No./5 Why we need Sam Raimi di­rect­ing hor­ror again

Em­pire’s res­i­dent Sam Raimi su­per­fan Chris He­witt re­joices that the film­maker is back where he be­longs: di­rect­ing hor­ror

Empire (Australasia) - - PREVIEW - CHRIS HE­WITT

RE­CENTLY, ON A trailer for the lat­est re­make of The Grudge, my heart soared. For early on, a ti­tle card pro­claimed, “FROM SAM RAIMI”. Three words guar­an­teed to perk me right up. Three words we haven’t seen enough re­cently. Which is pos­si­bly why they were fol­lowed by an­other ti­tle card, one that made my heart sink: “A PRO­DUCER OF DON’T BREATHE AND EVIL DEAD”.

No. No to the power of max, in fact. Sam Raimi is not just a pro­ducer. He is one of the most suc­cess­ful di­rec­tors around, able to flit be­tween big-scale block­busters such as the orig­i­nal Spider-man tril­ogy, and lo-fi hor­rors like the orig­i­nal Evil Dead, and its se­quels. Yet you’d be eas­ily for­given for for­get­ting that. Af­ter all, it’s been six years and count­ing since his last movie, Oz The Great And Pow­er­ful. Since then, largely ra­dio si­lence. It’s not as if he’s been in movie jail (Oz made al­most $500 mil­lion; fran­chises have been founded on movies that made much less). But noth­ing since 2013, mean­ing that the gap on his

CV has steadily be­come Kubrick­ian. Which might be why au­di­ences need a big card ex­plain­ing who he is.

Soon, though, they won’t need to. For Raimi is fi­nally re­turn­ing to his day job, at the helm of an as-yet un­ti­tled hor­ror movie that has been de­scribed as a cross be­tween Mis­ery and Cast Away. And, in my cor­ner of the uni­verse at least, there was much re­joic­ing. Sam Raimi is a born film di­rec­tor — a vis­ually in­ven­tive type, who can do things with a cam­era that make other di­rec­tors look like they’re work­ing in ra­dio — and his par­tic­u­lar set of skills is very well suited to hor­ror. See The Evil Dead tril­ogy and the ut­terly barmy but bril­liant Drag Me To Hell for de­tails.

He’s been away for so long that it’s easy to for­get his in­flu­ence on hor­ror. Up­start tal­ent like Jor­dan

Peele and Ari Aster have re­de­fined the genre in re­cent years. Raimi — now its el­der states­man — is al­most in dan­ger of be­ing writ­ten off as too old-school. But if there’s a place for him in the cur­rent land­scape, it’s to re­mind us all that he was one of the orig­i­nal in­no­va­tors, a di­rec­tor who — like Peele and Aster — stretched the bound­aries of the form. Here’s hop­ing the last few years away will have sharp­ened his ap­petite for show­ing off what he can do.

Clock­wise from top left: Raimi’s ros­ter: Bruce Camp­bell in Evil Dead (1981); Lorna Raver in Drag Me To Hell (2009); Raimi on set of Spi­der­man (2002); More Raver scares in Drag Me To Hell.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.