Tuesday, August 26, 2014

RR Evil Dead The Musical

What if I told you the best EVIL DEAD is not a movie... but a musical?

I originally was prepared to dislike it... and it has since become one of my all-time favorite oddities of the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness series!

Title: Evil Dead: The Musical 
Music by George Reinblatt, Christopher Bond, Frank Cipolla & Melissa Morris
Original release date 2003/07
Genre Musical

There's been a big resurgence of musicals in the last few years. If the likes of Glee and a return of musical episodes on a lot of fan-favorite shows are any indication, people have finally accepted back and embraced the overall silliness but fun spirit of musicals back in our pop culture.

There's also been a huge increase of musical adaptations of a ton of popular franchises/movies nowadays, everything's been getting turned into a musical at some point, from the 1988 cult comedy Big to The Addams Family! Including a few superhero comics/films, which tend to require million dollar blockbuster films usually for their huge share of special effects to more or less success - such as the famous rock musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, with composed by U2's Bono no less!

Speaking of vaguely Sam Raimi stuff, around the same time another films Raimi worked on got a similar treatment. His 1980s horror cult classic, Evil Dead! And would you expect it? This little off-Broadway project received so much attention it became just as big as the films after which it's based on!

Evil Dead: The Musical was originally a small project done by a lot of very dedicated fans, approved by both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell himself. Originally played in Toroton in 2003.

They played it first on a much bigger proper scene at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal in 2004. After which it became a huge hit.

The music was composed by George Reinblatt, Christopher Bond, Frank Cipolla & Melissa Morris, with Reinblatt both overseeing the entire project and writing the lyrics. It originally starred Ryan Ward as a surprising good and fitting Ashley Williams. This rock musical is mostly based on both the original Evil Dead 1 & 2, with several elements from Army of Darkness thrown in the mix for good measure (such as iconic scenes, like the BOOM-STICK!, and lots of catchphrases from it).

Following Montreal, the show was brought on an official off-Broadway tour run which would last through 2006, and it has since then been played in many other places in the world including a big American tour this year (2014), and several "officially approved" regional adaptations of the show by local cast, performed all over the world to just as huge high praise.

The "story" as it is what one might expect and what every Evil Dead fan knows by heart by now.

Five college students go in an abandoned cabin for the weekend, within the woods. When accidentally they read a passage from the book of the dead freeing Deadites to take over them one by one... Only here all our protagonists and demons sing along and dance to convey the story!

The musical is divided into two acts. The first one is mostly contained to the original ED film. It begins with the arrival of our heroes in the "Cabin in the Woods", our part-time S-Mart employee/hero, his girlfriend Linda, his sister Cheryl, his best friend Scott and Shelly, a girl Scott "picked up drunk at a bar three days ago". Then the motivation of our hero is established as they sing how Ash met Linda, both working as "Housewares Employees". Once Cheryl is contaminated, she starts spreading evil as Ash and Scott ask "What the Fuck Was That?". A Kandarian Moose hanging on the wall tries to have Ash "Join Us".

Once Ash survives all this and turns into the slasher-killer he is, the musical gets full-on ED2. This second act contain a lot of songs by the demons. There's a lot more humor in this part, my favorite bit being "All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by kandarian Demons" (illustrated above). And after a kickass Rocky Horror Picture Show tribute in "Do the Necronomicon", it's time for the epic finale!

And let's not forget the great "Boomstick"! "Good...Bad..I'm The Guy With The Gun!~"

Like in a proper Evil Dead film, Ash still delivers plenty of one liners (and almost all his classic lines here). Only.. it's in the form of songs here, in pure musical tradition!

There's some clever twists and turns to even surprise any hardcover ED fan. Sure, they took some creative liberties with the overall plot, mixing all three films together and shaking up the order of a few sequences.

Onto the only available home release of this musical now - the CD!

The disc/digital audio release features one of the earlier performances, which means the original cast recording, the only one taped. Which was made in December 2006 and then released in 2007.

It's a great recording, if you don't see this live you're only really missing the grea choreography and the chance to be in the famous "splatter zone" where all the fake blood is spread!

A really good musical, if not probably the best to have come out in ages.

There's lots of adult innuendos, so like the movies this is obviously meant for a mature audience only (despite all of this being in the form of singing). There's lots of R-Rated dialogues and humor, and a ton of F-bombs!!

Overall, the Evil Dead Musical turned out to be a huge hit. A fantastic horror/musical mashup which ended up opening the door to a whole subgenre of its own, horror musicals!

It's really fun and features some fantastic songs!

It's a really good musical, really worth to listen to even if you're not fan of these musicals usually. It's already a classic, with lots of fun memorable songs. This is also probably the first and really only time people ever took the occasion to actually flesh out some of the other characters beside Ash, such as Linda. And through songs!

It's really fun to listen to, and only gets better and funnier over the time. It's an all around brilliant adaptation, with great solid and clever writing, and catchy tunes.

Listening to it, as opposed to watching it live, you're only really missing watching the blood spurting all over Ash's face.

This comes Highly Recommended! Something every fan should check out at least once! Specially if like me you love these movies. It even went through a revival in 2007, and a second one more recently, still playing at the moment! You can check out the official website. They were able to still retain the rights for any productions all over the world, a page over there lists all the plays.

Sadly, there's never been official DVD release. There's a few bootlegs of a couple of local plays, but nothing with the original cast to my knowledge...

It got such a huge reception at the time that it went on inspiring many more horror-to-musical adaptations from Re-Animator to many more!

In fact, there's been a few rumors of an actual movie adaption of this horror movie-turned-musical for a really long time. Story goes, at the height of the original tour people thought a movie would be coming out from either George Reinblatt or even Sam Raimi himself. Rumors said Raimi had given the okay to producer Don Carmody for a movie version of the musical, in 3D, with the original crew, cast and choreographers. But ultimately it all turned out to be only wishful thinking on the part of the fans, as all this turned out to be fake... It's really sad nothing like that happened, since I personally truly believe this would have been a much better tribute to Evil Dead/Army of Darkness than what the straightforward remake played dreadfully serious turned out to be like...

If anything this successful musical helped keep the Evil Dead franchise alive, since no new movies were planned these last few years. 


I give it:
3 / 3 Tempos!

You can find several filmed performances of local Evil Dead Musical plays!

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