EXCLUSIVE: 5 Questions with Director Fede Alvarez (“Evil Dead”)

One of my favorite horror trilogies of all time is the Evil Dead series. The three films managed to combine everything good about horror, B-movie camp, and comedy into three of the most entertaining horror films I have ever seen. So you can guess I was a little apprehensive when it was announced that they were going to reimagine the series under the helm of first-time director Fede Alvarez. However, much like I stated in my review, I really had a fantastic time with this film. While it follows the same mold as the original, this new entry succeeds in being a much darker and gorier take on the classic story, which I personally loved. Alvarez presents himself as a director that should not be overlooked and is very confident in taking on challenging projects.

I was recently invited to participate in a quick conference call with Alvarez and a couple of other reviewers. In the call, Alvarez commented on his vision for the film, his decision to use practical effects and what that did for everyone involved, and how the original Sam Raimi influenced him. Check out the interview below:

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RR: What made you decide to use mostly practical effects for the film? Was it to pay homage to the original or for some other reason?
We did the effects mostly practical because I felt like it would help the performances. By placing the actors in real things, it really pushed them to have real experiences. I really wanted these actors to experience what was going on and make it as real as possible.
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File:EvilDead2013Poster.jpgRR: Early reviews have praised this as being one of the goriest films in a while, maybe even all time. Did you ever have trouble with the MPAA about ratings?
I was hard, but they were ironically very helpful. Sometimes the MPAA can drive you crazy by not being informational about why you are getting the rating you are, but with us they were really helpful in giving us notes after our first cut, and I think it was only a couple of frames from a couple of scenes. And overall, I think they really helped us make a cleaner and better cut movie.
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RR: What did you draw from, other than the original, to help with the making of this film?
Well Sam was very persistent on me making my own film with my own ideas. He never really forced me to do something I didn’t want. It all comes down to the fact that he wanted it to come from a writer/director doing it all by himself. Whenever anyone writes, they take influences from a bunch of other films and mash them together. We took a lot from the Exorcist because it’s the essential demon film as well as a couple of other supernatural films. I really wanted to make a film that doesn’t age and will stick with fans forever.
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RR: Were you trying to impress Sam Raimi or the fans more?
Honestly, I think I was trying to impress myself the most because I’m a perfectionist. It’s funny, after finishing the script and the first cut of the films, both times Sam loved it and I hated it. At the end of the day, I knew impressing myself would be the hardest but most rewarding part of making this film. I am a big fan of this series, and although I used to be a big fan of horror, I haven’t watched many horror films in a while. I was told that if I was making a movie that I would love to watch, it would translate well, so that’s what I did.
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RR: What was the most difficult scene you had to shoot?
There were a bunch of scenes that were hard to shoot. The cellar, the tongue cutting, etc. It was especially hard because we were doing practical effects, and sometimes that makes for a very frustrating experience. The first time we shot the tongue cutting thing, it looked so bad it was embarrassing and a bunch of people were telling me that we should have went with a CGI tongue. But I knew I had to stick to my vision, so we shot it again and thank god we got it right.

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Have you seen Evil Dead yet?

Article by Nick Franco

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