“What we really have at the core here is a timeless story concept that was used in this film, along with many others: the idea of a character that commits a sin of greed and has to pay the terrible price for it. It’s a morality tale that many churches have told, throughout the ages. So it’s a tried and true, oldest horror story in the book, basically.” —Sam Raimi, describing DRAG ME TO HELL (but also A SIMPLE PLAN)
While Raimi was preparing what he thought would be SPIDER-MAN 4, he decided to do a smaller film first. Previously titled THE CURSED or THE LAMIA, Sam and Ivan Raimi had originally written it as a short story in 1989, then considered adapting it into a movie after ARMY OF DARKNESS. In 2002 they planned to give it to another director and produce it through Raimi and Rob Tapert’s new company Ghost House Pictures. But they decided it required a larger budget than they were dealing with at the time. Later they offered it to Edgar Wright, who didn’t feel he was right for it, and was about to do HOT FUZZ anyway.
Then, finally, Raimi realized that he should do it himself. In an interview posted on Cinema.com, he explained how working on DRAG ME TO HELL was more fulfilling than what he’d been doing:
“On this picture I could have complete creative control and final cut, which I actually had for the first time since my first film, THE EVIL DEAD. I could just do what I believed in… for the last seven or eight years I’d been working with the luxury of SPIDER-MAN type budgets, big studio productions. This was much more hands-on. No department heads to deal with – just the actors, and the technicians. And it’s much more rewarding I think.”
It was also rewarding for those of us who first knew Raimi from horror movies, and were thrilled to see him back. Not that everyone got what they wanted out of it. In my very positive 2009 review I noted others fretting about the film’s use of digital effects and its PG-13 rating (later bumped up to “unrated” on DVD), complaints that seem more irrelevant the more time passes and the more times I revisit it and love it even more. This is a movie that combines the go-for-broke energy and macabre humor of the EVIL DEAD series with the morality and character-based centers of A SIMPLE PLAN and the SPIDER-MAN trilogy. So it’s not like it’s just EVIL DEAD lite. It’s a different sort of thing. Whatever it loses in volume of rubbery fluid-spewing cackling soul-swallowers it balances with other interests. (read the rest of this shit…)