Behind The Scenes Saturday: The Evil Dead (1981)

Spooky Season has officially begun!! This year’s Spooky Season starts off on a Saturday, that means we get to start with my readers’ favorite series, Behind The Scenes Saturday! I decided to kick things off with a Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell classic, The Evil Dead. This film made its impact on the world with its thrilling concept, terrifying sense of isolation, and special effects you just can’t look away from! So, be sure to burn the book, load the shotgun, and enjoy these fun trivia facts!!

(Trivia provided by

(Pictures provided by and




  • The cabin that was used for the film was also where the cast and crew lodged during filming. There were 13 crew members who had to share the cabin, with many of them even sharing the same room. Unfortunately, there was no plumbing at the cabin so no one was able to shower, and the actors fell ill when the weather became freezing. It got so bad, they eventually had to burn furniture just to stay warm.
  • The scene where blood ran down the projector was a tribute to Bruce Campbell (Ash) and Sam Raimi’s (writer/director) friend, Andy Grainger. Grainger gave them this piece of advice: “Fellas, no matter what you do, keep the blood running down the screen.”
  • When principal shooting ended, the crew put together a time capsule and buried it inside the fireplace in the cabin as a fun memento for whoever found it. The cabin ended up getting destroyed, but the fireplace is still intact!
  • The original script had all the characters smoking marijuana while they’re listening to the tape. The actors decided to actually be high for the scene. However, due to their uncontrollable behavior, the scene had to be re-shot.
  • The blood used in the film was a mixture of Karo syrup, non-dairy creamer, and red food coloring. Bruce Campbell’s shirt was so saturated in the fake blood, that after they dried it by the fire, the shirt solidified and actually broke when Campbell tried to put it back on.
  • In an interview, Betsy Baker (Linda) claimed that she was so suspicious of the producers wanting her to star in a horror film, she only met them in a public restaurant.
  • The property’s owner let the production crew lease the cabin on the condition that any modifications made for the film would be undone once filming was over. The crew kept their word and the only thing that remained in the cabin was the fireplace that was built specifically for the film.
  • The eerie wind we hear in the film was recorded by Sam Raimi himself. He first heard that noise through his bedroom window and it prevented him from sleeping. He concluded that the noise would be PERFECT for the film.
  • The original title was Book Of The Dead. The film’s producer, Irvin Sharpiro was the one who changed it to The Evil Dead because he was afraid that kids wouldn’t want to see it if it had a literary reference in its title.
  • The way that the beginning scene was shot over the pond was accomplished by Bruce Campbell pushing Sam Raimi on a dingy.
  • The white contacts that the actors had to use were very uncomfortable and painful to wear. They took about ten minutes to apply, they covered half of the eye and they needed to be taken out every 15 minutes for their eyes to breathe.
  • On the very first day of filming, the crew ended up getting lost in the woods.
  • While the characters are listening to the tape, it translates to “Sam and Rob are the hikers on the road.” This is a nod to Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, who cameoed as the fishermen who wave to the car as it passes them in the beginning of the film.
  • The temperatures sometimes got so cold that the camera and other wiring would freeze and had to be thawed by the cabin’s fireplace.
  • Famous director Joel Coen worked on this film as an assistant editor. This was one of his earliest film jobs. He and his brother, Ethan Coen later got help for their own film Blood Simple from Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Raimi and Campbell even starred in a short film based on Blood Simple for the Coens to show to potential investors, which worked!
  • A cameraman ended up slipping and accidentally hitting Bruce Campbell in the face with the camera, which caused Campbell to lose some of his teeth.
  • In the scene where Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) runs back into the cabin after being attacked, you’ll notice Scott (Richard DeManincor) start to say something, stop, throw his head back, and step out of the shot. This was because Richard DeManicor messed his line up.
  • Bruce Campbell twisted his ankle while running down a hill. Sam Raimi and Rob Tabert teasingly poked his injury with sticks, which made his limping in the movie very noticeable.
  • The white liquid that the possessed spit out was 2% milk. This decision was made for two reasons. 1. Raimi had them spit out white liquid to show the possessed were not normal beings. 2. Making some of the liquid white helped the film avoid an X rating.
  • To perfect the sound of mutilated flesh, dead chickens were repeatedly stabbed. Bruce Campbell also had to scream into a microphone for several hours.
  • After Scott tells Ash, “Don’t you see, Ash, they’re alive!” His scream is noticeably higher than usual. This is because Sam Raimi’s scream was meshed with Scott’s.
  • Another obstacle the production had to deal with was local hunters accidentally stumbling onto the set’s location, halting filming.
  • For Linda’s possessed look, the make-up artist wanted to originally go for a snake-like look. We can see the look as Ash is dragging her out of the house and she slithers like a snake. Her look was later changed to the doll look we all know and love.
  • Richard DeManincor and Theresa Tilly (Shelly) were members of the Screen Actors Guild, and because they didn’t want to be penalized for being in a non-union production, they used stage names for their credits in this film. DeManincor is credited as Hal Delrich and Tilly credited herself as Sarah York.
  • Taking inspiration from famous director William Castle, Sam Raimi had ambulances on stand-by at the film’s premiere as a publicity stunt.
  • Among many of Bruce Campbell’s injuries during filming, one that we actually see is when Cheryl’s hand bursts through the floor and grabs Ash’s face. The puppeteer who had to blindly grab for Campbell ended up accidentally gashing his head and Campbell’s real blood ran down his head.
  • When Ash shoots one of the Deadites through the window of the cabin, Bruce Campbell is shooting real ammunition at a dummy for the sake of making the scene look more realistic.
  • For some of the night scenes, the moon had to be “matted down.” If you watch the film with all the lights off, you may be able to see a black square wrapped around the full moon. In Stephen King’s glowing review of the film, he mentioned the matted moon footage as being part of the film’s low-budget charm.
  • In many scenes where a main actor was either busy or preoccupied, Sam Raimi’s brother, Ted Raimi was used as a substitute.
  • During the car scene, Scott was holding a glass of moonshine in his hand. Everyone in the car was supposed to be drinking it and there was a shot of Ash reacting to the drink. The scene was cut but Ash’s expression after drinking was left in.
  • Betsy Baker ended up losing her eyelashes during the removal process of her facial mold.
  • One of the reasons filming was moved to Tennessee instead of Michigan was because Sam Raimi wanted to avoid the harsh winters. Ironically, filming took place during one of Michigan’s mildest winters and one of Tennessee’s coldest.
  • To get more actors for the film, an ad was placed in the Detroit News. Betsy Baker ended up being one of the actresses to respond to the ad.
  • When Scott first opens the cabin door and “dust” appears in the sunlight, it’s actually cigarette smoke. Rob Tapert was off-screen smoking when the shot was filmed.
  • When the car is driving up to the cabin, there is a shot where Sam Raimi is sitting in the passenger seat where Shelly is supposed to be.
  • The car used in the film was a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Holiday Sedan. It was Sam Raimi’s personal car and it ended up being shown in every Sam Raimi film since this one.
  • During the scene where Ash is having trouble dismembering Linda with a chainsaw, a real chainsaw was used for the scene and was actually put up to Betsy Baker’s neck. In the close-up of her neck, you can see Betsy’s pulse racing.
  • The scene where Cheryl was raped by the woods, the scene was written differently. It was merely written that she was attacked in the woods but THAT part was later added. To counterbalance this assault, they added the scene where decapitated Linda attempts to rape Ash near the end of the film.
  • To get the final shot of the spirit crashing through the cabin and attacking Ash, the camera was put on a motorcycle and driven through the woods and cabin and into Campbell. Campbell claimed that this stunt broke a few of his ribs.
  • The magnifying glass necklace was meant to be a major plot device. It was supposed to catch the sunlight and burn the Book Of The Dead. They later decided it wasn’t going to work so they scrapped the idea.
  • During the scene where Linda attacks Ash with the ancient dagger, Betsy Baker was so blind due to the white contacts she wore, she had no idea where Bruce Campbell was or where she was going.
  • Ash was originally supposed to die at the end of the film when attacked by a demon one last time. This of course was changed for Evil Dead II.
  • When the demons melt at the end of the film, creamed corn was used for some of the zombie guts.
  • Sam Raimi regrets adding the controversial tree scene and Bruce Campbell regrets his character violently slapping possessed Linda in anger.

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