After years of work, Hail to the Deadites has set its world premiere. The upcoming Evil Dead documentary is set to debut at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Like most major events this year, the in-person version of the event has been scrapped in the interest of public health. Instead, the festival will be holding a digital edition that kicks off next month. The long-awaited documentary has been confirmed to be part of the lineup.
The movie takes a look at the fandom of the Evil Dead franchise. It has been in the works for quite some time, with a teaser debuting online a few years back. As the trailer reveals, the aim is not to document the history of the beloved horror series so much as it exists to provide a look at the fandom behind it. Director Steve Villeneuve had this to say about it.
"Some people might find it weird to not see any footage of the franchise in the documentary but this is what I've been aiming for since day one. I'm really proud to say that everything you will see or hear in this documentary was created by the fans."
Hail to the Deadites uses interviews with the cast, crew, collectors, fans, freaks and geeks. It seeks to illuminate the darkest reaches of the franchise's undying and still-growing popularity, a popularity that has spawned four movies, a TV series, comic books, figurines and surpassed even its creator's wildest dreams. The documentary also features interviews with cast members such as Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Tom Sullivan, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, Sarah Berry, Rick Domeier and Bill Moseley.
Directed by Sam Raimi, The Evil Dead was released in 1983. The low-budget horror flick starred Bruce Campbel as Ash Williams, who has since gone on to become a true icon of the genre. Two sequels, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness were produced, as well as a remake in 2013. Ash vs. Evil Dead, a TV series that brought back Campbell as Ash, aired three seasons on Starz from 2015 to 2018. While the movies have been financially successful at the box office, earning $154 million worldwide, it is the passionate fandom that has helped them achieve legendary cult status over the years.
Bruce Campbell recently confirmed that new movie Evil Dead Rise is in the works from director Lee Cronin. Campbell has repeatedly asserted that he has retired from playing Ash, so it will center on new characters. Hail to the Deadites is expected to be available via the Fantasia online platform from August 20 to September 2. All screenings will be geo-blocked to Canadian audiences and only accessible from within the country. There is no word yet on a release plan for the movie beyond its debut at the festival. For more information on the doc, head on over to HailToTheDeadites.com.