The trend of horror movie remakes continues in 2013 with two big films, Carrie and Evil Dead. The former is a Stephen King novel that was adapted into a 1976 Brian De Palma film, which earned Oscar nominations for stars Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek; the latter is the cult-classic horror flick that helped launch the careers of Spider-Man trilogy director Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell.
In these new versions, the iconic roles of Carrie and her mother will be played by Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) and Julianne Moore; Evil Dead will remain under the guidance of Sam Raimi (he’s co-writing alongside Oscar winner Diablo Cody), but will test breakout director Fede Alvarez, who gained much acclaim for his short film, Panic Attack!. Given the lingering skepticism and stigma attached to both projects, they had a lot to prove during their shared panel at the 2012 New York Comic-Con.
Carrie: The Footage
The Carrie teaser trailer depicts the destructive aftermath of the story, opening on an aerial shot of a decimated small town in flames. The camera steadily begins a sweeping arc over the main street, as we begin to hear voice-over testimonials from the townspeople, all giving their version of who Carrie was. The chatter builds to a cheerleader-type voicing that nothing was remarkable about the girl – as the camera comes to an abrupt halt on a shot of young, blood-soaked Carrie standing in the epicenter of the destruction in her prom dress, with a horrified look on her face.
All in all, the footage was what its tagline would suggest: a tease. No scenes with Moore as Carrie’s crazy mother or Carrie suffering through high school were shown, leaving question as to whether the remake captures the finer (read: non-spectacle) brushstrokes of the original film and book.
Carrie: The Panel
The panel was hosted by Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly, who started things off with the obvious question, “Do you like horror?” He then premiered a teaser trailer to much fan adulation and applause. Afterward, we got the panel guests, which included stars Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore, alongside director Kim Pierece (Boys Don’t Cry) and producer Kevin Misher.
- Chloe Moretz joked about being covered in blood all day.
- Julianne Moore talked about having King’s novel to fill in the backstory of Margaret, who she views as an isolated woman trying to hold on to the one thing she still has in life (Carrie) – while bending her daughter to her own twisted religious values. Moore liked the way King equated isolationist parenting with so many teenage problems.
- Moore and Moretz talked about establishing a good connection between them as people, so that they could (and did) trust each other in the more intense scenes.
- Kim Pierce talked about being able to chat with Brian De Palma about her version of the film. In regards to whether Pierce employs the split screen sequences that De Palma used in his version? “It remains to be seen,” she said coyly.
- Moretz and Moore talked about the intimidation factor of living in the previous version’s shadow. Moore has a lot of love for those actors (Sissy Spacek in particular); Moretz had a bit more frustration in her voice, when discussing her battle against the remake stigma. Pierce claimed that a remake need not encroach upon its predecessor: “Our thing is naturally its own thing.” She said it’s the mother/daughter story at the core that holds it together – and she’s nailed that down.
- Pierce joked about how difficult the infamous “blood dump” scene actually was to film. From the distance, to the texture of the fake blood, to the color, the precision of the drop – they did many, many, many takes. Not to mention experiments with fire blood, dry blood, etc.
- Producer Kevin Misher iterated (in accordance with all the blood-dumping) that this is an R-rated movie – to much fan applause.
- One kid dressed as Kick-Ass bragged about being in Kick-Ass 2 and asked to meet up with Chloe Moretz. He was promptly booed (though Chloe promised to see him on set).
- A Teacher from Julianne Moore’s kid’s school showed up to ask a question about writing. She humored him with an answer that Stephen King’s book on writing is a great tome.
- According to Pierce, they used an estimated 1,000 gallons of fake blood while filming.
- VIRAL GAME: call 207-404-2604 – A viral phone line where you can talk to “Carrie” or “Margaret.”
Evil Dead: The Footage
The footage for Evil Dead was sick. Literally sick.
Alvarez presents a washed-out palette that is simultaneously vibrant in its dark splendor. We got the basic setup of the film (kids going to a remote cabin so one of them can get back on good mental footing – only to stumble on a cursed book of the dead), and then we were treated to an intense sizzle reel trailer comprised of various horror/gore sequences – including PLENTY of homages to iconic moments from the franchise’s past. A few standout images were deadly vines, mechanized saws (of humorously varying sizes and types) being used in gross self-mutilation, the book of the dead, new designs for the actual evil dead creatures – and a climatic sequence where a possessed girl licks a jagged blade so hard it splits her tongue in half. Sick.
The audience’s collective screams were a good indicator for how effective the trailer is. This remake will definitely be leaving its own mark on the franchise mythos – an indelible one, from the look of things.
Evil Dead: The Panel
Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly started off introducing the panelists, which included star Jane Levy (“the new Ash”), director Fede Alvarez and producer Bruce Campbell. There was a standing ovation and much pandemonium for the entrance of Bruce Campbell.
- Campbell joked about doing the remake because, sometimes, “As middle-aged actors you realize that maybe it’s too late to strap on that chainsaw again.” He touts the filmmaking crew – approved by himself and Sam Riami – and claims that star Jane Levy is officially crowned the new Ash: “I’ll put that crown on her fucking head myself!”
- Fede Alvarez talks about Sam Raimi coming out of the blue over Skype and asking him to do the remake. He added that you don’t say no to a request like that (no matter how daunting) – you say, “Fuck yeah!” He saw Evil Dead when he was 12, and wanted to recreate the same terrifying experience he went through.
- Jane Levy described auditioning as “the female Ash,” and having Bruce Campbell ask her all these scary questions afterward, like, “Do you know what it feels like to be buried alive?” or “Have you ever had tubes shoved down your throat so you can projectile vomit?” Campbell and Fede joked (we think) about putting Jane through the hard motions - with a little bawdy humor thrown in for (good?) measure.
- Bruce Campbell joked about not needing Easter eggs homages in the remake just to appease nerds. He described the movie experience to being like putting on a familiar-fitting shoe – only, you know, Evil Dead style (read: twisted, gross, nuts and a little bit funny).
- Audience members loved the footage. One described it as the sickest trailer he’d ever seen. Seeing the polished footage for the first time legitimately frightened star Jane Levy, who sat somewhat stunned for the Q&A.
- Bruce Campbell was shouted-out for his reoccurring cameos in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy; he pointed out that in Spider-Man 2, as the snooty usher, he prevented Peter Parker from attending MJ’s big performance – ergo making him ‘the only character who has successfully defeated Spider-Man.’ Cue audience laughter.
- Campbell was asked who’s smoother: Sam (from Burn Notice) or Ash: “Sam would win, but Ash would cheat.”
- Campbell explains Diablo Cody’s (Juno) involvement as Evil Dead co-writer: “We don’t know how young people talk – and she won a fucking Academy Award!” Perez said he got Cody because he wanted snappy dialogue to liven up the script. Campbell added (more seriously) that having Cody write for a female protagonist was a big bonus.
- Jane Levy pointed out that, while her name in the film is “Mia,” and not Ash, there is a hidden game in the names of the characters, as they form an amusing anagram that fans can decipher for themselves.
- After one fan pointed out that Campbell doesn’t get enough credit for Burn Notice, he personally approached the front of the stage and awarded her five dollars. He had history with this particular fan: the last time he met her, she burst into uncontrollable tears right in front of him. She was a little more composed this time around.
- Campbell says that while he doesn’t cameo, he’s in every frame of the film “in spirit.” He ended saying that he’s convinced Sam Raimi will keep fighting to make another (with Campbell in it) even until his deathbed days. His exit was as celebrated as his entrance.
All in all, Evil Dead stood out as the more unique (and therefore, worthwhile) remake of the pair. Alvarez has done enough stuff different, while still capturing the spirit of Raimi’s original – and maybe having the original filmmakers guide you along is what makes all the difference. For all the skepticism and stigma, I predict fans both old and new will come around when Evil Dead hits theaters next year.
Fans, be sure to check out the official sites for both films:
Carrie will be in theaters on March 15, 2013.
Evil Dead will be in theaters on April 12, 2103.
Sources: Evil Dead image from EW