99. Sam Raimi
SPIDER-MAN, THE EVIL DEAD, A SIMPLE PLAN, DARKMAN
Michigan’s own Sam Raimi got his start making Super-8 films with his family and friends, and in some way has never stopped. Even his later films have the same childlike energy as someone who’s first getting their hands on a camera. His first film was the ultra-low budget unrelenting gorefest, The Evil Dead, which began shooting in the late 70s but not released until 1983. The film, involving demon possession of college kids at a cabin in the woods, is a splatter fan’s dream come true as blood literally runs down the screen at various points. This led to two sequels, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992). All three films starred Raimi’s childhood friend Bruce Campbell and the two have worked on and off together since. In between the two Evil Dead sequels, Raimi made his first foray into the superhero genre with the horror-inspired Darkman (1990). The film employs the same shock filming techniques as the others, but this time with a (slightly) larger budget and studio backing. Though he made some varied and interesting films in the 90s, it was his work on Darkman and The Evil Dead saga that made him the perfect candidate to helm the Spider-Man trilogy. It’s clear watching these films that, though it’s the work of a much more experienced director, he’s still the same eager geek at heart. Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 are masterpieces in the genre and although Spider-Man 3 pales in comparison, putting it mildly, they all are among the best examples of effectively transposing a comic book into a movie without simply making it panel for panel. Raimi returned to his shock comedy-horror roots in 2009 with the EC Comics-inspired Drag Me to Hell, a movie that proved Raimi had not lost his touch or his edge.
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