SAM RAIMI knows horror.  Sure, he’s spent the last decade filming a certain web-slinger swinging from skyscrapers, but he’s finally returned to the genre where he established his unique visual style.  In Drag Me To Hell, Raimi dusts off his duffel bag of detached eyeballs, maggot puke, and thrashing demonic heads...  And, well, it's been worth the wait, to say the least.

Screen Junkies had the opportunity to attend the Drag Me to Hell press junket and soak in Raimi’s thoughts on playing with prosthetics and fake guts once again.  There wasn’t as much bloodshed as you’d expect, but then again, it was at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, where they frown upon such things. 

SAM RAIMI, on the film’s similarities to ‘The Evil Dead’:

I tried to stay away from duplicating ‘The Evil Dead’ horror as much as possible, but there’s always a moment or two when you can’t help yourself.  When you get a monster’s eyeball, as anyone knows, it’s hard to not put it in your leading lady’s mouth.  I was just trying to tell a different story that hadn’t been told before, with a lot of familiar horror elements.  It’s not that I was trying to make something so different, I was just trying to tell this story the best that I could.

On Horror films:

I really like the horror genre, it’s so much fun.  The horror audience is the best audience in the world.  They want to be entertained.  They go there to be thrilled.  And I feel like they have such a fun attitude in their hearts when they go to see these movies.    

On making the audience root for Alison Lohman’s character, Christine Brown:

That had a lot to do with the casting of Alison Lohman.  She’s really despicable.  I don’t mean Alison; Alison’s okay.  But [her character in the movie] has a very positive charm that works on the audience that helps us stay with her despite all the terrible things she does.  A lot of people forgive you if you’re good looking too, and Alison is very good looking, and has a nice smile. 

On the writing process for the film:

What made [Alison’s] character interesting to me is that she’s flawed and capable of making mistakes and selfish choices, and unfortunately I understand her because of that, because I’m weak, and flawed, and scared, and selfish and all those things.  And that weakness fascinates me.  I detest it.  But it’s what interests me.  It interests me because I’m flawed.  I can sometimes explore things that trouble me.  I think all writers work this way.  They take a part of themselves, what they understand as their problems and put them out there.  I wish I had more noble problems.

On working with Justin Long:

Justin is such a nice guy in person.  I love working with him.  He is so funny, too.  He’s funny in a great way because he’s able to inhabit the character and be funny through the character’s eyes, which is really a weird quality.  He can see things that are absurd about the scene or situation and remark through the voice of the character.

On the film’s PG-13 rating:

I knew I was writing for a PG-13.  I didn’t want to rely on the outrageous amounts of violence, blood, and gore of the Evil Dead films.  I wanted to go in a slightly different direction with this one.  I said let’s try not to have any of that, if we can.  Obviously there’s going to be some violence in a horror film.  We tried to make up for it for the kids with buckets of slime. 

On movies with trees molesting women:  

That was a desire [in The Evil Dead] to shock the audience and give them something they haven’t quite seen before, and tantalize them and freak them out because when we were making that picture that was the goal of that; to try to give them a real thrill ride.

On Spider-man 4:

I’m still working on it right now.  More properly, the writer who is writing the screenplay right now, David Lindsay-Abaire, a New York playwright, is supposedly writing.  …I gotta call that guy.  And he should be done with his script in about four weeks.

We liked Sam Raimi before, but we certainly like him now.  He couldn’t have been nicer, or more of a gentleman - showing up in a suit and tie when jeans or sweatpants would have sufficed.  We’d like to thank Mr. Raimi, the entire cast of Drag Me To Hell, and everyone at Universal for having us over.

Just to see how far Raimi's come in this business, check out this old-school Evil Dead interview:

Drag Me To Hell opens wide on Friday, May 29, 2009.  

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