Writer/director Fede Alvarez recently spoke with Phoenix Movie Examiner about his new horror flick “Evil Dead.”
In “Evil Dead,” which opens Friday, April 5 at movie theaters throughout the Valley, five friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.
Question: First of all, I can talk until I am blue in the face about why I love horror movies as a film fan. But why do you love horror movies as a filmmaker?
Answer: It is one of the few genres that taps into the a visceral and primal feelings of human beings. Only really good comedies and really good horror movies get a verbal response out of the audience. People will scream. People will laugh. When grown-ups watch these movies, they know it is not real. But they still cover their faces and jump out of their seats. It is amazing that a movie can send you into such a primal state of mind where you are in survival mode. You cover your eyes and you jump because your body thinks it is being attacked and it is trying to protect itself. Of course, you are in a theater so nothing is going to happen to you. But you still cannot control it. It is a genre that really takes control of the audience and makes you do things that you would never do. No other experience can do that – except for maybe a roller coaster. But, as a director, there is nothing more fun than seeing an audience screaming and jumping. You are the ultimate puppet master, controlling the emotions of the audience.
Q: I need to congratulate you on the spectacular special effects in this film. Can you tell me why it was so important to you that all of said special effects be practical as opposed to CGI?
A: My main goal was always to make a very scary movie. So every decision that I made was with that frame of mind. if you think about it, you can have the best CGI but you can always tell that it is CGI. Your brain can spot that is not real even though you think it looks cool. Your brain knows the truth so you don’t jump and you don’t scream. It was very important for me to expose the audience to real elements. We also didn’t want the movie to get old too fast. The original movies are still being watched to this day. I hope that for my movie, as well. I want my movie to stand the test of time. Even if you have the best CGI ever, it is going to get old. “Avatar” was mind-blowing when it came out and even that is already looking weird. So I am proud that we managed to get away with being 100 percent CGI-free.
Q: What did this movie teach you about the filmmaking craft?
A: I always say that I am a big fan of films but I am an even bigger fan of the filmmaking craft. How do you build dreams – these movies that mean so much to so many people? How do you make those illusions? So I try to involve myself in every aspect. I played piano on the soundtrack of this film, I made the crawl credits on my computer, etc. I just enjoy so much playing with those things. So making this movie taught me so much more about those things – particularly in the makeup and practical effects departments. In another life, I would love to be the art guy – a production designer or a maybe even a composer. So I learned so much about the craft of filmmaking while making this movie.
Q: And what did this movie teach you about yourself?
A: I also learned that I could do it because, at one point, I thought I couldn’t. I thought that Hollywood was just for geniuses and that directors come from three generations of directors. I was worried that I was not up to the challenge of making a movie. Then realized that all a director has to do is know what he wants to do. It’s very simple. You don’t need to know every aspect of the technical details. You just need to have a core vision of whatever story you are telling. So I was proud that I managed to make a film in the industry as a completely outsider from the industry. Being from Uruguay, I hope that this will inspire a lot of people. I think that was the best part of making the whole movie – being able to show that it can happen. You can be a from a place like Uruguay and, if you just make stuff, you will eventually get your break.
Q: Finally, rumor has it that you are already writing the sequel’s screenplay. Meanwhile, Sam Raimi has said that he wants to make another direct sequel to his original trilogy. Can two parallel universes truly exist at the same time?
A: It would be great to have these two things going on at same time. I want do another “Evil Dead.” Right now I’m just attached as a writer but, who knows, I may end up the director. And Sam wants to do another “Army of Darkness” with Bruce [Campbell]. Then, eventually, I hope that we can combine everything into one movie. We can combine the whole universe into one final glorious movie. That would be awesome.