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There are two versions of the cabin set: one on a sound stage in a warehouse and the other, an exact replica on location in the middle of the New Zealand wilderness. The sound stage version of the set actually pulls apart to allow all angles to be captured and has a special stacking mechanism that separates the main floor from the basement while allowing access to both. As far as the authenticity of the cabin, our production liaison mentioned that someone involved with the film asked, upon first inspection, how they were able to find such a perfect cabin to shoot at. The cabin had, of course, been created for the film, but the attention to detail was so well executed that one wouldn't have blinked if she had said the cabin had been sitting there for fifty years.
Shortly after meeting Alvarez, he gave us a guided tour of the sound stage version of the cabin set. He prefaced it with the following warning: “The first rule is don’t touch anything, the second rule is don’t touch anything, and the third rule is don’t steal stuff.” At the beginning of the tour, Alvarez stopped and played a piano tune from the original Evil Dead film. “If you look for blood, you will find blood everywhere," said Alvarez as he guided us through the main floor of the cabin. “It’s safe to say that someone dies in every room.”
The effects are being done almost entirely practically. Anything that isn’t being done practically is being done in post conversion, but not via CGI.
We had the opportunity to check out the latex prosthetics and stage blood that's being used to bring the gore to life. It was startling how realistic the props were. In checking out some of the footage, with the effects in play, they are top notch. Gallons upon gallons of stage blood have been spilled. Rob Tapert's only concern with the on screen violence was actually trying to avoid an NC-17 rating from the MPAA. Tapert told us that there was never any intent of trying to make the film PG-13. It was always go big or go home. That should serve to assure fans that the creative team is really looking to do right by the original, a film that they all love.
Alvarez shared the actual breakdown of practical effects versus those done in post with us. “The effects are 95% practical. We are not doing any CGI. The other 5% are real post effects. For example, you are going to see some fire today. But, on the scene, there will be no fire. Then, we will reshoot the scene and add the fire, because, we don’t want to kill the actors. We don’t do CG blood. Everything that we do is real, it’s practical. Sometimes a post effect will just mean that you put two real things together.”
We got to check out a version of the Necromonicon that's being used in the film.
It's not being called the Necromonicon, however, because of copyright issues. It seems that someone owns the book that was used in the original film, so there will be some design changes and the book will likely just be called the Book of the Dead. The book was made of synthetic skin that looked and felt very much like actual skin. It's stitched together and bound in a very home-made kind of way. I was amazed by the attention to detail. Pages that may not even be shown in the film have been created and inserted to lend authenticity to the appearance of the book. The book's creators spent countless hours putting it together.
Alvarez is a huge fan of the original Evil Dead film. He told us that it was the first truly terrifying movie that he ever watched and how, as a young boy, he went into a video store and asked the clerk for the scariest film in store. Without hesitation, the clerk pointed out Evil Dead to a young Alvarez. The film has had a huge impact on Fede's life since then and he is taking the opportunity to helm the remake as no small task, he in quite confident in his work, nonetheless. You can tell that Alvarez is pleased with the film and that he's been given enough creative control to make the film he's set out to create. Alvarez has Tapert, Raimi, and Campbell offering support and guidance, rather than trying to change his vision for the film.
Every step of the production process is being done with the utmost attention to detail. Even down to the final wardrobe choices, every last detail has been explored and exhausted. The cast screen tested in many, many different wardrobe choices before finally arriving at the perfect look for each character. The final decisions were made in concert with the wardrobe specialist as well as the actors. Judging from the painstaking attention to detail that's gone in to set design and wardrobe, it’s safe to say that authenticity is paramount. Sarah Voon, the film’s costume designer gave us some input on Fede’s approach to wardrobe. “Fede is quite organic in the way that he works. So, he’s got a strong idea, but if you’ve got a better idea, then he is willing to go with that. Or, if something isn’t working, he will change it at the last minute.”
Evil Dead is due out April 12th. Stay tuned for more coverage as we near that release date!