**Contains minor spoilers**
Hail to the Deadites is a labour of love that spotlights the fandom and appreciation for Sam Raimi’s cult classic franchise, The Evil Dead (1981) and its sequels, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992). The Bruce Campbell star vehicle was a ground-breaking cornerstone of independent horror cinema and has grown a strong adoration all around the world following its initial release in the early 1980’s.
Watching the Evil Dead movies is a right of passage in any horror fan’s life which is chronicled in this heart-warming documentary as director Steve Villeneuve presents a personal insight into the impact the films have had on the fans lives in varying ways.
The documentary touches on the content of the film but its prime focus is on what the movies mean to the self-confessed superfans and why the franchise became such an important part of their lives.
As this is an independently funded film it isn’t illustrated by snippets of the movies themselves but features a mix of live action re-creations and Lee Hardcastle’s marvellous stop-motion animation re-imaginations. These aspects promote the strong influence the franchise has had across the decades on its fans, its cult classic status, and its iconic position in horror movie history.
The project began when director Steve Villeneuve decided to merge his passion for the Evil Dead movies with indie filmmaking. As a collector of Evil Dead memorabilia himself, he wanted to touch base with others who share his appreciation for the films which proved that creativity can be achieved on a shoe-string budget. Based in Montreal, Canada, Villeneuve travels across the US, heading to renowned fan conventions such as Horror Hound and Wizard World to meet like-minded fans, dedicated cosplayers, and the stars of the movies themselves including the grooviest man in horror, Bruce Campbell.
It’s an incredible journey of how three bonkers movies with lashings of gore and outlandish set pieces has connected people and changed their lives.
We are treated to the perspectives of the stars themselves in how awestruck they were in finding out after all these years, that the micro-budget horror movie they made in the 70’s is still beloved across the globe.
It is clear that the cast and crew enjoy meeting the fans as much as the fans love the opportunity to meet them. One of the film’s most touching moments is when FX artist Tom Sullivan is involved in a marriage proposal of two fans then subsequently arranged to do
something special for their wedding. Moments like these are priceless for people and will remain with them throughout their lives.
The documentary contains several emotional moments, namely surrounding the incredible gestures that Bruce Campbell has given back to the fans. He comes across as compassionate, kind, and down to earth with a fiercely honest approach. Bruce Campbell is a horror star who gives back to the fans and ensures that he leaves them with memorable moments at meet and greets with him.
Steve Villeneuve has done an exceptional job in creating this documentary about fan culture and the human side to the crazy world of horror movies. Each individual’s story is inspiring leaving something positive to take away at the end.
Often, horror fans are misjudged for either their appearance or interest in unconventional movies as far as the mainstream is concerned, Hail to the Deadites counteracts these misconceptions as it follows kind-hearted, dedicated people who just happen to love a film that delights in gory mayhem!
Hail to the Deadites celebrates horror fandom in all its gory glory and is an unmissable addition to the Frightfest 2020 lineup.
Read Five FrightFest Facts From Steve Villeneuve director of Hail to the Deadites HERE