORE Horror brings a Vincent Price classic to your screens this June plus 7 more premieres!
Posted on Friday 19th May 2017
Horror Channel has eight prime-time weekend film premieres in June including the UK premieres of Retreat, Carl Tibbets' 'menage a trois of terror' starring Thandie Newton, Cillian Murphy and Jamie Bell and R.D. Braunstein's smartly gripping I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine.
There are also network premieres for Jennifer Lynch's uncompromising and dark chiller Chained, William Malone's gruesome cyber thriller Feardotcom, starring Stephen Dorff and Natascha McElhone and Michael Reeves's highly acclaimed Witchfinder General, starring Vincent Price.
In a deadly virus catching month, other highlights are first channel showings for John Pogue's [REC] inspired scareline Quarantine 2: Termin...SHARE: READ MORE Look out Jack, Chucky's back! Everyone's "friend till the end" on Horror in May
Posted on Monday 24th April 2017
Horror Channel has eight prime-time weekend film premieres this May including the network premieres for Don Mancini's killer-dolls spin-off Seed Of Chucky (pictured), starring Brad Dourif, Jennifer Tilly and Billy Boyd, Xavier Gen's unsettling post-apocalyptic horror The Divide and the epic vampire-battling Daybreakers, starring Eithan Hawke and Willem Dafoe.
There are also UK premieres of Jose Manuel Cravioto's pulse-pounding thriller Bound To Vengeance and Mary Lambert's evil-spirited gripper Urban Legends: Bloody Mary. Other highlights are first channel showings for Stephen Kay's monster in the closet chiller Boogeyman, Jamie Blanks' teen slasher Urban Legend and Ryuhei Kitamura's mystery-man rampaging...SHARE: READ MORE 5 Things You Need to Know About 'Raw'
Posted on Friday 7th April 2017
Director Julia Ducournau's first-full length outing, Raw is a must-see.
The film, which centres on a young vegetarian university student who develops a taste for human flesh, is unlike anything you've seen in recent years. We caught up with Ducournau to discuss what you need to know about the ultra-realistic flick that has everyone talking.
1. It may not be as gory as you think
Its debut at the Toronto Film Festival last year garnered a wealth of media coverage, due to the films' seemingly graphic content resulting in paramedics reportedly being called after cinemagoers had fainted. When Julia heard the news, she was shocked. "I love mixing genres and I love balancing everything that I do, but I do no...
Posted on Tuesday 21st March 2017
Get ready for hooks, surgical knives and power saws as Horror Channel adds a cutting edge to April's schedule as the UK TV premiere of the Soska Sisters' See No Evil 2 heads up a season of contemporary slasher films.
The season also has the network premieres of Stewart Hendler's sadistically slick Sorority Row with Carrie Fisher, the darkly deranged Girlhouse, and Nelson McCormick's axe-crazy re-imagning of a stalk and slash classic, Prom Night.
See No Evil 2 on the 7th concerns a group of friends who pay a late-night visit to the city morgue to surprise Amy (Danielle Harris) on her birthday.
But the surprise is on them when the one-eyed corpse of brutal psychopath Jacob Goodnight (Glenn 'Kane' Ja...SHARE: READ MORE Bad Milo! and The Cottage amongst Horror Channel premieres for March.
Posted on Wednesday 22nd February 2017
Another amazing month of premieres awaits you in March as Horror has 9 fear-filled frighteners that will have you laughing and hiding in equal measure.
Dark laughs await on Friday 3rd at 10.55pm with the network premiere of Paul Andrew Williams' blood-drenched hostage thriller The Cottage, starring Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith and Jennifer Ellison. Feuding brothers David (Serkis) and Peter (Shearsmith) abduct a young woman (Ellison) and hole up in a remote rural cottage, But their hostage turns the tables and soon it's all for one when they find that the deranged farmer next door is the real threat. Hellraiser's Doug Bradley makes a cameo in this terror treat. There are also network premiere for Irish hit S...SHARE: READ MORE PICK OF THE WEEK
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