‘The Evil Dead’ turns 40

Entertainment

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(NewsNation Now) — On this day in 1981, for those of us who are horror fans, the world changed. The splatter horror of the ’80s was just beginning, and a little-known director named Sam Raimi, employing his two brothers and his best friend, Bruce Campbell. released an ultra-low-budget movie with a title that almost sounds like a joke: “The Evil Dead.”

The original film spawned two sequels, “The Evil Dead II,” which if you don’t look too closely could be mistaken for the first movie, and “Army of Darkness,” which transports Bruce Campbell’s character, Ash, to a different dimension and is one of the most quotable movies in movie history. (“This. Is. My. BOOM. stick.” is a personal favorite.)

Raimi, like many filmmakers of that era, had actually been shooting for years, making movies on Super 8 with his brothers and friends. “The Evil Dead” was his first major project, and it made enough money and gained enough notice to launch his career and that of Campbell, who has become the modern king of B movies and co-starred in the USA show “Burn Notice.”

Raimi has gone on to work with the Coen Brothers, and hit the big time when he was picked to direct the first “Spider-Man” trilogy of movies for Marvel Entertainment. Each movie came with a notable cameo from Campbell, especially as the wrestling ring announcer in the first movie.

He’ll soon return to the Marvel universe with “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” There’s no word on a Campbell cameo in that one.

And Campbell? He’s been in everything from animated shows to movies to video games, and has even played presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, as well as an Elvis impersonator (or is he the real thing) playing opposite Ossie Davis in “Bubba Ho-Tep.”

Raimi appears to be done with the “Evil Dead” universe, but one thing fans of the series have learned is never to count the dead out.

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