Fans have been asking Sam to make a fourth Evil Dead film since the release of Army Of Darkness. Sam, Bruce & Rob are quite frequently quoted on the subject as the question virtually always comes up in their respective interviews. Many rumours have come and gone, but currently no official plans or specific dates have ever been released, and if Sam does decide to go ahead with a new movie, it isn't entirely clear what form it would take.

This page covers the various prospects of a new Evil Dead film, and is split in to three sections giving the three most likely paths a new movie could take; Evil Dead 4 covers a further instalment to the existing Evil Dead series which could be a continuation of the Army Of Darkness storyline, and would be directed by Sam and feature Bruce as Ash, An Evil Dead Remake covers a complete re-telling of the original film with a new director & actors and possibly entirely new characters & plotlines, and Freddy vs Jason vs Ash covers the rumours surrounding that collaboration as a possible sequel to the 2003 Freddy vs Jason movie.

Because Sam, Bruce & Rob have been asked the same questions in interviews so many times, many of their answers are simply reiterated verbatim. Rather than try to include every single quote on the matter regardless of similarity, I have only selected very specific quotes that provide a significantly different insight or new information on the subject.

Evil Dead 4

A fourth instalment to the Evil Dead trilogy (possibly titled Army Of Darkness II) directed by Sam and featuring Bruce in the role as Ash has long been rumoured. Speculation began even while Army Of Darkness was still in production. Sam was asked about this in an interview for issue #1 of Killing Moon Magazine, released in September 1991 (page 19);

Please be seated. I have some bad news. It is very possible that the main character, Ash, will not survive ARMY OF DARKNESS. I wish it wasn't so, but he's in a pretty tough jam and it looks bleak. Letįs hope and pray."

The issue seems to come up in virtually every Bruce Campbell interview. He was interviewed at length for Fright X Magazine, released in February 2000 (pages 80 & 81);

"FXM: What's this 'No EVIL DEAD 4' talk?  
BC: It's based on economics. It's got nothing to do with anything else.

FXM: There has to be an EVIL DEAD 4.  
BC: No, there doesn't? And for a number of reasons. First, the more you do, the less precious the other ones are. It's true, there's nothing wrong with a trilogy. At the end of the day we're not excited enough to rattle the cages of the executives to show them how well all the movies have done in video and all the other markets. You know, and no executive is going to woke up and see that in '98, the EVIL DEAD re-release on video, got to number three on the video charts. It was TITANIC, LADY AND THE TRAMP, and EVIL DEAD at one point. But they're not going to notice that, because that's not how they work. They've just graduated from high school, most of these current executives. [laughs] You know, they're worried about whether they can get their copy of PITFALL 3D or not.

FXM: So there's zero percent chance of this happening?  
BC: I would say zero, yeah. I know Sam is interested, and we've kicked a bunch of ideas around, and we would do it, but again, none of us would do it for free, we're all going to ask for a boatload of money, and Sam, he's just directed Kevin Costner! What does he need this for? A SIMPLE PLAN, and this other thing, FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME, he's a big studio director now. It's very hard to say to him, "Okay Sam, you can't have fourteen weeks to shoot this, you can only have eight weeks." Well, how exciting is that to him? And you can't have all these fancy cranes and equipment, and you don't have the big support team anymore.

FXM: Maybe EVIL DEAD 4 doesn't have to be a huge Hollywood...  
BC: Yeah, but this is YOU presuming we're even interested in doing it.

FXM: But you just said you were.  
BC: In a casual, conversational sort of way, but I don't give a rat's ass about those movies one way or the other."

During an interview with Toyfare Magazine (issue #136 - October 2008), Bruce Campbell sounded quite fed up the point being raised multiple times by the interviewer;

"Look, let's cut to the chase because you keep dancing around it, if you're talking about Ash coming back again, Sam Raimi has the best perspective. He says, 'Look, I can go back and do Ash vs. whoever whenever I want. I can do that when I'm 70; I don't have to do that now. Right now I'm on a fast, fat groovy rain in Hollywood.' And he's going to follow that, and he'll come back and to EVIL DEAD stuff when he's unemployed and living at the Old Director's Home."

He elaborated on the point a little further during an interview with Chris Tilly of IGN on February 6, 2009, while he was promoting My Name Is Bruce;

"Sam and I love those movies and we owe everything to them. They are what got us into this business. But Sam has five kids - he's a family man. And those movies are an absolute physical pain in the ass to make. So whenever we see each other, it's not like 'Man, we've got to make another one of those movies.' And I'm under a five-year contract for a TV show in the States [Burn Notice] which is doing well and it ain't going to get cancelled in the foreseeable future. So I have a day job that I can't just walk away from."

"I wouldn't make it if Sam didn't make it. I wouldn't do it if Sam didn't direct it - that would be ridiculous. But here's the real bottom line. We'd work for two years making that movie, working our asses off, then people would watch it and go 'It's OK, but not as good as Army of Darkness.' I know it, I just know it. Because look at Indiana Jones 4 - that movie was forced down people's throats. That was not brought back by popular demand. That was a couple of high-powered players going 'Let's try that again.' I took a poll because I was in 22 States with this movie [My Name is Bruce], and the Evil Dead 4 question always comes up. And I say 'One, two, three - raise your hands if you wanted Indiana Jones 4' and two hands would go up in a 300 seat theatre. That's your answer right there."

"But there wasn't supposed to be an Evil Dead II. Ash is dead at the end of the first one - completely dead. But our second movie Crimewave bombed, so we went 'Aw crap, we'd better make another Evil Dead movie.' So that's why it was created. And because we didn't have the rights to each subsequent movie - because they were made by different companies - we had to fake these re-caps and use different actors, and it just confused people. I don't think it was ever organically meant to be made into three movies anyway. So a fourth one would just be more confused and ridiculous. It's a little too muddled I think."

When interviewed a shot time later by Steve Heisler for the A/V club on February 11, 2009, Bruce poured more cold water on even the mere idea of a fourth instalment;

"AVC: In your opinion, is Ash worthy of more movies?  
BC: No. I think there should be an end to everything. I mean, did anyone really want Indiana Jones 4? The answer is no. Iíve taken a poll in about seven theaters now. Of 300 people, three hands go up. You are bound to disappoint. I would rather disappoint with a brand new original movie. People worship Army Of Darkness,and God bless them for it. Itís a beautiful thing. The movie bombed when it came out, and not many people are aware of that. Twenty years later, the thing has picked up speed, and itís on American Movie Classics now. That was a long time ago, and whatever we do next will always be compared to Army Of Darkness, and I donít see how we can win. You make that movie, and I can tell you the quote right now, ďOh, itís not quite as good as Army Of Darkness.Ē Then we would have gone through immense physical pain and anguish to bring something out that ultimately disappointed. Thatís really not what Iím into these days."

Sam on the other hand usually tends to seem positive about the idea. He was interviewed by Chris Tilly for IGN at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival premiŤre of Drag Me To Hell on March 15, 2009, and asked about a follow-up to Army Of Darkness;

"I hope to, yes. Every time I say I would like to [revisit the films], people say, 'where the hell is it!?!' But Iím just glad people are still interested. But yes, I would really like to do [another ĎEvil Deadí film]. Iíve just got a commitment to make ĎSpider-Man 4í right now though."

Sam elaborated further in an interview with the May 2009 issue of Empire Magazine (page 116), revealing that he had already started co-writing a script with his brother Ivan, although they're only up to page nine;

"EMPIRE: Okay, then. I have to ask... Evil Dead IV?  
RAIMI: Everyone keeps getting mad at me because I kept talking about it! But I'd like to write Evil Dead IV with my brother. Every time we're together, we write another page. We've got nine pages now.

EMPIRE: Hang on - there are nine pages of Evil Dead IV... here'?  
RAIMI: No, it's in Detroit and in my garage!

EMPIRE: Oh. What's in the pages?  
RAIMI: There's some dialogue. Ash being an idiot. Ash taking some abuse. Some character stuff, and then some structure of Act Two. It's ideas, jokes, things we'd like to see.

EMPIRE: Bruce is now 50. Would he still be playing Ash?  
RAIMI: That's the plan. Unless you think I should play the role..."

One major hurdle to overcome would be writing the opening scenes. While a little artistic licence was taken with the continuity between Evil Dead II and Army Of Darkness, many potential viewers may only have seen one of the two diametrically opposed Army Of Darkness alternate endings; with either Ash stuck in the future or back in his own time, making exact continuity between Army Of Darkness and Evil Dead 4 virtually impossible for the entire audience, and worse still, making the opening scenes completely nonsensical for those who have only seen the other ending.

Given that Bruce was 34 when starring in Army Of Darkness, and is over 50 now, the likelihood & plausibility of him reprising the incredibly physically demanding role of Ash is diminishing as time passes, but given his outstanding work on Burn Notice is by no means out of the question. With Sam's current film track record, it would seem more likely he would take a back seat in a direct remake with a new up & coming director and no Ash, than to make Evil Dead 4, but neither path is a certainty by any means. Evil Dead 4 seems as far away as it ever was, but as Sam completes his part in the Spider-Man franchise, he will emerge with the directorial clout, artistic freedom, and virtually guaranteed financial backing to realise any idea he desires, which might well include another outing for Bruce as Ash.

An Evil Dead Remake

Horror remakes have become flavour of the moment with many of the major studios churning out title after title; A Nightmare On Elm Street, Dawn Of The Dead, Halloween, The Hills Have Eyes, The Omen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to name but a few, each released with varying degrees of success (and most with further sequels). Many fans automatically leap to the stance of being precious about original films while being quick to knock remakes, but it's easy to forget that a number of seminal horror films of the 70's & 80's were remakes themselves.

The Thing, The Fly and Invasion of the Body Snatchers are three excellent examples of remakes which have stood the test of time. Can the same be said of the more recent batch of remakes? Only time will tell.

A remake of The Evil Dead was announced as an upcoming project for Ghost House pictures (Sam & Rob's production company) a few years back, although Sam said up front he would not be directing, and Sam, Bruce & Rob would take a back seat role. The basic tenants of the plot would still stand with a group of teenagers going to a cabin and finding the Book of the Dead, but there the similarities would end, maybe without even the character of Ash, much less starring Bruce as the lead.

Rob Tapert usually plays things close to the chest given his normal role as producer, but even so, he has mentioned a remake in a number of interviews. He spoke to Scott Collura of Now Playing Magazine back in January 2005;

"Yes [Ash will be re-cast], because it will be off of the original movie. It's five kids go to a cabin, but it's not a continuation of the existing Evil Dead backstory. We're talking to various filmmakers about their possible interest, and it's still in the germination stage. There are people who we would like to give a chance to create their own vision as to what Evil Dead is, so we're kind of hearing what other people's take might be and moving forward along those lines."

"Just redoing, and using a bad word, aping the original Evil Dead... there's really no reason to do that, that movie exists. So it's finding a way to please the people who love the original, introduce it to a whole new group of people who have never seen it, and thrill them. And also for Sam and myself and Bruce, to thrill ourselves with working with new people [on] what their idea is to take that kind of wild experience to the next level."

Bloody-Disgusting.com's SuperHeidi interviewed Sam & Rob in March 2, 2005, back when they were promoting their new film; Boogeyman. Sam was asked about the remake, and but first about the prospect of actor Sean Scott Williams playing the role of Ash;

"Who is that? I don't think I've ever heard of him. There will be an Evil Dead 4, and there will ALSO be an Evil Dead Remake. The remake will be produced by Ghost House pictures, and it will star a new cast and a completely new director. The point of Ghost House is that we want to bring new directors to Hollywood and give them a chance to make a good horror film. I love the original Dawn of the Dead, and I also really enjoyed the new Dawn of the Dead. I mean, they are both really great horror films. I want to let somebody with a fresh vision bring The Evil Dead to a new generation and a new audience with a different vision. [Evil Dead 4] is the project I really want to make. The remake can belong to someone else, but part 4 will be a continuation of the original."

Later in August 2007, Bruce revealed in a radio interview that the proposed remake was going nowhere, due to extremely negative fan reactions, but more recently, Sam gave fans an update on the idea, although sounded a little vague on the precise details when interviewed by Chris Tilly for IGN at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival premiere of Drag Me To Hell on March 15, 2009;

"I have talked with my partners [of Ghost House Pictures] about having a young director come in and remake Evil Dead, that film was made in 16mm on a shoestring budget and blown up to 35mm. The visual effects are crumby, it was done in mono, not even stereo, let alone 5.1. What you could do with it now would be so much better."

"I think if you had a new director using the full power of 35mm and 5.1 sound, you could really make a pretty socko presentation. It was always meant for the big screen, but never really seen on the big screen"

As late as December 2, 2009 in an article in The West Australian (a Perth centred daily newspaper), Rob was asked if they still have a remake in their sights, and who might direct it;

"Yes, we do. How easy was that? I just said yes. Sam always said it would be a great thing for somebody to remake because no one has seen it theatrically on a big screen. It is a great chance for a young filmmaker to do his thing and bring better effects and better acting to the story. Hopefully, we are wholeheartedly committing to getting that done in 2010. We are looking for a filmmaker to work with to redevelop the story. We don't want to do what I call cling block - cling to old things or block new ideas."

A polished slick 'hand held' MTV style remake with flashy visuals may perform well at the box office but would be very unlikely to carry favour with hardened fans of the original, and might not garner anything like it's devoted fan base or longevity. As any shot-for-shot remake would undoubtedly be held up in direct comparison with the original, making the task an impossibly tall order, Sam would likely have to do something radically different if it was ever to emerge from it's predecessors huge shadow.

Freddy vs Jason vs Ash

For a time, a Freddy vs Jason vs Ash movie was rumoured as a sequel to the Freddy vs Jason which was released in 2003. Sam & Rob did indeed look at the idea but in the end decided against it. The rights to each franchise are owned by a different studio (Freddy Kruger by New Line Cinema, Jason Voorhees by Paramount Pictures, and Ash by Renaissance Pictures) and Sam felt this would lead to an impossible working relationship with each studio vying for their character to come out top in the storyline.

The above problem did not stop Dynamite Entertainment & DC Comics from getting the rights to publish two sets of comic books based around the characters, with a six-issue series entitled Freddy vs Jason vs Ash released over November 2007 to March 2008, the story of which starts directly after the events in the Freddy vs Jason movie, and ends with Ash coming out on top, using the Book of the Dead to open a portal, banishing Freddy to the Deadite world, while Jason and the Book are frozen underneath Crystal Lake. Another six-issue follow up called Freddy vs Jason vs Ash: The Nightmare Warriors was released from August to January 2010. Both sets of comic books were written by Jeff Katz & James Kuhoric and illustrated by Jason Craig.

Official explanations on the situation are few and far between, but Sam was asked about it while speaking to Jeff Otto of IGN Filmforce back in October 11, 2004;

"IGN FILMFORCE: The Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash rumors keep circulating. What are your thoughts on that project?  
RAIMI: Well, I actually really like those, the Freddy movies, and Jason is a classic American horror figure now. I have a lot of respect for those series, and maybe one day they will meet up, but right now what I'd like to do is, well I'd first rather make another Evil Dead picture, and then maybe when we're done with it, if there's an interesting story that really seems like it's not just a device to make money, which I'm not saying it was. I know that they wanted to do something really cool, but I wanted to keep the option open for myself to make another Evil Dead movie without the limitations of what that story may have done. That's really, I think, what it is.

IGNFF: So you do hold complete control over the rights to the Ash character?  

IGNFF: So there's no way they can make that movie without your consent?  
RAIMI: Right. I think that they were hoping that it might go. We talked about it, but then the press release came out and I think I would need more control than they would be happy with and I don't want to control some other director. Sean Cunningham's a brilliant director and I actually don't want to be in a position where I'm trying to protect Ash and the Evil Dead story and he's not getting everything he wants. Even though it might have been really great, I bet what he does is gonna be great, it didn't seem like a good position for me to be in. Anyways, they've got so many great possibilities with that franchise and those two characters, I don't think they really need the Evil Dead franchise to be part of it."

Bruce elaborated on their position further (and somewhat less diplomatically) during an interview with Chris Tilly of IGN on February 6, 2009, while he was promoting My Name Is Bruce;

"We actually had that five minute conversation with New Line cinema. And it went kind of like this:

'Hey, how about Ash vs. Jason vs. Freddy?'

We went 'Great idea - Ash can kill them both, right?'

And they went 'Well, actually you can't kill either one of them.'

And it was 'click'. That's how long the phone call went for. Because why on earth would you dilute a franchise with two other franchises? It made no business sense, because you're splitting that pie way too many ways. If it's New Line cinema, Freddy's their baby - you know it's going to get special treatment. And why else would Ash be in it unless he could kill both of those jerks?"

It looks safe to say that while this may be a neat idea in principal, the poor execution of Freddy vs Jason left alot to be desired, and there is little reason to think Freddy vs Jason vs Ash would be any improvement. Given the high esteem in which the fans hold the Evil Dead trilogy, the fact that the film is very unlikely to come to fruition may not be such a bad thing.

Sam's recent film; Drag Me To Hell, was a partial glimpse of the sort of Evil Dead film he is capable of, given the solid backing and artistic freedom to create a movie exactly as he envisions it, qualities he can now command given his excellent track record, but which were somewhat lacking from previous Evil Dead productions, making an exciting prospect.

Which ever Evil Dead path Sam decides to take, pleasing the die hard fans will be far from an easy task and no matter what the quality of the result, it would be extremely unlikely to please everyone. The earliest production on any of the above ideas would be likely to start is after the completion of Spider-Man 4, due to be released on May 5, 2011. Until then, fans will have to live in hope, much as they have done over the past two decades, keeping an eye out for the latest quotes and little off-the-cuff remarks, from those in the know.

Given the recent slew of poor quality horror remakes & sequels which many fans feel tarnish their preciously revered originals, it may be worth adding; 'be careful what you wish for...'