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Drag me to lunch with Sam Raimi
by T.J. Tranchell

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Is it just me or does it look like that hand is trying to cop a feel?

Is it just me or does it look like that hand is trying to cop a feel?
I saw ARMY OF DARKNESS before I saw the other two EVIL DEAD movies. Does that make me a bad person? Do I lose any street cred just because AOD had a major theatrical release and I was able to catch it when it came out and then went back to see all that came before? Do I lose even more points because I saw DARKMAN before any of the EVIL DEAD movies?

Could be worse. I could be one of those people who didn't know who Sam Raimi was until SPIDER-MAN came out. Or, gods forbid, FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME.

Lucky for you, I'm not one of those people. As you can imagine, I am disgustingly excited for Raimi's return to horror, DRAG ME TO HELL.

I have a stack of preview articles about the film and I haven't read any of them. I want to be surprised. I want to be caught off guard, like I was when I finally saw EVIL DEAD. I miss that feeling. It's something Raimi is good at, like when FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME turned out to be a decent film. And how SPIDER-MAN
Give Bruce Campbell a big hand for being such a good sport.

Give Bruce Campbell a big hand for being such a good sport.
2 felt more like an EVIL DEAD movie than a comic book sequel, sans gallons of fake blood.

Some of the hype I haven't been able to avoid tells me that DRAG ME TO HELL will satisfy my fake bloodlust. The hype also informs me that I should be pleased with the film, if for no other reason than that I am a Raimi fan. This bothers me. It could mean two things. It could mean that I will be surprised and engrossed (and grossed out) by what the movie has to offer. It could also mean that whatever level of auteur filmmaking Raimi has reached could have degraded into self-parody.

Raimi, as you may know, forged his career on a sort of self-parody. After all, EVIL DEAD was just a remake and feature-length version of WITHIN THE WOODS, the profits from which financed EVIL DEAD. And (stretching into obvious territory here for anyone who has seen these movies) EVIL DEAD 2, for all intents and purposes, is a remake and lengthening (and extended mythologizing) of
Hail to the king, baby. Seriously. HAIL NOW!

Hail to the king, baby. Seriously. HAIL NOW!

In other words, if anyone can successfully repeat himself, it's Raimi. Only now, he doesn't have to beg for money or only cast his friends.

I'm sorry. I don't think there will be a Bruce Campbell cameo in DRAG ME TO HELL. If there is, sweet. Bruce is the man. If The Chin doesn't show up, or Raimi's brother Ted (you know, the nerdy guy who always has at least one line in every Raimi picture and spent a lot of time with Hercules) I will get over it if the movie fulfills the rest of its potential.

There's no reason it shouldn't. Raimi hasn't exactly shied away from the horror genre. He and producing partner Rob Tapert did put up the dough for the American version of THE GRUDGE. Their Ghost House Pictures has managed to bring many independent horror films to U.S. audiences, both in theaters and direct-to-DVD. Raimi knows what he is doing, he knows where the horror genre has been and is, and has only become a better filmmaker in
Sam, next time you decide to make a scary movie, call me. Please.

Sam, next time you decide to make a scary movie, call me. Please.
the years since he had to run his own camera and drove that yellow Oldsmobile.

Hey, wouldn't that be great? How about a shot of the Olds, just to really bring things full circle? C'mon, Sam, we're your friends. Give us what we want.

Oh, wait. Maybe that's why DRAG ME TO HELL even exists. Raimi really does love us and has not forsaken us for the glamorous world of record-breaking box office receipts. That's a nice thought. On the other hand, maybe Raimi is a selfish bastard and made the movie for himself, just to prove that he hasn't become a tool to the will of the major studios.

Sounds like a damn good reason to me. I have a feeling that if Raimi is happy, we will be, too.

Or maybe he just wants to swallow my soul. Maybe he told someone else why he made the movie and I just haven't read it yet because I don't want to read anything about DRAG ME TO HELL until after I see it.

Sam, call me. Let's do lunch. I know some good places in Las Vegas.

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The Show Begins at 10:31.
Every other Friday

Take my hand and follow me to the darkest corners of the theater. All your favorite monsters, psychos and masked killers are here, waiting for you to say hello.

Other Columns
Other columns by T.J. Tranchell:

Feeling (Rob) Zombie-fied

Hit the road, Jack

Camcorder Carnage

The scariest movie of all time

Universal's forgotten fiend

All Columns

T.J. Tranchell
Born on Halloween and raised in a single screen theater managed by his grandpa, T.J. now spends more time than should be healthy staying up past midnight reading Stephen King and watching Friday the 13th movies. Part 3 is the best one.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to T.J. Tranchell by clicking here.

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