LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS 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.
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Posted on Thursday 12th May 2022
Ryan Simon's British supernatural chiller Demon Eye, starring Darren Day, and Liam Fox, and Brad Baruh's Coen-sequel mystery thriller Night Drive, starring AJ Bowen and Sophie Dalah, both receive Friday night UK TV premieres on Horror Channel.
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Posted on Thursday 21st April 2022
Starting in May, Horror Channel journeys into the history of genre cinema with The Vintage Vault, which will present double-bills of classic sci-fi and horror films every Sunday night.
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Posted on Thursday 14th April 2022
Respected journalist, film critic, and fiction writer Kim Newman takes us through the celebrated B-movies joining Horror for our Classic Sci-Fi Weekend event running from 16th-17th of April.
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Posted on Thursday 7th April 2022
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Posted on Wednesday 30th March 2022
Horror Channel is dedicated to bringing great cult sci-fi programmes to its audience and this trend continues with the channel premiere of Season 1 of the 1999 Australian-American Sci-Fi TV series Farscape, created by Rockne S, O'Bannon and produced over four seasons.
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Posted on Tuesday 22nd March 2022
It's back to terrify once more! Horror Channel once again celebrates the Sci-fi B-movie world of strange creatures, alien invaders and weird science with Classic Sci-Fi Weekend 2, a follow-up TV special to the popular Classic Sci-fi weekend broadcast in April 2020. The fifties are acknowledged as the Golden Age for Sci-fi movies and Horror Channel has picked ten of the most iconic, which will be broadcast on Saturday 16th April and Sunday 17th April.
The season includes five channel premieres: the heart-pounding Alien invasion classic It Came From Outer Space, pulp-horror favourite Tarantula, featuring an uncredited Clint Eastw...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel reveals raft of UK TV premieres for April
Posted on Tuesday 15th March 2022
Rob W King's gripping dystopian thriller The Humanity Bureau, starring Nicolas Cage, and Rob Grant's twisted survival drama, Alive, starring Angus MacFadyen, are amongst the raft of Saturday night UK TV premieres on Horror Channel during April.
Also in prime-time 9pm slots are the UK TV premieres of Owen Egerton's supernatural horror Mercy Black and Jonathan Zarantonello's sinister, psychological thriller The Butterfly Room, starring Barbara Steele and Ray Wise.
Plus, Padraig Reynolds's suspense-filled neo slasher Open 24 Hours, starring Vanessa Grasse, gets its channel premiere.
Here's all you need to know:
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Posted on Tuesday 1st March 2022
Horror Channel is dedicated to bringing great cult thrillers to its audience and this trend continues with The Prisoner, a taut psycho-thriller about a secret agent who retires and finds himself thrown into a Kafka-esque world of mindplay and enigma - a man known only as No. 6.
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Posted on Saturday 19th February 2022
On March 11th, London based composer, sound designer and recording artist CJ Mirra releases the OST to IFC Midnight and Hanway Film's A Banquet, which premieres at Cinemas on the same date. A limited run of Pea Green vinyl will be available via Burning Witches Records .
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Posted on Tuesday 15th February 2022
Horror Channel turns up the tension in March with Killer Thriller Week, featuring the UK premiere of mystery thriller Paradise Cove, staring Mena Suvari and the channel premiere of cat-and-mouse road thriller Cop Car, starring Kevin Bacon. The ultimate 7-day suspense ride also includes Gus Van Sant's revival of the Hitchcock classic Psycho (1988), the 2014 version of erotic thriller The Loft starring Karl Urban, Colin Minihan's deliciously warped What Keeps You Alive, Rod Lurie's 2011 pulsating remake of Straw Dogs and Bad Samaritan, starring a cunningly murderous David Tennant.
Plus, there are four additional UK TV premieres, highlighted by the late Johnny Kevorkian's last fi...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel announces raft of premieres for February
Posted on Thursday 13th January 2022
February on Horror Channel keeps genre fans alive with the UK TV premiere of What Keeps You Alive - another suspenseful knife to the throat of 21st Century genre cinema from the deliciously warped mind of Colin Minihan, director of It Stains The Sand Red.
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Posted on Tuesday 21st December 2021
January weekends on Horror Channel are invaded by the undead with the UK TV premiere of Lin Oeding's newly-flavoured zombie horror-comedy Office Uprising, and the two highly acclaimed Zombie apocalypse road movies - Stake Land, receiving its Channel premiere, and the sequel The Stakelander, enjoying a UK TV premiere.
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Here's everything you need to know:
A VHS classic on the 8th as Je...SHARE: READ MORE Features Archive: 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
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