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Interview with Steve Villeneuve, director of Hail to the Deadites
By James Whittington, Thursday 3rd September 2020
HailToTheDeadites-1FrightFest 2020 delivered some incredibly entertaining and informative documentaries. Hail to the Deadites from Steve Villeneuve is a celebration of the the Evil Dead series of movies and truly gets under the skin of what the franchise means to those who created it and those who are mega fans! Here Steve talks about this amazing doc.

HC: Can you recall the first time you saw an Evil Dead movie and what it was that grabbed your attention?

SV: I guess I was 13. I actually saw Army of Darkness first on television. Years later, spot the cover of Evil Dead 2 in a video store. Then, rent Evil Dead one without knowing it was the first film because here in Quebec, The Evil Dead is called L'Opera de la Terreur and Evil Dead II is Evil Dead II. I remember been completely confuse while watching the first one because I had the feeling that I saw that film before.

HC: Is it true you own over 60 copies of Evil Dead in different video formats?

SV: I actually own more then that but my collection is really small compare to the collection of fans in the film. Michael, John, Elise and Emmanuel have an amazing collection. Way bigger then mine. I spoke with Dennis (a fan in the movie) and he told me : I was laughing at the scenes of myself as back then I had a lot of Evil Dead items, and now I have A LOT more! Ha ha!

HC: What's your favourite piece of Evil Dead memorabilia in your collection and which one has eluded you so far?

SV: Hard to say! My last purchase was a MCFARLANE TOYS MOVIE MANIACS ARMY OF DARKNESS ASH 18" FIGURE MOTION SOUND. But I would say that I'm really happy with Limited Edition DVD + T-Shirt from Germany that is still sealed.

HC: Do you have a favourite scene from any of the movies?

SV: I kind of like the entire "Pit" sequence from Army of Darkness. For me that scene is where Ash take a step up and become this iconic character. Specially because he's doing the boomstick speech right after.

HC: Why do you think, after all this time this franchise continues to entertain and gain new fans and followers?

SV: The fact that each film is different from one to the other help a lot. But it's really about the character of Ash. Like Bruce is saying in the film, Ashley is the average man. He's not Navy Seal or FBI so fans relate to that. Also, Bruce Campbell really found a way to get a great following.

HC: Which story included in the doc do you consider to be the most memorable?

SV: The easy answer would be the story of Ac McRayr. As a parent it is quite difficult to imagine this situation. But, without telling to much I need to say that Adam story is just amazing. Again, I don't want to spoil anybody so you guys will need to take a look at the film.

HC: Were there any stories you had to cut due to time restrictions?

SV: There's SO many fans that, yeah, we had to make some difficult choice but the choices were made before shooting anything. So we didn't have to cut out some stories for the final cut.

HC: Bruce Campbell seems to be a true force of nature, what is he like in person?

SV: He's really intimidating because he's tall and he exudes a lot of confidence. You just don't want to f**k-up the interview you know. But he was great. He actually sat down with us for a good 15-20 minutes after the interview just to talk. The funny part is when he started talking about the time was in Montreal shooting The Woods because when I shot my first film, Stories of a Gravedigger, I actually shot it in the same hospital about a month after he was there.

HC: This is a true celebration of the movies; would you like to work on another doc for another franchise such as Halloween for example?

SV: Halloween would be a really good choice or maybe the Scream franchise. But I think my choice would be Halloween because it kind of started the Slasher films which I am a big fan.

HC: Do you think the often talked about 4th (or 5th including the remake/reboot/reimaging, whatever you want to call it) movie should be made and if so where should it be set?

SV: I'm a huge fan of the 2013 movie. I think it's one of the best remake/reboot along The Hills Have Eyes and Dawn of the Dead. I just really hope that they will continue and that, at some point, the universe of this film will cross the universe of the original films.

HC: The doc is getting its International premiere at a virtual event, will you still be as nervous when its unleashed for people to see?

SV: Of course I will. I'm pretty sad not to be at Fright Fest but there's nothing we can do about it. You know, where you are doing a feature film, you know that you will get some super bad reviews. In this case, it's more personal because there's real fans in it. The good thing is that most of them saw the movie and loved it. So I'm at peace.

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

SV: I'm currently working on the sequel of my first documentary Under the Scares. So far we have a great line-up with people such as Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley, Doug Bradley, Eduardo Sanchez, Felissa Rose, Larry Fessenden, Leanna Quigly, Michael Berryman and Sid Haig. My goal is to have this film ready for next year.

HC: Steve Villeneuve, thank you very much.


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