For nearly 40 years, the Evil Dead franchise has captivated horror fans with its blend of outlandish gore and humor, with the new documentary Hail to the Deadites celebrating its devoted followers premiering next month at the Fantasia International Film Festival, which kicks off virtually on August 20th. The film features interviews with not only members of the cast and crew, but a number of fans of the franchise with an encyclopedic knowledge of the series. While an official release has yet to be unveiled, we can hope that the film's exposure at the festival leads to its worldwide distribution.
Inspired by the 1981 classic’s cult following, Hail to the Deadites is a documentary about the fans of the Evil Dead franchise. Through interviews with the cast, crew, collectors, fans, freaks, and geeks, Hail to the Deadites seeks to illuminate the darkest reaches of the Evil Dead franchise’s undying and still-growing popularity, a popularity that has spawned four films, a TV series, comic books, figurines, and surpassed even its creator’s wildest dreams. Besides meeting with fans around the world, the 80-minute documentary feature interviews with Evil Dead franchise cast members such as Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Tom Sullivan, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, Sarah Berry, Rick Domeier, and Bill Moseley.
What makes the upcoming film interesting is that, despite the famous subject matter, the film focuses specifically on the franchise's fandom as opposed to the making of the films themselves.
“Some people might find it weird to not see any footage of the franchise in the documentary but this is what I’ve been aiming for since day one," filmmaker Steve Villeneuve shared. "I’m really proud to say that everything you will see or hear in this documentary was created by the fans. So, rev your chainsaws and load your boomsticks, it’s time to give the Deadites some sugar, baby!”
Interestingly, this isn't the first time a documentary has been developed to chronicle just how passionate fans are of the franchise, as Campbell himself previously delivered audiences Fanalysis, in which Campbell relayed his experiences traveling around the world for screenings and conventions to bump elbows with the most devoted fans. Fanalysis was available on special collector's edition DVDs of the first two Evil Dead films.
Stay tuned for more details on Hail to the Deadites. Campbell is set to serve as a producer on the next film in the franchise, Evil Dead Rise.
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