For a complete filmography go to the IMDB
Born: October 23, 1959, Franklin, Michigan, USA
Like such other "ferociously original" filmmakers as Romero, Cronenberg and Hooper, Raimi learned his craft without the benefit of film school training. He learned film by starting young, by making films and more films (30 by his own count); from experience and from his co-workers.
One of his co-workers who shared in Raimi's education was Bruce Campbell, a ringleader of a filmmaking gang that Raimi joined in high school. Another early Raimi ally was Robert Tapert, whom Raimi met in a Shakespeare course at college. Together, Raimi and Tapert formed the Michigan State University Society of Creative Filmmaking, which became a commercial outlet for several films they made together, and for several of Raimi's high school films. A later addition to MSUSCF was Tom Sullivan, a young effects whiz. Sullivan's artistic talent was immediately put to use designing the ads for the film group's showings, but it was his hands-on experience in makeup effects and stop motion that made him invaluable when the EVIL DEAD project began.
The script of EVIL DEAD, which was completed in first draft during his college years, owes some of its thematic structure to Raimi's borrowings from English Lit. "I don't want to get too artistic, but I think the picture was strengthened by the notion of time, as in Shakespeare's 'The Winters Tale'. There, time moves in an orderly, progressive fashion, and then, at a certain point, time stops. Then, when evil is in control, time moves backwards; that's what I used in the EVIL DEAD. There's a clock in the film that serves as a focal point; a gauge to the evil"
Five college students venture into the wooded mountains of Tennessee to spend a weekend of fun in an isolated country cabin. There they discover a demonic relic, the ancient Book of the Dead. The Book, bound in human flesh and written in blood, contains the resurrection formulas that will cause the spirits of the evil dead to rise and take control, one by one, of the students. As the survivors see their friends and lovers turn into hideous, murdering demons, they learn that the only way to kill the possessed is to dismember them.
With much of the same cast and crew that would later tackle the feature, Raimi shot WITHIN THE WOODS, a 30-minute adaptation of the same story in super 8 format. "That was our main tool for financing" says Raimi. As the financing came together, the next steps were casting and the selection of locations. The Tennessee location schedule was planned for seven weeks, which grew to 11 in the course of filming.
- Bob Martin in Fangoria #23, Nov 1982
Initially titled BOOK OF THE DEAD, it was screened in Detroit for investors, friends and family on 15 October, 1981. On Irving Shapiro's suggestion the title was changed to the EVIL DEAD and shown at film festivals in Europe. It was at Cannes in 1982 that Stephen King first saw the film and what he had to say about it turned out to be as influential as the deals Irvin Shapiro was making to distribute the film. "I saw it by chance at the Cannes Film Festival, and it blew me away. Totally. Blew me right throught the back doors, through the lobby and into the street, figuratively speaking." King came back and wrote a review of it for the Nov 1982 issue of the 'Twilight Zone' magazine. "That Sam Raimi is a genius is yet unproven; that he has made the most ferociously original horror film of 1982 seems to me beyond doubt . . . . the camera has the kind of nightmarish fluidity that we associate with the early John Carpenter, it dips and slides and then zooms in so fast you want to plaster your hands over your eyes. The film begins and ends with crazy exhilarating shots that make you want to leap up, cheering."
- Bill Warren from The Evil Dead Companion, 2000.