Evil Dead fans can thank their lucky stars for Stephen King. Bruce Campbell, who played the horror franchise’s deadite-slaying hero Ash Williams in a trilogy of movies and has since reprised the role on TV’s Ash vs. Evil Dead, revealed that if it wasn’t for the Master of Horror’s help, Evil Dead 2 might never have existed.
In an interview with Consequence of Sound to promote Season 3 of the comedy horror series which debuts this Sunday on Starz, the actor offered up an obscure tidbit that most everybody outside of diehard Evil Dead fans were unaware.
When Evil Dead first premiered in 1981, King happened to be in the audience at the Cannes Film Festival and was so jazzed about it that when director Sam Raimi approached him about giving them a quote, he did one better and actually wrote a review. As a result, the helmer was able to pull the now legendary quote from it —“the most ferociously original horror film of the year”—an endorsement which helped Raimi sell the movie and launched his and Campbell’s Hollywood careers.
But the square-jawed action star says the horror scribe was also instrumental in ensuring the franchise continued as well. When Raimi and company were trying to get Evil Dead 2 off the ground, they had trouble securing the financing and in came King to the rescue.
“We were having trouble getting financing. We were prepping it and trying to get it going,” Campbell told the outlet. “We had a woman who was kind of like doing scheduling stuff, and we had to let her go. So she was a crew member, and she took off down to North Carolina and started making all these movies.”
As it happened, the crew member ended up working on Maximum Overdrive, produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by…you guessed it, Stephen King, in his only stint behind the camera.
Added Campbell: “Stephen was like, ‘What are you up to?’ And she was like, “I just came from working with these guys trying to get money for Evil Dead 2.’ He goes, ‘Evil Dead 2? They can’t get the money for that?’ She goes ‘No.’ He calls Dino De Laurentiis and goes, ‘You should make this movie.’I think we had a deal … we met with Dino and I think we had a deal in about half an hour, and a basic understanding.”
King's lobbying proved to be a blessing for horror aficionados as Evil Dead 2 has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed horror sequels of all time.
As Ash would say... Groovy.