When is the first time you encountered The Evil Dead? Was it the terrifying original set in a cabin in the woods? Or was it the more comedic fantastical version in a medieval world? Were you scared or were you delighted? Hail to the Deadites recounts several stories of Evil Dead fans, known here as Deadites. The documentary chronicles accounts from fans all over the world who are united in their love of Ash, Kandarian collectibles, chainsaw hands, and boomsticks. Hail to the Deadites is a love letter from fans to fans and shows how fandoms create communities and bring people together.
Directed by Steve Villeneuve and co-written by Villeneuve and Andre Farant, we meet fans who save up their earnings for a chance to meet the stars of The Evil Dead and find like-minded individuals. The love for the films is shown through various personal endeavors. Some fans build shrines, housing valuable collectibles and replicas off the film set. Some fans build websites, and some cosplay. Hail to the Deadites exhibits some remarkable work by fans. The Evil Dead Musical is an amazing feat and has amassed cult popularity. In between interviews, illustrations, animations, and short films, mark the documentary. The love of the fanbase emanates throughout the film. The most remarkable facet of this documentary is how it shows how The Evil Dead loves its fans back.
The entire cast of The Evil Dead welcome guests at panels. Bruce Campbell takes an active role in mingling with audiences. It’s not proven, but alluded to that Campbell himself may have even had a hand in helping a young cosplayer make his way to a convention. A particularly amazing story, is when Tom Sullivan, who was in charge of special effects on The Evil Dead, took part in the marriage proposal between two super fans. The love and appreciation of the actors and creators is really wonderful because it shows how being a fan pays off.
Hail to the Deadites is also very truthful in its depiction of fanbases. Fanbases are great for building communities over a shared love, but the internet has shown us all too often that fandom can be a pretty toxic place. The documentary meets Bri Cummings, the winner of the “Ultimate Evil Dead Fan Contest Winner.” The documentary looks at how sometimes fans are not very accepting of one another especially when gender is involved.
Hail to the Deadites shows the diversity among fans and how easily the excitement of a shared love can bridge people together. Fans work to make this love part of their lifestyle and it is shown in some truly wonderful and even moving stories. Hail to the Deadites is mainly for Evil Dead fans, but it will speak to anyone who has had a devotion to some work, film, band, or actor. This documentary will touch Deadites in their gory oozing hearts because it was made by Deadites.
Hail to the Deadites makes is playing at the Fantasia International Film Festival.
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