Thursday, February 10, 2011

Evil Dead: How I brought the most ferocious orginal film to Maine

In the late winter of 2010 I checked out Bruce Campbell’s website for any news and appearance updates, a site I check weekly.  I was exceptionally excited to discover that Grindhouse Releasing had manufactured a new print of Evil Dead and that it was making the rounds to local cinemas.

I am a HUGE movie fan; in fact it is accurate to say that I like movies better than TV Shows.  I love going to the theater on seeing movies as they were made to be seen, on the big screen.  When I see a movie trailer I make an immediate decision on whether I going to watch it or not, and then if I want to see it on DVD or on the big screen.

Evil Dead is a movie that I have ALWAYS wanted to see on the big screen and never had the opportunity to due to being born in 1979.  Well now was my opportunity, and I wasn’t going to miss it.

Checking the list, and because of work, I decided that I would hit the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA where they would be screening it July 9th – 11th.  It became an obsession over the next several months checking the website for updates on screening times, can I pre-buy tickets, and ect.  I also noticed that during several special screenings the Brattle will have appearances by either actors, directors, or anyone involved in the movie for a discussion at a particular screening.  Are they going to have one for Evil Dead?  No they didn’t but at the time the possibility was there. 

As the date drew near things started to fall apart and come crashing down around me.  First of all, they only had screenings at midnight the 9th & 10th and a 10pm screening on the 11th.  I live in Maine, 334 miles round trip from the Brattle Theater.  These show times were not going to work out for me and my friends to be able to make the trip down.

The thought of being so close to fulfilling a lifelong dream and being denied was infuriating!


So I e-mailed Grindhouse Releasing explaining my dilemma and asking what a local theater would need to do to get the print for a screening.  I heard back from David Szulkin of Grindhouse almost immediately and armed with the info I needed contacted Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville, Maine.

Railroad Square is my local art house style theater only 30 miles from home.  It is also home to the Maine International Film Festival which is in its 13th year this year.  The owner felt that Evil Dead just wouldn’t draw at the theater and that he would need to sell a minimum of 100 tickets over 2 shows to break even.  He told me that if I could guarantee a pre-sale of 100 tickets then he would bring it in. 

I tried, and I had A LOT of people interested, but without a date to tell people no one wanted to commit to something that might happen.  Waterville is a college town pick a date in the fall and Evil Dead will sell out based on that alone.  But he wouldn’t take the chance, what a load of crap!  

The guys at Grindhouse were supportive and felt the same I did. 

Not to be deterred I contact no less then a dozen independent theaters across the state and was either told they were not interested or never got a reply.  Finally David Scott of Patriot Cinemas, owners of a half dozen theaters including the Nickelodeon in Portland, ME was interested.  In fact, it seems he wasn’t even aware that the movie was available. 

A few more e-mails later between myself and the 2 David’s resulted in The Nick bringing in Evil Dead for 2 screenings on Thursday September 23rd!  Finally, after what seemed like an eternity the 23rd rolled around.  I traveled down to the Nick with my pal John and his sister and we met a couple more friends for dinner.  We met about a dozen more acquaintances at The Nick itself for the film. 

We bought tickets in advance and were glad we did as the show was SOLD OUT for the first screening and they were turning people away.  As we were coming out the line for the second was huge!  I found out later that it was almost another sell out.  Either way it did well enough that The Nick held it over the following week on the 30th for another 2 screenings.  According to friends they did extremely well that night too.  I guess the guy at
Railroad Square
was dead on with his assumptions.   

We got into our seats and the projector kicked on.  I don’t know about you guys, but I love the sound the projector rolling, there is just something about it.  As the awesome retro style commercials and trailers for other Grindhouse Releasing films rolled I couldn’t help but feel vindicated!  After months of being excited then disappointed and working hard to try to convince someone to show this movie it was finally happening.  A lifelong dream was coming true.  Most of all, I couldn’t honestly say that I made this happen!

The movie was, of course, awesome and it was quite an experience to say the least.  Even though I knew there was no PS we still stayed until the credit had stopped. 

I e-mailed both David Scott and David Szulkin after thanking them and talking about the experience in general.  A few weeks later The Nick screened another Grindhouse Release entitled Maniac!.  A very gruesome horror flick that came out in 1981.  That too was right up my alley.


My experience with the 2 guys I e-mail from Grindhouse Releasing was awesome!  Same with David Scott from Patriot Cinemas.  Like me they all love movies and are excited to talk about them.  I have since then attended a few events at The Nick and keep checking Grindhouse’s website for upcoming releases. 

1 comment:

  1. Cool! Nice story. Glad you got to see it on the big screen!

    ReplyDelete