The Evil Dead. Oh the hours upon hours of joy this movie series has given me since I first rented that ratty looking copy at the video store. First the Evil Dead, the Evil Dead II, and even finally getting to see Director Sam Raimi's Army Of Darkness in theatres, starring none other than Bruce Campbell himself!
Being such a fan of the films, I've tried to follow the characters who gave us such a great low budget horror masterpiece. I shouted 'Hurray!' when I saw Sam Raimi finally got Hollywood to take notice when he directed (what was a big budget Hollywood flick to me) Darkman. I cheered when I saw the small Bruce Campbell cameo, heck I even own the DVD.
On television, I've watched the progression of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Xena: Warrior Princess, slowly but surely seeing more and more of Bruce Campbell thrown in the mix.
I remember cursing every time I saw that Bruce Campbell's first major television series role was always on a channel that was unavailable in my area. I still haven't seen a single episode of Brisco County Jr. But then again, I did get to see the short lived Campbell show Jack Of All Trades.
The Evil Dead Companion gives us all kinds of information about Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell and everyone else involved (or who has crossed paths with) The Evil Dead.
Not only key pieces of information that I had already known (and listed above), but much more. The book discusses at length the creation of the first film. From it's initial idea, to the money-raising, all the way to the final premiere. Quite an exciting tale for such young filmmakers.
The rest of the book discusses not only The Evil Dead's sequels, but also many of the other works and history of the cast and crew. Mr. Campbell's movie, stage, and television work, Mr. Raimi's, and many others.
The author Bill Warren appears to have been blessed with being present during much of the filmmaking. In some areas, he hints toward his 'visits to the set for an article in Fangoria', so I take it he is or was a writer for that magazine. Even though I dislike the magazine, Mr. Warren's writing is easy to follow, and never really gets too technical.
The best parts of the book are when all three (Tapert, Raimi, and Campbell) of The Evil Dead makers are together, but it branches off nicely. Mr. Warren must have interviewed these three very in depth to get the huge amount of information and quotes present.
The only drawbacks of The Evil Dead Companion were two things.
1) I love the gore and effects in these films, but have never been too interested in an in-depth analysis of how effects are made, etc. When Mr. Warren examined the effects, I started to lose interest - only to regain it after he was completed talking about it.
2) Many of these stories, quotes, and other information in this book I have already read in Bruce Campbell's amazing autobiography 'If Chins Could Kill'. I highly recommend that book over this one as it contains not only virtually the exact same information, but Bruce's witty sarcasm and humour.
However, not all is lost in The Evil Dead Companion. Sure the book offers virtually identical information during it's Evil Dead section, but it's after The Evil Dead stories where the differences start to show. Bill Warren, while not going into as much detail as he did with the first film, does delve into each sequel more than Bruce Campbell did in his autobiography. Bruce also didn't go into Tapert's, or Raimi's projects as much as Mr. Warren has either. They are quite fun to read about.
Let's not forget another fun section of this book. If you are a fan of reading scripts, all three of The Evil Dead scripts are here! And not only that, but with little annotations by Bruce Campbell himself (Bill Warren calls it, the 'poor man's DVD commentary')!
Overall, I would read Bruce Campbell's autobiography instead. However, after a slight period of time has passed, by all means read this book. There is quite a bit of repetitiveness by the two authors in their respective books, but enough of a difference to enjoy each one as it is. Bruce Campbell's is a memoir. It's his history and reflections on his life. Bill Warren's is a historical documentation of the three main men involved in bringing us one of the most copied, respected, and amazing horror movies of all time....Continua