Harry begs, 'DRAG ME TO HELL again Mr Raimi... PLEASE! PLEASE!'
If your soul was aching tonight... if you felt an emptiness and a sad sad feeling of missing out terribly on life... It was because you were not among the 1200 screaming, shrieking, horror crazed SXSW victims of Sam Raimi's Horror Master Class called DRAG ME TO HELL at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Tx.
I. Wow. I had a day of wonderful film today. I met directors. I think I spent an hour just shooting the shit with Raimi at some point today. But that's all gone now. In the birthing hours of Monday, March 16th, 2009 Sam Raimi was backstage... so nervous looking that I thought he was going to vomit. He positively looked sick. He was pacing back and forth - his brother, Ivan was reassuring him that it'd be fine. His agent, producing partners and least importantly me. I was backstage behind the Paramount's silver screen looking out at an audience hoping and praying that the would not go softly into the night. They all wanted Sam Raimi to drag them to hell.
This was the first time that Austin has brought Sam Raimi to town - and the city was out in force. There were people that drove great distances, flew vast distances, just in the hopes of seeing a new Sam Raimi horror film. Quint's review dared to give us all hope. Dared to conjure the trembling prayers from our lips to deadite demons from a tome wrapped in human flesh - that we... the 1200 souls in the Paramount Theater. A theater that screened a green tinted print of FRANKENSTIEN in 1931. A theater that the Marx Brothers performed live vaudville to a hopelessly hick town over 7 decades ago.
But backstage - everyone, myself included, were trying to calm Sam's nerves. I told him, "Hey - at least you're not a fat cripple in a wheelchair about to be upstaged by a legend!" Sam laughed.
Right now... as I sit here at home - it is inconceivable that Sam had even the slightest of doubts about the portal that he was about to open up at the Paramount Theater.
This isn't a debatable film experience. There is no question about what happened tonight. This wasn't a nostalgic affair. There's no shrugged shoulders or indifferent souls that exited that theater tonight. What we all experienced was a resounding thunderous splitting of the Earth around us experience tonight. There was no spattering of applause, no isolated screams... this wasn't just me acting like a ninny, but 1200 hundred people screaming, shrieking and being shown for the namby pamby bitches that we were in the face of DRAG ME TO HELL!
Sam told me that the tone he was aiming for was a mixture of EVIL DEAD 1 and EVIL DEAD 2. Hell Yeah! That's a bold thing to claim.
What we saw tonight was a masterpiece of American Horror to the Planet Earth!
There was a sign, early in the film that the powers of darkness were lining up behind Sam Raimi and his demon curse to entertain the audience. After our heroine rejects the old gypsy woman's pleas to save her home. After she's been on her knees, humiliating herself, pleading endlessly with Alison Lohman to take pity... a look enters the pleading woman's eyes. It is the moment where she will beg no more. At this moment, the dark spirits that live in the inky top corners of this legendary venue... they sent a winged terror as a sign. A single BAT flew two passes in front of the screen - and then vanished. Immediately replaced by onscreen scary crazy fucked up awesome brilliantly insane terrors.
As we were leaving - People throughout the PARAMOUNT were exclaiming phrases like, "I've never screamed in terror at a movie in my life until tonight!" And these exclamations were legion. As the final moment of the film concluded - It was a sonic assault of cheers, screams, hoots & hollars and there was this swoop of wind as people leapt from their seats to signal approval of the highest degree. THIS WAS SAM RAIMI and we were all his bitches tonight!
And the film isn't even done. The awesome sound mix that I can only pretend to experience - was not in play. There's CG effects no where near completion in the film... but even at their roughest - they caused women and Massawyrm to piss themselves in panic!
This was an unveiling of a juggernaut of entertainment. This film has to be the single most satisfying film experience I've had - maybe ever. First - I got to introduce Sam Raimi to 1200 people screaming to be satisfied. But most importantly - Sam delivered with every trick he has to play.
This is Sam Raimi distilling the joyous satisfaction and thrills from his own first two EVIL DEAD films - and applying it to aspects from films like CURSE OF THE DEMON & THE WOLFMAN delivered with the awesome power and force of a modern Raimi. There's shit in this movie that would make Satan take notes! That the Marquis De Sade would admire. Sam violates sacred ground with glee and unapologetic happiness. This is the fucking dream of what anyone could possibly hope a new Sam Raimi film would be like.
This was... my happy place. Watching hardened horror cynics peeking through fingers. Yoko cowering beneath my jacket - as if that leather coat would give even a second's delay to the dark ones this film was unleashing.
Sam is making SPIDER-MAN 4 next. But if I may. Sam - Please - Please - Please - Please MORE HORROR LIKE YOU DO!
When you see this film - take EVERYONE YOU'VE EVER ENJOYED A HORROR FILM WITH - WITH YOU! This is not a film to see alone. This is a film that needs a support group. That cries for your friends to share.
This was FILM GEEK HEAVEN, which was Raimi's vision of HELL!
A more coherent review when I'm capable will be appearing