Evil Dead

The Evil Dead: How Royal Oak Natives Created a Cult Classic


Since its debut in 1981, Sam Rami’s The Evil Dead has become one of the most popular cult horror movies spawning an entire media franchise with two sequels (Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness), a remake in 2013, a television show (Ash vs Evil Dead), several video games, numerous comic books, and even a musical. The series is bigger than it’s ever been with the third season of Ash vs Evil Dead set to premiere this fall and “Evil Dead the Musical” playing at the City Theatre starting on September 28.

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The musical has grown a cult following of its own since it started in 2003 at a small bar in Toronto. The show has grown astronomically in the 14 years since with over 200 productions of the show around the world, including Detroit’s own City Theatre. The performance includes a “splash zone” where part of the audience gets drenched in fake blood during select moments in the production.

The only tie to southeast Michigan isn’t just the stage production, however, as both the series’ creator, Raimi, and main star, Bruce Campbell, grew up in metro Detroit. Raimi was born and raised in Royal Oak and attended Groves High School in Beverly Hills.

The groovy Campbell was born in Vermont, but grew up in Royal Oak, and attended Western Michigan University. The 59 year-old actor has enjoyed a long and successful career dating back to the 1970s with numerous memorable roles like Sam Axe on the television show Burn Notice, Ronald Reagan on FX’s Fargo, and different cameos in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. Evil Dead is unquestionably his most iconic role and he’ll be celebrating that role by introducing the first Evil Dead at a sold out screening on August 29 at the Redford Theatre, which is where the film premiered.

If you don’t have tickets to that event, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get your Bruce Campbell fix. The actor will also be hosting “An Evening with Bruce Campbell Featuring Last Fan Standing” on August 30 at the Michigan Theater. The interactive trivia game will bring the four smartest and fastest pop culture aficionados to the stage to compete in a game show hosted by the Evil Dead star.

All tickets to that event will include a signed hardcover copy of Campbell’s newest memoir, “Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor.” The sequel to “If Chins Could Kill,” this memoir goes into detail how the ‘B’ movie star has landed roles in some of the most popular forms of entertainment.

It’s a great time to be an Evil Dead fan in metro Detroit; be sure to check out the respective websites for tickets and more information.

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