Evil Dead II (1987)

84 mins | Horror, Comedy, Fantasy | 13 March 1987

Director:

Sam Raimi

Producer:

Robert G. Tapert

Cinematographer:

Peter Deming

Editor:

Kaye Davis

Production Designers:

Philip Duffin, Randy Bennett

Production Company:

Renaissance Pictures
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HISTORY

The film begins with a prologue and voice-over narration: “Legend has it that it was written by the dark ones, Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, roughly translated as the Book of the Dead. The book served as a passageway to the evil worlds beyond. It was written long ago, when the seas ran red with blood. It was this blood that was used to ink the book. In the year 1300 A.D., the book disappeared.” The Necronomicon was a creation of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937).
       Following the unexpected success of the low-budget, 16mm “cult” hit, The Evil Dead (1983, see entry), a 6 Mar 1985 Var news item announced that writer-director Sam Raimi and producer Robert G. Tapert planned to reunite for a sequel. Irvin Shapiro of Films Around the World sought to secure financing at the American Film Market.
       Items in the 2 Oct 1985 DV and HR reported that Embassy Home Entertainment agreed to fully finance and distribute the film, marking the company’s first foray into theatrical production. Principal photography was scheduled to begin 20 Jan 1986, with release planned for later that year. The Jan 1986 issue of Fangoria magazine claimed that filming was underway on locations in Florida, and credited Tom Lauten as special makeup effects designer. Although The Evil Dead had been filmed in Tennessee, Lauten told Fangoria that the production relocated to the warmer climate of Florida in order to film during the winter. Lauten is not credited in the final film, and his participation could not be confirmed in other contemporary sources.
       ... More Less

The film begins with a prologue and voice-over narration: “Legend has it that it was written by the dark ones, Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, roughly translated as the Book of the Dead. The book served as a passageway to the evil worlds beyond. It was written long ago, when the seas ran red with blood. It was this blood that was used to ink the book. In the year 1300 A.D., the book disappeared.” The Necronomicon was a creation of horror writer H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937).
       Following the unexpected success of the low-budget, 16mm “cult” hit, The Evil Dead (1983, see entry), a 6 Mar 1985 Var news item announced that writer-director Sam Raimi and producer Robert G. Tapert planned to reunite for a sequel. Irvin Shapiro of Films Around the World sought to secure financing at the American Film Market.
       Items in the 2 Oct 1985 DV and HR reported that Embassy Home Entertainment agreed to fully finance and distribute the film, marking the company’s first foray into theatrical production. Principal photography was scheduled to begin 20 Jan 1986, with release planned for later that year. The Jan 1986 issue of Fangoria magazine claimed that filming was underway on locations in Florida, and credited Tom Lauten as special makeup effects designer. Although The Evil Dead had been filmed in Tennessee, Lauten told Fangoria that the production relocated to the warmer climate of Florida in order to film during the winter. Lauten is not credited in the final film, and his participation could not be confirmed in other contemporary sources.
       Despite these reports, a 2 May 1986 HR article stated that the project was now under the control of De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG), after the theatrical division of Embassy Pictures was sold to filmmaker Dino De Laurentiis. An 18 Jun 1986 Var brief indicated that shooting actually began 19 May 1986 in the small town of Wadesboro, NC, southeast of Charlotte. HR stated that some of the locations were recently used by Steven Spielberg in The Color Purple (1985, see entry). Unlike its predecessor, Evil Dead II was shot in 35mm and had a much larger budget of roughly $5 million. Filming was expected to be completed in Aug 1986. Although production took place not far from DEG studio headquarters in Wilmington, NC, Raimi opted to complete all second unit photography, stop motion animation, and postproduction work in Detroit, MI.
       According to the 24 Feb 1987 DV, DEG set up a distribution entity called Rosebud Releasing Corporation specifically to handle promotion of Evil Dead II, due to its firm belief that the film would receive an X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). However, a 13 Mar 1987 LAT article suggested that U.S. theatrical rights were actually sold to Rosebud and the film’s executive producer, Alex De Benedetti, after Raimi and DEG executives failed to agree on how to edit the picture for an R rating. As a result, Raimi chose to leave the film in its original eighty-four-minute form, and bypassed the MPAA Classification and Ratings Administration to release the picture without a rating. The opening title card is preceded by the following disclaimer: “Warning: This film contains scenes which may be too intense for persons under the age of seventeen.”
       Despite critical acclaim, the Jun 1987 issue of Box reported a “slow” opening weekend gross of $800,000 from 310 theaters.
       The Evil Dead series continued with Army of Darkness (1992), and the 2013 “reboot,” Evil Dead (see entries).
       End credits include “special thanks” to: Harry and Betty Huntley; Pepsi Cola; Investors of Evil Dead I; B. V. Hedrick; North Carolina National Guard; Vernors; Anson County Board of Commissioners; Harley Davidson; Anson County Board of Education; Travel Gallery; Residents of Anson County; Rippy Oldsmobile; Henry Little and Company; Lu Lu’s Lingerie; Grace & Wild Studios.” An additional statement reads: “Evil Dead II, the sequel to the ultimate experience in grueling terror, was filmed in Wadesboro, North Carolina and Detroit, U.S.A.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jun 1987
Section R, p. 58.
Daily Variety
2 Oct 1985
p. 1.
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1987
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 1987
p. 3, 29.
Los Angeles Times
13 Mar 1987
p. 1, 14, 21.
Los Angeles Times
13 Mar 1987
p. Calendar, 14.
New York Times
13 Mar 1987
Section C, p. 18.
Variety
6 Mar 1985
p. 9.
Variety
18 Jun 1986.
---
Variety
18 Mar 1987
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Renaissance Pictures Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of night exterior photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Add. asst cam
2d unit dir of photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Crane op
Still photog, The dance
Cams by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Asst to the art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Const coord
Set dec
Set dresser
Leadman
Prop master
Spec props
Set painter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
COSTUMES
Asst ward
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus cond
Mus tech consultant
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Addl sd eff
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Addl synthesized sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Anim dance seq and tree branch and Rotten Apple He
Stop motion anim, The dance
Eff photog supv, The dance
Miniature supv, The dance
Stop motion armature, The dance
Sculptor, The dance
Detail and painting, The dance
Tree branch and Rotten Apple Head foam fabrication
Tree branch and Rotten Apple Head foam fabrication
Sculpting and detail, The dance
Sculpting and detail, The dance
Molds and casting, The dance
Mechanical des, The dance
"Rotten Apple Head" des, The dance
Anim, The dance
Anim photog, The dance
Asst anim, The dance
Miniatures, The dance
Miniatures, The dance
Miniatures, The dance
Miniature spec eff, The dance
Henrietta transformations and hand anim, The dance
Henrietta transformations and hand anim, The dance
Matte paintings, The dance
Opt house
Line-up
Main title anim
DANCE
Dance choreog, The dance
Dance choreog, The dance
Anim dance choreog, The dance
Danced by, The dance
MAKEUP
Spec makeup des and created by
Spec makeup eff unit crew
Spec makeup eff unit crew
Spec makeup eff unit crew
Spec makeup eff unit crew
Spec makeup eff unit crew
Spec makeup eff unit crew
Spec makeup eff unit crew
Cosmetic contact lenses
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Horse and riders provided by
Horse and riders provided by
Transportation/Studio mgr
Mechanicals
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Loc contact
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Caterer
Caterer
Payroll service
Insurance
Bonding company
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Fake shemp
Fake shemp
Fake shemp
Fake shemp
Fake shemp
Fake shemp
Fake shemp
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
Release Date:
13 March 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 13 March 1987
Production Date:
19 May--August 1986
Copyright Claimant:
Rosebud Releasing Corporation
Copyright Date:
18 May 1987
Copyright Number:
PA336371
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
gauge
35mm
Duration(in mins):
84
Length(in feet):
7,584
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While on a romantic weekend getaway, Ashley “Ash” Williams takes his girl friend, Linda, to a secluded mountain cabin, believing it to be abandoned, and gives her a necklace adorned with a small looking-glass pendant. Inside the cabin, he finds a reel-to-reel tape recording by an archeologist named Professor Raymond Knowby describing an ancient tome called the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, also known as the Book of the Dead. Noticing the book on the table, Ash picks it up and flips through its pages as Professor Knowby begins reciting translations on the recording, awakening an evil spirit in the forest. The spirit possesses Linda, and Ash defends himself by decapitating her with a shovel. After reclaiming the looking-glass pendant, another spirit lifts his body and sends him flying backward through the trees. Ash is momentarily possessed, but the demon within him retreats once the sun climbs over the horizon. Although he attempts to leave the area, the spirits chase him back to the cabin. When the sun sets again, Linda’s head reanimates and clamps its teeth around Ash’s hand. Unable to loosen its grip, Ash runs to the tool shed and locks the head in a vice. Suddenly, Linda’s decomposing body bursts in, wielding a chainsaw. Ash wrests the machine from its grasp ... +


While on a romantic weekend getaway, Ashley “Ash” Williams takes his girl friend, Linda, to a secluded mountain cabin, believing it to be abandoned, and gives her a necklace adorned with a small looking-glass pendant. Inside the cabin, he finds a reel-to-reel tape recording by an archeologist named Professor Raymond Knowby describing an ancient tome called the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, also known as the Book of the Dead. Noticing the book on the table, Ash picks it up and flips through its pages as Professor Knowby begins reciting translations on the recording, awakening an evil spirit in the forest. The spirit possesses Linda, and Ash defends himself by decapitating her with a shovel. After reclaiming the looking-glass pendant, another spirit lifts his body and sends him flying backward through the trees. Ash is momentarily possessed, but the demon within him retreats once the sun climbs over the horizon. Although he attempts to leave the area, the spirits chase him back to the cabin. When the sun sets again, Linda’s head reanimates and clamps its teeth around Ash’s hand. Unable to loosen its grip, Ash runs to the tool shed and locks the head in a vice. Suddenly, Linda’s decomposing body bursts in, wielding a chainsaw. Ash wrests the machine from its grasp and slices his former girl friend’s remains into pieces. However, Linda’s bite infects Ash’s right hand, which becomes possessed. Unable to control it, Ash is forced to sever his hand with the chainsaw. Meanwhile, Professor Knowby’s daughter, Annie, returns from an expedition with more pages recovered from the Book of the Dead, and heads back to the cabin to complete her father’s translations. Accompanied by Professor Knowby’s associate, Ed Getley, she discovers that the only bridge to the cabin has been destroyed. They encounter two locals named Bobby Joe and Jake, who show them an alternate route. Startled by their arrival, Ash accidentally shoots Bobby Joe in the arm. Seeing the bloody chainsaw on the floor, Annie assumes Ash killed her parents, and Jake locks him in the fruit cellar. Annie finds her father’s recording and listens to the remainder of the tape, in which Professor Knowby admits to unleashing an evil force that took possession of his wife, Henrietta. Although the professor killed his wife, he was unable to dismember her body, so he buried it in the cellar. Below, Henrietta’s corpse suddenly revives, but Ash escapes from the cellar and locks the demon behind him. Ed is bitten in the scuffle and also becomes possessed, prompting Ash to chop up his body with an ax. Later, Annie and Ash investigate a series of strange noises coming from the bedroom and find the ghost of Annie’s father, who urges them to ward off the spirits by reciting the new passages from the Book of the Dead. When Ash’s disembodied hand appears, Bobby Joe runs screaming into the woods, where the foliage springs to life and drags her away. Meanwhile, Annie examines the Book of the Dead and learns that reciting the new passages will send the demons back to their world through a space-time rift. However, Jake insists they search for Bobby Joe instead, and throws the pages into the cellar. Outside, Ash is once again possessed and knocks Jake unconscious as Annie retreats to the cabin. When Jake revives, Annie accidentally stabs him, mistaking him for the demon. Although she attempts to save him, Henrietta’s corpse bursts from the floor and drags Jake into the cellar. Ash breaks into the house, but the sight of the looking-glass pendant reminds him of Linda and expels the demon from his body. Determined to fight off the spirits once and for all, Ash affixes the chainsaw to the stump of his right arm and descends into the basement to retrieve the pages. As Annie begins to recite the incantation, Henrietta emerges to terrorize her. After Ash shoots Henrietta with a shotgun, Annie reads the final passage, but Ash’s disembodied hand reappears and stabs her in the back. With Annie’s final breaths, a portal opens, sucking the demons, Ash, and Ash’s car into another dimension. When Ash revives, he discovers he has been transported to the Crusades in the year 1300 A.D. A group of knights hail him as the “hero from the sky,” and Ash cries out in agony. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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