Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981) can't be killed. The film has inspired two sequels (Evil Dead II in 1987 and Army of Darkness in 1992), a remake (2013's Evil Dead) and, now, a TV series: Ash Vs. The Evil Dead, which premiered on Starz this Halloween. But it doesn't stop there: the first Evil Dead film was, itself, a remake.
In 1978, Raimi knew he wanted to make The Evil Dead, but didn't have the funds. So he decided to make a short film which could be used for fundraising. Over a single weekend, he and future Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell shot Within The Woods. Set in a remote cabin, and featuring the first-ever appearance of the deadites (the demon-possessed creatures that taunt Ash throughout the rest of the series), the film shares the same basic plotline and the same grotesque humor as The Evil Dead. It even features Campbell losing a hand.
But there is one major difference between the two films: while Campbell plays the deadite-fighting protagonist Ash in the Evil Dead series, in Within the Woods, he plays a deadite demon. According to The AV Club, Raimi made Campbell wear his monster makeup all weekend—even while he slept—"for continuity's sake."
The film provides a fascinating look at the origins of the horror series, and the beginnings of Raimi's visual style. It's also a pretty fun movie in its own right. Unfortunately, the film has never been officially re-released, so the only versions streaming online are low quality VHS rips. But for any die-hard Evil Dead fans, or anyone getting excited for the TV reboot, Within the Woods is a spooky treat.
[h/t The AV Club]
Banner image credit: Diablo666Daemon666, Youtube