'Evil Dead': Prepare to be punished with an extreme visit to the set of the 'hard R' remake
HitFix travels to New Zealand for a gore-soaked look behind the scenes
For those who have already viewed the red-band trailer, the most infamous moment from the original film - the rape of a young woman by a demonically-possessed tree – appears to have been “modernized” for the remake, which seems a good indication of Alvarez and the studios’ willingness to “go there” in terms of testing the MPAA’s limits.
“I have always been exceedingly concerned about [getting an NC-17],” says producer Rob Tapert, a tan, salt-and-pepper industry veteran who has been with the franchise from the very beginning. “Because they swing so much as to what they decide on a weekly basis is an NC-17 or an R or a PG-13, I just don’t know. But FilmDistrict, who bought this, Peter Schlessel’s company…they all said, ‘we want this [to be] the hardest R you guys can give us.’ And so, we’re certainly shooting that. I suspect there’ll be pushback, because ‘Evil Dead’ and ‘Evil Dead II’ both went out unrated. The film board never forgot that. It’s like passed down as…’when ‘The Evil Dead’ or these guys come in with a project, hit ‘em hard.”
Indications of the finished product’s hardcore nature can be seen in the collection of gruesome concept art adorning the walls of the room where we conduct interviews with cast and crew. “Swallow this motherfucker,” reads the caption for one, evoking Ash’s famous one-liner from “Evil Dead II.” Another is titled “Mia vs. Evil Mia" - the accompanying artwork depicting said struggle in predictably over-the-top fashion.
“I could name ten of the most horrible things that could ever happen to you in your whole life, and all of those ten things happen to this character,” said Levy of her rehabbing protagonist (?), who represents nearly the polar opposite of the lovably cynical teen she plays on ABC’s “Suburgatory.” “It’s, like, a horror of all horror films. It is extreme, and that’s a lot of the reason I took this project on. I thought like why not do the most extreme movie possible? And the farthest from what I’ve been doing for the past year.”
Unlike the original film, which saw the quip-heavy Ash (Bruce Campbell) fending off the murderous advances of his group of “Deadite-ized” friends, the remake features a Linda Blair-esque Levy (who, being the cast’s most recognizable name, I had earlier assumed to be the film’s so-called “Final Girl”) wreaking supernatural havoc on those unlucky enough to have accompanied her on her road to sobriety.
“I had a tube practically down my throat, and I'm on top of this girl and vomiting all over her,” says Levy, describing the process of shooting the “blood-barf” moment seen in the trailer. “When you actually do something like that – I don't think I can actually describe the sensation – but I actually went to the corner and cried. I'm really sensitive, but I felt like I was really drowning my friend Jessica [Lucas], it felt so bad. I was shaking.”