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This is an interview conducted with Richard de Manincor over a number of emails in April 2014. Richard is better known as Hal Delrich, the actor who played Scotty in The Evil Dead. It covers his time on The Evil Dead's Tennessee & Michigan re-shoots, along with working on Crimewave, and his subsequent disappearance from the film industry.

Unlike his fellow cast members, Richard has been virtually absent from the fan scene until relatively recently. Only one other extensive interview with him is currently online; conducted by webmaster Shane around 2007 for his website DVD House of Horror. Tracking him down took a lot of work, so Richard taking the time to give his unique perspective for this interview is hugely appreciated. While he's is no longer acting, he has recently started making genre convention appearances around the USA and Canada, often appearing alongside other The Evil Dead cast & crew.




Richard de Manincor on set in full possession make-up, with Bruce Campbell in the background in The Evil Dead (1979)



Prior to your taking the role of Scotty, you had gained experience in the industry having been involved in theatre, voice-over, industrial film and commercial work, while also working for a delivery company and teaching and coaching springboard diving at a local high school. What drew you to the film, and can you just tell us a little about the auditions and getting the part?  
 
My, you certainly have a lot of information about my life pre-Evil Dead! Yes, I was working for a delivery company, and I was coaching springboard diving at the time the opportunity to audition for "a movie" came up. Since I was constantly running (and getting nowhere), I decided to get out of the acting business and focus on earning enough money to buy a house with a backyard and get a dog.

I was contacted through, what was at the time, the Attic Theater in Downtown Detroit. I was told that a local group was holding auditions for a feature length film. Nothing about what type of film, just a film. I declined. I wanted a house, a dog and food! About a month elapsed. I was contacted again to audition, this time being told that a friend of mine had already won a part in the movie. Since I had worked with Greg (my friend) in a number of theatrical productions, I thought it would be fun to do it again, so I accepted the offer. On a Sunday night, in the basement of Sam Raimi's parents, I read a few lines of the script, pretending to be in the car on the way to the cabin in the woods. Sam, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert were there. I read a few lines; Sam thought I could work. He told me to scream as if something inside of me was tearing me apart. I did. From what I've heard, Sam liked the way I screamed and died, and that's why I got the role of Scotty. By the way, my friend, Greg, had already been cast in the role of Scotty, but I bumped him out.

A Richard de Manincor portrait photo


Many fans will already know your real name is Richard de Manincor. Hal Delrich was a stage name derived from the names of yourself and your two room-mates; Del Howison & Hal Christiansen, created to avoid a fine by Screen Actors Guild for working on a non-union shoot. Did you have any qualms about working non-union, what was the union's punishment when you were found out, and how does it feel to be famous around the world under a Pseudonym?  
 
I didn't really have any REAL qualms about working non-union because I hadn't worked "union" in over a year; I was pretty much out of the business. So I took the role, not worrying about consequences because....what could they do? Suspend me? I was already NOT WORKING! How could they hurt me further? As it turned out, Teresa Tilly kind of turned us in by going to the union and asking them if it was okay that we worked on a non-union movie! Poor girl. It hurt her a lot more than it hurt me. She was actively pursuing acting; I was out of it. I was called in to a hearing before the local board of the SAG. I told my side of the story. I described the experience as a "last fling." One of the board members asked, "A last fling at finally making it in the business?" Another spoke up and said she "understood." Ultimately, they suspended me for a year. Same for Teresa.

As far as being "famous" under a pseudonym, it's a lot easier to say "Hal Delrich" than "Richard de Manincor." Doesn't bother me at all. If I were to get back into the "business" I don't know which name I would act under?



Richard as Scotty on set with Rob Tapert in The Evil Dead (1980)
During your time in Tennessee, did you stick strictly to your acting role, or did you take an interest in the film-making process, lend a hand with the crew, or even renovate the cabin?  
 
There were a bunch of Rob, Sam and Bruce's film-making buddies on-site, so they did most of the cabin clean-up and set-building. I mainly kept to my acting thing. However, we were all called upon to help in different ways aside from being Thespians. We each took at least one turn preparing a meal for the entire cast and crew. My turn involved making chicken-salad sandwiches. I wasn't very good at it. The biggest complaint was that people chewing on gristle. We also had to make semi-regular trips to any grocery store we could to gather as much Karo Syrup as we could find.

As far as taking interest in the "film-making process," I was having so much fun being an actor, being directed, having make-up put on, that I didn't care anything about the nuts and bolts of film-making. Still don't. Most of my involvement with the crew was limited to getting out of their way, or being where I was supposed to be when they needed me. Occasionally, a couple of the crew and I would do an activity outside of film-making. I ended up making a bet with Dart, a crew member, that hot water would not freeze quicker than cold water. I imagine, under the correct circumstances, it might be feasible, but in Tennessee, in the woods, with a cheap-ass refrigerator, I wasn't going to lose that bet...I didn't. Dart and I also played "mumbly peg" where we try to stick a knife in the ground near your opponent's foot to make him spread his legs until he can't move anymore. Dart stuck the knife in my foot, cutting my toe and slashing the boot. I'll have to look to see if the cut boot is visible in the film.


What were your living arrangements in the communal production house in Morristown, and how did you find day-to-day life there, such as surviving on David 'Goody' Goodman's infamously bad cooking?  
 
Living arrangements in Morristown were, as you called it, "communal." My room-mate was Don Campbell. Oddly, for me, he slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow. I think we had bedroom, but it could have been a den or library. Day-to-day life consisted of waking up, getting make-up applied, reviewing the scenes that were to be shot that day, rehearsing a little bit, shooting the scenes, going back to the house and (maybe, maybe not) removing the make-up, eating something, going to bed and doing it all over again in a few hours. We were young, so Goody's food ---anybody making food --- was a good thing. We had spaghetti a lot; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; chicken-salad sandwiches; just food. I don't remember it being particularly good or bad. Like I said, if somebody else was doing the cooking, I was fine just doing the eating. I think Goody gets a bad rap for his meal preparation.



A photo of the front of The Evil Dead's production house not far from the Cabin in Morristown, Tennessee (1980)


Ellen, Teresa & Betsy's make-up woes have been well documented, but how did you find the process; from Tom Sullivan's initial ideas, your facial cast, sculpting & application, contact lenses, and did you have and input on your possessed 'look'?  
 
I was very lucky with the make-up process. First of all, I LOVED being in a movie! So, sitting down for Tom Sullivan to do his magic was a real treat. I've told the following story several times: When I was a kid, I loved horror movies. I used to read the horror mags. In one, I vividly remember (I even remember the layout of the page!) a picture of Michael Landon having his make-up applied for "I Was a Teenage Werewolf." The caption read something like, "It takes three hours for the make-up artists to make Michael Landon the Teenage Werewolf." The picture was Michael Landon in a chair opposite a large mirror with bright lights all around, a towel draped around his neck and the make-up man working over his shoulder from behind. At one point, I was sitting in a chair, opposite a "kinda" large mirror, with bright lights (or maybe a bright light), a towel draped around my neck, and Tom Sullivan, applying my make-up over my shoulder from behind. I realized what was happening, remembered the picture of Michael Landon and....I could have died happy right then, because I was in heaven! As far as input on my make-up, I just let Tom do what he wanted. He created all the looks. I never had a thought about how my make-up should be. Although, he did teach me how to make a pretty believable bruise.


I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)

Richard having his make-up applied by Tom Sullivan (1979)

The "facial cast" of me was really a full head cast. At the time Tom and Sam and Rob were pouring the gooey stuff all over my head and in my mouth, leaving straws in my nose to breathe, I took pride in being able to keep my mouth open for such an extended period of time without swallowing (which might have been injurious). The result was a very good cast of my head which was used for the "gouge my eyes out" scene.


Richard's fake head, created by Tom (1979)

Richard's fake head in the eye-gouging sequence (1979)

I said "very lucky" earlier regarding my make-up because I never had to put the contact lenses in my eyes. By the time it came to do the shots where I had come back from the dead, the make-up that had been applied to my face so many times before it became something of a mask. Tom just glued the contacts into the eye holes in the mask. I felt bad for the girls who really did put opaque lenses in their eyes. Regardless, we were all blind while wearing those contacts.


What do you recall of day-to-day life on the set at the cabin and the surrounding locations, long days in make-up, complex camera set-ups, and cast & crew gripes?  
 
Regarding day-to-day life on the set at the cabin and surrounding locations, I keep in mind, "Time heals all wounds." I keep going back to my statement, "I LOVED being in a movie!" When I was supposed to be on set, I was ready. I wanted to be there and do my part (not my role). We were there for some very long hours. Frequently, it was such a relief when Sam said, "Okay, Hal, you're done for the day (or night)." I loved doing it, but getting to the site at 3 pm for make-up and staying until the sun came up at 8 am was not unexpected. We did take breaks away from the set if we weren't in the next shot, but we didn't go far. When we were there, we were there for the duration. It wasn't all brutal. The driving scenes at the beginning of the film were pretty relaxed and, as you can tell, done during the day. We were on a "regular" schedule.


Richard as Scotty on set in full make-up in The Evil Dead (1980)
My longest "day" in make-up was while we were filming the scene where I die on the couch. We shot a lot on one day, Sam said, "Okay, Hal, you're done for the night," then said to be ready early tomorrow for more of the same. I went back to the house, sat in a La-Z-Boy recliner and slept in my costume and make-up. It was uncomfortable because I had a broken "chicken-bone" wrist, the mask glued to my face and a branch protruding from my rib cage. But, at least I didn't have to get to the set a couple hours early to have my make-up applied.

As far as "complex camera set-ups," we did eighteen takes of one scene. I can't tell you what finally worked, or if Sam got tired, or if we ran out of film, or light, or night, or wood for the fireplace..... The scene is after Cheryl is possessed, I'm out chopping wood, the camera zooms up to the window as I enter the cabin to find Cheryl on the floor and Shelly screaming. We did that scene eighteen times!

Sam was particular about camera angles, how the action played on the screen, directorial things that I didn't understand (or want to). Who was I to question? I LOVED being in a movie!

I don't really remember crew gripes. Maybe the triumvirate didn't want us to know and took care of things behind closed doors. That's what I would have done, but, if I did catch wind of anything, I just put it in the "friends being friends" category of working things out. I recall hearing something about some or all of the girls having some complaints, but they were resolved without my being brought into the situation. Don't know what went on, but the film got done. WellI done!


Do you recall any of the special effects set-ups or make-up effects going wrong?  
 
I don't recall any of the SFX things or make-up going wrong. Again, I was very lucky. I didn't have to lay on the ground, under the cabin, with my arms or head or legs protruding through holes in the floor, like SOME people I know. And, on top of that, most of the SFX were done when I wasn't there!


Bruce was an old hand at stunts such as falling over without injuring himself, but you also had a number of 'stunt' falls during the shoot. Did you ever hurt yourself?  
 
The stunt work I did in the film was all very natural to me. The many, countless times I got killed as a gunslinger or an army guy or a werewolf when I was a kid got me ready for anything I may have been called on to do in the film.

I had been a springboard diver in high school and college, then went on to work in diving shows at amusement parks around the world for a couple years, performing stunt trick dives, fire dives and high dives. I even competed in the cliff-diving competition in Acapulco before I went into acting. I think I pulled off a good stunt when Cheryl knocked me back and I hit my head on the door. We shot that scene three or four times, and each time, I wondered if it didn't look real enough for Sam. So, I tried to make each one more believable than the last. It was fun. The only time I got hurt was when Dart stuck the knife in my boot, as I mentioned earlier.


Scotty was quite a stereotypical brash, foolhardy and in the latter half of the film; mercenary character. How much input did you have into your performance, and given the choice what would you have changed?  
 
Stereotypically brash - Being brash and foolhardy was an easy play for me because I WAS brash and foolhardy. Look! I went to Tennessee to do a movie for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Most of the smart-alecky stuff I said was somewhere in the script, but since I was a smart-ass, it was easy to play it up. I don't recall Sam ever saying, "Hey, Hal, you're being too nice to the girls. Liven it up a bit!" As far as being "mercenary" in the latter half of the film, I don't think that I would have ever said, "You take care of her; I'm gettin' the hell out of here." But, it was a good moment in the film - finally, dialogue - a little bit of acting and not just stereotypical type-casting. That said, I don't think there was anything about the characterization that I would have done differently. Sam put together a good film.

Richard as Scotty during reshoots on The Evil Dead (1980)


Up until Scotty abandons Ash and leaves the cabin around fifty-minutes in, he would be many first time viewers odds-on favourite to become the hero and save the day. In the shooting script that situation is played out far more amicably, with Scotty taking on the 'heroic' task of going for help. Did changing that to a betrayal of Ash sit right with you, and do you know why that was changed?  
 
Your question about my feelings about changing my motivation to leave the cabin from "heroic" to "betrayal" gives me way too much credit for film sense. I didn't write the film, nor have anything to do with its development. Looking back, I would say that that was the only way it could have happened, with me dying. It made the film work and set things up for II and Army Of Darkness. The way I see it, though, is that I was just the lucky guy who got to carry out a childhood fantasy to be in a horror movie, die on film, come back from the dead and die again!



Scott Speigel playing Scotty in Within The Woods (1978)

Scotty possessed at the end of Within The Woods (1978)


Your role of Scotty is quite similar to that of Scotty Speigel in Within The Woods, in fact there is an almost identical shot when you both sit up, first possessed. Were you shown Within The Woods once you took the role as a guide to your character, and was The Evil Dead's script 100% finalized or was it still going through re-writes?  
 
In the film, I WAS Scotty Spiegel. I played Scotty Spiegel from Within The Woods. But, I brought out the real Scotty that he was too afraid to let loose in Within The Woods. -- PAUSE -- I'm just making that crap up. I did see Within The Woods subsequent to being cast in the role, but I didn't really take anything from it other than it was a horror movie with blood, guts and gore. The scene where I become possessed and sit up was something I had been rehearsing since I was 8 years old. Spiegel's got nothing on me there. As far as the script being 100%, it may have been in Sam's head, but it seemed to me we did things day-to-day. We'd frequently find Sam, asleep at the dining table with the story boards he had worked on since we stopped filming the previous day (or night, or whatever). We had a working script; we knew kind of what we were supposed to say and where and when to say it, but my response is that it was "fluid," a work in progress.


Do you remember shooting anything specific which didn't wind up in the finished film?  
 
Asking me about scenes we shot that didn't end up in the film is like asking me if I flushed to toilet! What!? I really think there was "an economy of shots." Sam knew the shots he wanted in the film and made sure he got them. That was his focus. I think later, after the initial months of filming were over, that he looked through what he had and figured out what else he needed. Consequently, I got called back about 5 or 6 months later to pick up a couple shots for plug-ins....which leads me on to the next question on memories or anecdotes.



Richard as Scotty on set with Sam Raimi in the Cabin in Morristown, Tennesee in The Evil Dead (1979)


Just to ask a general question, are there any memories or anecdotes of The Evil Dead you want to share?  
 
After our initial filming, which lasted for me into January, I thought I was done, so, after a month or so, I cut my hair. In May or June, Rob Tapert called to say they needed a couple shots and wanted to film in a couple weeks. I was willing, but warned him that I had cut my hair. He said they'd deal with it. So, in the film, when Shelly attacks me and cuts my face, if you look closely, I have short hair. When Ash & I have our confrontation about my leaving (my betrayal), I have short hair. They tried covering up the discrepancy with lighting and shadows. If you're just watching to be entertained, you wouldn't notice, but, if you pay attention at all, it's obvious. Other oddball memories are my roomie, Donnie Campbell sleeping with a gun under his pillow; and, that same Donnie Campbell falling off a cliff and going to the hospital. One more that most don't know is that the scene where we are driving down the long, brush-overgrown path to the cabin was shot from the roof of my van. And, a lot of the scenes of us driving were shot from the back of my van with someone holding the doors open for cameraman Tim Philo.



Sam on the roof of Richard's van, with Tim Philo shooting (1979)

Tim Philo shooting while on the roof of Richard's van (1979)


You left Tennessee on Sunday, December 23, 1979 for Christmas, and returned for a few more days location shooting after that. Were you happy about returning to such a gruelling shoot, were all your shots completed before you left again on Friday, January 4, 1980, and how did the crew spend new years eve?  
 
I don't know where you got your dates from, but, I don't remember, so I guess they're correct. When I left the site at the end of January, I knew i was going back, so there wasn't any worry about a "grueling" shoot. Of course, I didn't know how grueling it would be. I returned to Tennessee on December 31st and went to the cabin that evening. We celebrated the New Year with a firecracker war, lighting, holding as long as we could, then throwing the firecracker at anybody within range. I'm sure I must have had a beer or 2, but, who remembers many New Year's Eves?


Among a number of the Detroit re-shoots, two locations you may have attended were Rob Tapert's family farmhouse in Marshall, Michigan (which was used for some cellar, bathroom, and fireplace scenes, as well as Linda's burial & decapitation at the rear of the property), and Sam Raimi's parent's house (used for parts of the cellar). Do you remember the re-shoots and anything you may have worked on?  
 
When I was called back after the location shooting was completed, it was to the farmhouse in Marshall, Michigan. So, in any scenes that I have short hair, those were the scenes I was in that were shot in Marshall. And, without my gingko biloba, I don't remember any other scenes I was involved in that were shot there. But, are you saying that my fight with Shelly, where she's trying to burn my head in the fire was shot in Marshall? I guess it could be true. I'd have to check the film to see how long my hair is in that scene. I do know that we shot some of Linda's burial scenes in Tennessee...You can tell because you can see our breath because of the cold. Not necessarily all of Linda's burial scenes, but some. The scene in the cellar where I startle Ash by jumping out and saying, "Boo!" was shot in Sam Raimi's parents' garage. So were some of the scenes where Ash is driving with Cheryl at night. We were bouncing the car to make it look like it was moving.

Richard as Scotty in the bathroom set during reshoots on The Evil Dead (1980)


Did you or any of your family attend the première at the Redford Theatre, Michigan on the 15 October 1981, and what were your/their thoughts on seeing the completed film for the first time, especially Scotty's eye gouging & meltdown?  
 
I attended the premiere at the Redford Theater in Detroit, but I thought the date was October 31st, not the 15th. (But, that was a long time ago, so you could be correct.) None of my family attended, but a lot of friends from the old neighborhood were there. I grew up about a mile and a half away. When I was a kid, we used to walk up to the Redford Theater and watch all those horror movies that I liked for 35 cents. So, a few of my old buddies were there. One of my friend's wife was so scared, she left fingernail marks on his knees because she was squeezing so hard. But, for me it was completely different. Once the show started, I had a grin on my face from ear to ear. It was great fun. And, hearing the reaction of the crowd was a lot of fun, too. A couple months later, when the movie opened to more theaters, my Uncle Paul went to see it at the Birmingham Theater. He left after the first inference of possession. He believes in that stuff, so it freaked him out. He's never seen the entire movie.


During it's early conception stages, were you ever approached to reprise your role in Evil Dead II, or take a cameo role in Army Of Darkness?  
 
Evil Dead II and Army Of Darkness were produced without any contact with me. I guess they didn't like me.


You did have a small cameo role as Officer Garvey in Crimewave. Do you remember how this came about?  
 
In Crimewave, as Officer Garvey, I had 4 lines, my partner, Richard Bright had 10. When released, he only had 1, and I had none. As I recall, my involvement in the film was kinda like a bone, a bonus for all the crap we dealt with in shooting The Evil Dead. Rob Tapert described it as "the least they could do to help pay back for all the grief we went through in Tennessee." I didn't do much, but it was completely different from my previous experience with Renaissance Pictures. This was a union film with 15-minute breaks and properly-nutritious lunches and make-up artists, and costumers, and lighting crews and grips and all those things you see in the credits at the end of movies. Too bad it was a crappy movie.



L/R: Paul Smith, Louise Lasser, Brion James, Sheree J. Wilson, Reed Birney, Richard de Manincor, and Richard Bright, in Crimewave (1985)


In recent years you have started appearing at various genre conventions, but after The Evil Dead you dropped out of the film industry completely and opted for a more steady & reliable line of work. Why was this, and why have you only recently emerged back into the public eye?  
 
My reasons for "dropping out" of the film industry were loosely spelled out in the first question. I was working insane hours but not getting anywhere. So, I decided be more "regular." My recent "emergence into the public eye" can be attributed to the opportunity. Not being in "the business," I didn't even realize there were conventions that might be interested in having Hal Delrich as a guest. Over the past 12 years, I've been to about 10-15. I have a great time at every one of them. The comi-cons are not really geared for me, so the 2 or 3 of those that I attended were not as enjoyable. The conventions that cater to horror fans are the most fun for me. The people that attend are fans and interested in the whole genre. I'm a fan of horror, so we have great conversations! Plus, I make a couple bucks along the way! As an aside, I made more money at the first convention I attended in 2003, than I made while filming The Evil Dead. I'm sure we all did.



A large 10" x 14" Japanese foldover promo flyer for The Evil Dead, with Scotty's fake head top-centre (1985)


Did you find the national release of the film changed your life in any way once you'd decided to return to a regular career?  
 
The national release of The Evil Dead had literally no effect on my life. My friends knew that I had been an actor, had been in numerous projects and even a film, but I was still who I was. And, I have such a generic face that the movie could have run for weeks without people realizing that The Evil Dead was walking among them.
 
 
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