evil-dead-1October 4, 2015 will go down in history as they day it rained chainsaws in the historic Egyptian Theatre. Beyond Fest continued its Hollywood reign of terror on the 3rd night of its 12-day run with a screening of Evil Dead and Evil Dead II! On hand for the event was director and fan Edgar Wright, who hosted, groovy Bruce Campbell and even a surprise appearance by the man himself, Sam Raimi. Donut Friend contributed “Evil Bread” doughnuts for the evening as hungry spectators literally ate up everything that the festival had to offer on this evening.

Before everything started that night, Studio City Tattoo was on hand providing free Evil Dead tattoos to anyone who wanted one. The demand exceeded expectations with roughly 60 people getting their names on the sign up list and lining up as early as 1:30 pm. First in line was Dominique Martinez, my close friend and hardcore fan of the Dead series. Unfortunately, the overwhelming demand ensured that I did not leave with some Evil Ink. There’s always next year!

Prior to the screening, BF co-founder Christian Parkes introduced 8-year-old Colin and his mother, who emailed the cinema to ensure that it would be okay to bring their son to the two R-rated films. After that adorable prelude to the night, things took off with a trivia match between two Evil Dead fans as they battled it out for prizes from Mondo and Scream Factory. Head Programmer for the Cinematheque Grant Moninger, Parkes and BF programmer Evrim Ersoy then proceeded to throw t-shirts, DVDs and from chainsaws (courtesy of the Starz network who also provided a tease for the new Ash Vs. Evil Dead series) into the crowd. From the theatre’s balcony, people were literally dumping boxes of foam chainsaws on to the crowds below. It was one of the most intense and insane things I’ve ever seen in my life, and at the same time, perfectly captures the spirit of what the Evil Dead films are: insane fun!

evil_dead_recap_1Both films were projected on 35mm prints from Oscar winning editor Bob Murawski’s personal collection and they looked amazing. The digital format may provide crisp, clean, and hidef images, but Evil Dead just looks better on grainy 35mm – the very texture of celluloid adds so much to the quality and tone of the films.

“The Egyptian Theatre. Hollywood’s first premiere was here. You’re sitting in history, you bastards,” told Campbell to the sold out crowd – we were eating out of the palm of his hand. An impeccable showman, Campbell and Raimi’s affection for one another was infectious. The pair shared stories about the making of the first film following its screening. “That’s the beauty of a limited partnership,” recalled Campbell about the investors putting up money for the first film. “Being that they were limited partners, we could control when they could come on set… We haven’t had that type of control on anything we’ve done since.”

The pair also briefly touched on their work for the sequel and now getting to work for and with producer Dino DeLaurentiis. The pair summed up the Evil Dead II experience by saying that although their resources were still limited on it, working with people with unlimited resources in their respective fields of expertise (both behind the camera and in front of) is what made that movie what it is.

The night was filled with laughs, doughnuts, beer, DVDs, t-shirts and foam chainsaws. Evil Dead brings out the best and craziest crowds to appreciate these films and the night did not disappoint.