EDITORIAL: A Hero By Any Other Name...

With Fede Alvarez's remake of Sam Raimi's classic Evil Dead film closing in on us, I attempt to reason with the naysayers

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By TheHierophant - 11/25/2012



       Like most fans of Sam Raimi’s beloved trilogy, “Evil Dead,” I was initially worried when news surfaced of a remake. Hollywood has done a pretty bang-up job of over-saturating the market when it comes to remakes, reboots, and sequels. Not to mention there is no earthly reason that “Evil Dead” should be remade. It’s a classic film, with an extremely devoted following, that has stood the test of time. Trouble began to brew (aside from the outrage from fanboys over the remake itself) after fans of the original heard that the similarities between the original “Evil Dead” and remake would end at” a group of teenagers that go to the cabin and find the book.” The logic behind the anger here is something I’ve never really been able to comprehend.

       A reboot/remake should never be a dead ringer for the original it’s based upon. Why would you want to pay to see a movie you’ve already seen and know how it will end? Nostalgia and curiosity can only go so far. Look at “Psycho” for instance. “Psycho” is not only one of the best horror/slasher films ever made, but one of the greatest films ever. Universal Studios had a golden opportunity to retell this classic with a new spin. What did they choose to do though? Allow Gus Van Sant to basically film a shot-for-shot remake. Of course there were other occurrences that contributed to this atrocity, but remaining too faithful to the original was the chief component. I’m not suggesting that people are crying for a shot-for-shot remake, but being too similar would only serve to pander to the nostalgic and would ultimately fade into the white noise that is the current film market.

       Fans of the original cried “foul” however when it became known that the character “Ash” would NOT be our hero in this retelling of Raimii’s classic tale. This chief complaint was summed up quite nicely by ComicBookMovie.com user “DeadShot” when he commented on an article revealing the first teaser poster for Fede Alvarez’s “Evil Dead”: “No Ash on screen no Ass in a theater seat.”

       The remake itself initially worried me when it was announced, but this news didn’t bother me any. Why should it? “Ash” is only the character’s name, not the character itself. “Ash” was an understandably terrified guy who couldn’t bring himself to cope with the terrors but ultimately pushed past his fears so that he could survive. I’m not sure about you, but this sounds like a typical “hero” to me. Doesn’t it seem probable that these same characteristics are going to be applied to “Mia” (Jane Levy)? It’s true that the name goes hand-in-hand to the “Evil Dead” franchise, but “Ash” essentially means nothing.

       Like I said above, any reboot worth its salt should give us something fresh and exciting, not the same stuff that we’ve already seen before, which is something this remake looks to do. The fact that the name “Ash” won’t appear in “Evil Dead” is a moot point and shouldn’t have any bearing on whether or not anybody goes to see this movie. If Bruce Campbell AND Sam Raimii approve of the work Fede Alvarez has turned in, who are you to say this movie will be awful?
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CorndogBurglar - 11/25/2012, 6:03 AM
I agree with you to an extent, but I can't completely get behind you.. You are right, remakes should not follow the original 100%. If they do, then what is the point of remaking it? If a movie os remade shot for shot then the movie is doomed from the get-go, simply because, chances are, if a movie is being remade, that means the original was a classic and it is so hard to make new classics these days. Not only that, but a shot for shot remake has to overcome find a way to overcome all the great things the original did...while telling the exact same story. Its damn near impossible.

However, there does come a point where too many changes get made, and the remake is only recognizable by name. That is also a failure in my opinion. This is the challenge people have with comic book interpretations. Look at the Wanted movie. They could have named that film ANYTHING else, and even the biggest fan of the Wanted comics would have no odea it was based on the comic. Even though Wanted wasnt a remake so to speak, it is the same thing. Its a movie being made from other source material. Its no different than Evil Dead, or any other remake.

So the challenge for these writers and directors is to find that "happy place" where things are changed, but not TOO many things that it stops resembling the original.

As for there being no Ash. I can't agree with this. What you are saying is like telling someone they are making a CBM, but it will not have the main character from the comics in it. That character will be replaced by a member of the opposite sex, and will have the same qualities, but it will notbe the character you expext. It would be like going to watch a Superman movie, but Superman is replaced with Captain Marvel. I mean whats the big deal, right? They are both heroes with the same powers and ideals, right? If a film hhasas a widely known character as the hero attached, a character that everyone automatically thinks of when they think of that film/franchise, then the remake needs to include said character.

Even though i dont agree with everything, its good to see an article from you Hierophant. It seems like its been a while. Im not around as much anymore, so maybe i've missed them, but either way, great job. :)
BarnaclePete - 11/25/2012, 6:18 AM
I think that if they had someone else cast as Ash instead of Bruce Campbell then all these same people complaining that the character isn't in it would be complaining about that. It doesn't matter what they do, the complaints will still fly. I think removing that character is a great idea. Shows they are actually trying to do something different. If it was more of a straight up remake, I wouldn't have any interest in it at all. I'm all for a more serious take on the movie. The Goofiness that was brought in part 2 and then went way over the top in Army of Darkness killed it for me.
blackster - 11/25/2012, 6:35 AM
^shit argument.

the first half of your comment only proved that they should've never remade this. there is no good way to satisfy the fans with it. and before you get on your high horse, evil dead has always been a fan-pleasing b-series. pleasing the fans is kind of a requirement for it to work on any level. and that cannot happen unless we have BRUCE CAMPBELL AS ASH. not doing that is like making an indiana jones film without either the actor harrison ford, or the character. you should just never do it.

but if they really HAVE to do a remake, i suppose not doing ash at all is the lesser of the two evils. replacing campbell would've just been sinful.
Preston - 11/25/2012, 7:45 AM
CorndogBurglar is right. I second his opinion.

ASH accept no substitutes.

This...
...is my...
...boomstick

I own every EVIL DEAD movie on various formats, and I didn't buy them because they were the best horror movies ever made. I bought them for ASH and his antics:
Hail to the King.

I guess my feelings for this 'remake' can be summed up by this GIF:
Swallow
WesleyGibson - 11/25/2012, 2:22 PM
I'll give it a go. Nice write-up...
TheHierophant - 11/25/2012, 7:55 PM
@CorndogBurglar: I absolutely agree that writers have an incredibly difficult task in attempting to find that "happy place." Especially since, as anybody can admit, we fans are a very difficult bunch of people to please. Personally, I'd prefer that they not stay very close to the original and give us a fresh take on it, à la "Dawn of the Dead."

As for your argument against my argument on the subject of "Ash" not being in this movie, I can see your point. But, as with most things, I have an answer to it. While it's definitely true that he is one of the greatest heroes of all time, I don't think I could honestly put him up there with "Superman," "Batman," etc. I don't find anything wrong with changing the name of the main character, as long as the character stays the same. For instance, look at Spider-Man. "Miles Morales" is Spider-Man now, but the character of Spider-Man remains intact. So the name and personality of the person behind the hero might change, but as long as the hero still maintains the same qualities that endeared them to the fans, there isn't anything wrong with that. I'm not sure if this is as clear as I think it sounds, but it is where I stand.

I did recently do a FanCast for "Splinter Cell," but I haven't done a whole lot lately. The reasoning is because my job has kept me busy and discouraged, and my wife recently started school online (this reason limits my computer usage which is fine since she is doing something she really wants to do). But, I recently got a new job that has made me considerably more happy, so I'll be writing a bit more editorials since they require less work than a proper FanCast.

@BarnaclePete: I agree to an extent. A lot of the same people complaining about the lack of "Ash" would complain about recasting the character altogether. It does prove that an attempt to do something different by leaving the character out is being made by the filmmakers. But the goofiness is what made the original "Evil Dead Trilogy" special to the fans. It does appear that they are taking a somewhat more serious tone with this version. But, your complaint about the "goofiness" isn't the first I've heard. I just chalk that up to "different strokes for different folks."

@blackster: You lost me at "^shit argument."

@Preston: I refer you to my comment to CorndogBurglar.

@WesleyGibson: Glad you enjoyed it!
Niuhll - 11/25/2012, 8:27 PM
I'll wait and see what we get, but these films are so popular because of Ash and Bruce Campbell, so i don't know. I just wish we had Raimi back, Drag me to Hell was great, i thought we were on track for ED4.
TheHierophant - 11/25/2012, 9:21 PM
@Niuhll: There is no doubt that Bruce Campbell's "Ash" really helped draw in people, but I think it was the story and the film itself that gained the fans that it has today. I absolutely LOVE "Drag Me to Hell"!!! That movie gets crapped on by a lot of people who can't appreciate it for what it is!
Ghostt - 11/26/2012, 6:29 PM
I wish they would have gone for scary yet cleverly campy remake. Campy is why evil dead has a following. Instead they went full on scary. It looks terrifying.

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