John Greenleaf Whittier 9 p.m., Nov. 22
Sam Raimi and the Raping Tree
Hey kids! Did you know that the director of Spider-Man — no, not that Spider-Man, the first one, with Tobey and Kirsten — got his start with a little low-budget horror-gore film called The Evil Dead? It's true! And of course, the most famous/awful part of that film is where the girl gets raped by a bunch of vines and branches.
Looking back on the film, Raimi had some regrets about that scene (the conversation starts at about 2:13):
Interviewer: "Do you regret putting it in?" Raimi: "I do. I do." Interviewer: "On what grounds?" Raimi: "Well, I think it was unnecessarily gratuitous and a little too brutal. And finally because people were offended in a way that I didn't...my goal is not to offend people. It is to entertain, thrill, scare...make them laugh but not to offend them. But, you know, I know that a lot of nineteen year olds that are stealing cars and murdering people. Not to make that comparison but I think my judgement was a little wrong at that time."
"At that time." So no surprise that when Raimi & Co. did a sort-of remake of the original with Evil Dead 2, they stopped the tree assault scene a few twigs short of a full-on rape. But of course, times change, don't they? Which may be why, now that Raimi is producing a remake, tree rape is still very much on the menu. From an interview with new director Fede Alvarez over at i09:
[What about the raping tree?]
Fede Alvarez: This is not a classic being remade by a big studio, it's still his film. It's the guys from the original. I didn't write one scene and [the producer] asked "where's my raping tree?" So types on the table and whistles raping scene, there you go. But it has to be way more terrible than the original.
So, from gratuitous and brutal to not terrible enough for the remake. Times do change. I kind of love the bracketed "the producer" in that quote. The producers are listed as Raimi, longtime Raimi production partner Robert G. Tapert, and longtime Raimi star Bruce Campbell. Wonder which one asked for the rape to be put back in?
Oh, and hey - it's even featured in the teaser!