Sequels and prequels. Remakes and reimagings. Reboots and spin-offs. It seems that Hollywood is only creative anymore when it comes to finding new names to describe old movies made anew. Some new entries in long-running franchises even defy these categorizations, or fit under multiple headings (Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is a case in point).
The various parts of the Evil Dead horror franchise also have a muddy lineage. We’re not even talking about the video games, comic books, stage musical and television series that Ash and his adventures spawned, just the movies. Three decades after its original release, some fans are still debating whether 1987’s Evil Dead II was a sequel or a remake. (Luckily, Bruce Campbell himself seems to have put that argument to rest by convincingly dubbing it a requel). When the fourth feature film came out in 2013, things didn’t get any clearer (that movie’s Wikipedia page calls it both a “soft reboot” and a continuation of the original trilogy).
Film student Gil Vanroy refuses to get bogged down in the semantics of the discussion. Instead, he has made an epic mash-up video essay that shows just how little those categories in Hollywood’s taxonomy of unoriginality differ. He has taken Sam Raimi’s first two movies and mashed them together with Fede Alvarez’ most recent iteration. Vanroy goes through ten of the most significant plot elements that feature in all three movies. Remake or sequel, reboot or not: the footage is so similar that this mash-up not once breaks continuity.
This video essay includes clips and music from:
The Evil Dead [feature film] Dir. Sam Raimi. Renaissance Pictures, USA, 1981. 85 mins.
Evil Dead II [feature film] Dir. Sam Raimi. Renaissance Pictures et al., USA, 1987. 84 mins.
Evil Dead [feature film] Dir. Fede Alvarez. Ghost House Pictures et al., USA, 2013. 91 mins.