Finally completing a new Evil Dead movie is one thing—convincing the millions of horror fanatics and Evil Dead die-hards that they can stop being angry about the project was a whole other challenge. The first step on the road to changed opinions: NY Comic-Con, October 13, 2012, where Fede Alvarez, Bruce Campbell, and Jane Levy premiered the red band teaser trailer. Fans lost it.
Fede Alvarez: "I was very nervous before NY Comic-Con. I knew that [Evil Dead] was going to deliver on the horror side, but the challenge was proving to people that it's not just another horror movie. The original Evil Dead wasn't just a simple horror movie—it's an insane, over-the-top experience. There's no way you can 100% show that kind of experience in a trailer, and we knew that it's a really scary, over-the-top movie. For a lot of people, the original is a mix of horror and slapstick comedy, and they think that's what makes it unique.
"And even after Comic-Con, a lot of people said, "Oh, they got it wrong—they just made a gritty horror movie, and that's not the point." And that's not what our movie is about. There's a lot of weird switches in tone, and you think it's OK to laugh and then suddenly it's very dark again. I think we had a lot of fun playing with the expectations of that. After Comic-Con, I knew there was a lot of people we had to turn, and now that the movie is being shown and people are writing reviews and talking about it, people are really getting excited to hear that we've been faithful to the spirit of the original Evil Dead movies."
The next step: embracing that confidence on the film's theatrical poster with the audacious tagline, "The most terrifying film you will ever experience."
Fede Alvarez: "The most terrifying film I ever experienced as a kid was The Evil Dead, and when we set up to make the film with Sam, we said, 'If we're really going to do this film, we have to set out to make the scariest film ever—otherwise, what's the point? Why make a horror movie if there are going to be others that exist already that are scarier?'
"The idea to put that on the poster came from the producers, which was flattering. I showed them my original cut, and once they saw that they were like, 'Yeah, this has to be the poster's tagline.' You can't put that on every horror movie's poster, of course, because people won't believe it every time. This is something you can really only do once."
Bruce Campbell: "That poster is completely audacious. But what are you going to say? 'The most mediocre horror movie ever made'? That would be awful. If you're going to make a bold statement on a poster, you might as well completely go for it.