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Happy 30th Birthday Evil Dead II

03.13.2017by: Mike Sprague

Happy Birthday, EVIL DEAD II

That's right, 30 years ago today the splatter sequel to end all splatter sequels hit theaters. Today I'd like to share a bit of the history of the film with you guys (as if you didn't already know these stories) and share some art inspired by the film. 

Let's celebrate EVIL DEAD II.

EVIL DEAD II was first brought up by Irvin Shapiro, the publicist responsible for the release of Evil Dead. Raimi didn't want to do the flick originally, but Shapiro sent out ads announcing the sequel anyway.

At the time, Stephen King was directing Maximum Overdrive, and he had dinner with a crew member who told him EVIL DEAD 2 was having trouble finding financing. King was a big fan of the original, and convinced his MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE producer Dino De Laurentiis to fund the film.

Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert originally wanted $4 million for film but they were only given $3.6 million (shucks) so they had to scrap their Medieval Dead idea until later. Raimi felt that Evil Dead II should be less straight horror than the first so he hired his buddy Scott Spiegel (INTRUDER) to help him write the script. 

Spiegel and Raimi wrote the film while living with the Coen brothers, Frances McDormand, Kathy Bates, and Holly Hunter (who was inspiration for the Bobby Jo character). The film went through many drafts, including a subplot about a group of escaped convicts looking for buried treasure, who find Ash in the cabin and hold him hostage.

With the script completed, production commenced.

Raimi snuck in various in-jokes such as the Freddy Krueger glove in the cellar, which was a reference to Nancy watching Evil Dead in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Funny enough, Wes Craven had put the EVIL DEAD into his film because Raimi had put a torn HILLS HAVE EYES poster in EVIL DEAD. And that was there because in THE HILLS HAVE EYES there was a torn poster JAWS. Fun times.

Evil Dead II opened on March 13, 1987 and (no pun intended) grossed $807,260 in 310 theaters. After a month the film finished up at $5.9 million domestically. EVIL DEAD II currently sports an 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the critic consensus reading: "Evil Dead 2's increased special effects and slapstick-gore makes it as good – if not better – than the original."

So if you are looking for something to watch tonight, give the old EVIL DEAD II another go. It is the film's birthday after all. 

Happy Birthday EVIL DEAD II!

Extra Tidbit: Pick a flick: EVIL DEAD or ARMY OF DARKNESS

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