The Movie Version
last time we saw what the original version of the First Massacre in
Forever Evil looked like, at least in my mind's eye. Now let's
go through the celluloid version, and see what changed, and why. If
you don't want to read the script again, just scroll past the red
First, the discovery of Holly's body goes pretty much as scripted.
Whereas I had Marc, Jay, Robert and Jeanne all in the room, in the
film, this is trimmed down to Marc and Jay, mainly because it was
a small bathroom. Also, this:
Marc looks around. The shower is still
running. The curtain has been drawn aside. Marc slowly approaches
Holly lays inside, dead eyes staring into
space. Her entrails lie snaking out into the tub, the last pink remnants
of blood sluicing into the drain.
was meant to be the first time we saw Holly's naked body. I had
wanted to turn the usual "take-off-your-clothes- and-die"
formula on its ear, and deny the audience their T-and-A before the
bloodshed, instead mixing it into one horrifying image. So they would
know this was not their father's horror movie, to rip off an old Ford
ad campaign. Instead, this would be the third time we would see Holly
nude. Roger went for tension-building, rather than the sudden shock.
JAY runs in through the hall door.
Close that door! Close it!
Jay slams the hall door shut.
How is he?
Shock. I think.
I don't blame him. Jesus.
Look. We gotta stay cool about this.
Right, right. Jesus, what could have
I think that's pretty obvious.
It is. Holly's been murdered.
There's only one person we haven't
seen, the last few minutes.
All references to Marc being in shock or in any way incapacitated
were cut. Roger felt this would undercut Marc as a hero later, if
I recall correctly; so Marc makes an incredibly swift recovery. We
go instead to:
Jay makes to open the hall door. Robert
What are you doing?
Julie's in there!
That's right - and she could have
been the one who did it!
Oh, come on!
She's the only one we didn't see!
She's the only logical suspect!
You're talking like something out
of a fucking cop show!
(shouting over them)
This isn't getting us anywhere!
The men stop in mid-struggle.
Look, we've gotta find Julie. Even
if she didn't do it, we've gotta find her so we can get out
Jeanne is silent throughout the scene; it's Marc who stops the
bickering between Jay and Robert, for the same reasons detailed above;
Jeanne sort of fades into the background.
The next scene, which involved searching the kitchen for weapons
and Marc pondering the possibility of a body in the freezer, is gone.
It didn't add that much, and time was a-wastin'. Besides, there wasn't
a freezer like that on the location.
Instead, our intrepids go into the hall to find the lights already
nonfunctional; Marc goes back to the kitchen to get a flashlight -
the party has just split up, something I was trying to avoid.
see Marc in the kitchen in a POV through a glass door, and a lightning
flash reveals Alfie, the zombie, in the reflection. This was something
else I was trying to avoid; I wanted the identity of what was doing
the killing kept secret as long as possible - in short, I didn't want
the audience to know more than Marc did. However this is a really
good horror movie moment, and fits in well with the revamped scene.
By the end of Forever Evil, however, you will be sick of POV
Also missing: the shot in the living room, where Robert chooses
the fireplace poker as a weapon, and Jay mentions the axe outside.
No loss, as we shall see.
The door slowly opens; the four advance
Now remember: no matter what, we
stick together. Marc and Holly's room first.
A bit of dialogue is moved here from later in the script, explaining
why Robert wants to search the rooms in order, rather than going straight
to Jay and Julie's room. Moving it here was a good call - it helps
the scene move faster later on.
The four burst in. Quick search: under
the bed, in closet. In contrast to the other three's bustle, Marc
drifts to the bed, where Holly's battered plush rabbit sits. He picks
up the rabbit.
Okay, nothing here. Mine and Jeanne's,
They start to leave, stopping at the door.
Marc is still staring at the rabbit.
Marc. We gotta go.
Marc drops the rabbit and follows them.
The search, as filmed, isn't much - a flashlight plays about the
room, coming to rest on Holly's plush tiger (it was a rabbit originally,
but my girlfriend at the time had a plush tiger). We then have Marc's
touching moment with the tiger. Robert announces, "Nothing here,
mine and Jeanne's next." He and Jeanne then leave Jay and Marc
in the room. The party has just split up for the second time.
It does however, allow the four to meet in the hall and Robert
to announce they found nothing. Searching the bathroom is similarly
missing, again because it was excess baggage. The actual bathroom
was physically on the other side of the house, and it would have been
next to impossible to make it look like it actually adjoined the hall.
Marc comes out of the bathroom. Everyone
looks toward the last room, at the end of the hall.
Okay. So she's got to be in there.
slowly advance on the door. Robert takes the handle....they burst
Continuing from last scene: they burst
in and stop, thunderstruck. CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal Julie, hung
by her feet from a lighting fixture. Her throat has been cut. Blood
runs down her face, but there is none anywhere else.
We're getting out of here.
Where's the blood?
Let's get to a car. Get the cops.
This room should be swimming in blood...
where the hell is it?
In the movie, as the four contemplate the door, Jeanne shrieks
because something ran across her foot (?); the flashlight beam searches
the floor, coming to rest on the door to Jay and Julie's room, just
as lights come on inside the room, not terribly scary, but interesting.
The setup with the four staring at the door is a classic horror movie
shot, and should have been used in the publicity package. Roger also
gave Jay a nice moment as he realizes he's about to burst in on his
girlfriend with a knife drawn.
the bedroom, however, there's nothing; no sign of Julie. Jay has a
melancholy moment at the window (it was for this shot I stood in the
pouring rain setting up the rain machine), and everybody returns to
the living room, which is where Julie's body is found, which is where
the script had to be changed to accomodate both the space and our
limited shooting time.
They come back into the hall. It's much
darker than it was before.
Why's it so dark? It wasn't this
Is the power off?
No, look, the lights are still on
in the living room.
Oh no....no no no....
Let's go, let's go, let's go. Stay
together. Be real careful.
They advance slowly down the hall, bunching
as close together as humanly possible.
They are halfway down the hall when Jay
lets out a yell as his feet are pulled out from under him. Marc whirls
around. Jay is being pulled, feet first, back down the hall, into
Marc jumps toward him, falls short, scrambles
the distance and grabs Jay's hand. They are both dragged a couple
of feet, then stop as Robert grabs Marc's feet. Robert braces his
foot in a doorway; Jeanne wraps her arms around Robert's chest, pulling
also. A tug of war ensues.
The darkness spreads down Jay's body like
liquid, as he begins to scream.
There is a sudden release of tension, causing
Robert and Jeanne to fall backward, Marc scooting back on the floor.
JAY'S SCREAM RECEDES, as if over a distance. Mystified, Marc holds
up his hand. Jay's hand, raggedly chopped off at the wrist, is still
locked on his.
Jeanne stifles a scream.
Whimpering, Marc tries to wrench the severed
hand off his, squeezing the last few drops of blood out of the stump.
It finally comes off and Marc hurls it, down the hall, into the darkness.
There is a pause - then slitted, glowing
red eyes appear in the darkness. A LOW GROWLING is heard.
The remaining three scramble backwards
out of the hall, into the living room.
Robert's "We're getting out of here" speech still followed
the discovery of Julie's body, as does Marc's wondering where all
the blood went. During this, a low-slung POV hurtles down the hall
toward Jay's feet, and Jay is dragged back out through the hall door.
There is no flowing darkness (and no money for any). Instead, we see
Jay, apparently lying on the floor screaming, as down the hall are
two enormous red eyes veiled in smoke. They are pretty apparently
spotlights, and we referred to them as the Buick From Hell. It looked
pretty damned impressive in real life. Jay still gets dragged off
to some unknown fate, but he keeps both his hands.
Once more, Jeanne is not allowed to participate. Robert tells
her to "Get back!" when she tries to help.
Marc, the last one in, slams the hall door
shut. Something large smashes into the door, nearly knocking him off
his feet. Desperately, Marc digs in, trying to hold the door against
Meantime, Robert and Jeanne have grabbed
the sofa and are rushing it toward the hall door.
At the last moment, Marc dives over the
sofa, and it smashes against the door. The three then hold the couch
against the door. Incredibly, the door opens an inch, then two, as
the GROWLING increases in volume and violence. Fog seeps in through
the crack in the door. Suddenly, the door slams shut and the GROWLING
STOPS. The three stay in place for a moment, looking at each other.
Then they begin to back slowly away.
Where is it? Where did it go?
Unnoticed by either of them, Jeanne is
backing up to a window...
Back? Back where?
Bedrooms, maybe outside, I don't
know. We have to...JEANNE! GET AWAY FROM....
The window explodes behind Jeanne and something
long and greenish-black wraps itself Jeanne's waist, hauling her out.
Her hands shoot out to the sides of the window, stopping her.
Robert and Marc freeze a moment, then run
Jeanne's hands, cut by glass, give way,
and with a wail of despair, she is pulled into the night. Her SCREAM
is suddenly cut short, replaced by SICK, WET RIPPING NOISES.
Jeanne was earlier told to get away so she could back up to a
glass door and get pulled out. Roger wanted everything to happen at
once, because he found that scarier. It also made it easier to stage,
edit, and get everything shot in our limited time (there is no such
thing as enough time when making a movie). I was working toward
escalating hopelessness and despair; the party stuck together, and
it didn't do them any good... the scene as it stands now, is something
of a whirlwind nightmare which no one could have withstood. Different
approaches, same results.
long and greenish-black wraps itself around Jeanne's waist"...
this was supposed to be the zombie's arm. I was still playing it close
to the vest. Roger took this to mean some sort of tree limb, and that
is what you see drag Jeanne to her death. To both our detriments,
this is seen as an Evil Dead rip-off... guess I should have
seen the movie more than once.
There was supposed to be a stop-motion shot here, a short, shadowy
sequence where Jeanne is ripped limb from limb by a tree, but the
stop-motion guy flaked out on us. Roger's done more than a little
stop-motion in his time, but was already wearing more hats than Bartholomew
Cubbins. There simply was not enough time for him to do that, too.
He hears a door open. He whirls around,
and sees Robert running out the front door.
EXT CABIN NIGHT
Marc runs out. The rain is beginning to
die out, but there is still plenty of thunder and lightning.
Robert!!! Don't leave me alone!
There's no answer. Marc runs around the
At the back of the cabin is the archetypal
chopping block, complete with stack of firewood and axe. Marc grabs
the axe, and almost feels better for a moment. He turns to run toward
the cars, but trips over something. He rises, and comes face-to-face
Lightning flashes. It's not Robert. It's
Robert's head, left on a stump for him to find.
Lightning flashes again, revealing what
Marc tripped over. It's Robert's still-twitching body.
Marc sucks in his breath to scream, but
stops as lightning flashes again. His eyes become too wild, and he
reaches for the head.
Good thing I found you, Robert. I'll
get us out of here.
He picks up the head, cradling it in his
arms like a baby.
Yeah, don't worry. I'll get us out.
He runs into the woods with the head.
Marc runs through the rain, through the
trees. He stops, leaning against a tree, breathing heavily.
Out. Get us... out. Out.
Lightning flashes, and Marc suddenly realizes
what he's carrying. He screams, drops the head, and runs into the
night, still screaming.
Marc's cry of "Don't leave me alone!" still rates with
me as one of the most human lines I have ever come up with.
Still, this weakness did not jibe with Roger's view of a hero, so
it went. Besides, in the new everything-happens-at-once massacre,
Marc is having a knife fight with the Buick From Hell, and then does
the holding-the-door-against-the- hammering bit (There wasn't even
a door frame in the opening to the hall - we added it. You can see
the door buckle under Red's enthusiastic performance). After it leaves,
Marc sees Julie's body again, and runs out the door, to his car. Again,
remember, there is no axe, so no journey to the woodpile to find Robert's
Instead, Marc finds the noggin in the back seat of his car, which
is even more unnerving. Unfortunately, this scene is so dimly lit,
you can't really tell what is going on. Oh, well.
Marc's POV as he runs, brushing past branches.
One of the branches isn't a branch: it's an arm.
A hand grabs Marc's throat, stopping him.
Marc is slammed against a tree, choking.
The hand slowly lifts him up, off the ground as his feet kick futilely.
The head of his assailant can be dimly
seen, in the dark of the woods. Pinpoints of red appear where the
eyes should be.
Marc desperately grabs for the thing's
head, sinking his thumbs deep into both eyes, ruining them. The thing
drops him, howling in pain.
Gasping for air, Marc scrambles up and
runs and runs.
gets out of his car, and seeing the Buick From Hell in the woods,
makes a run for it, right into Alfie's outstretched hand. We get a
pretty good look at Alfie here. Marc only ruins one eye, at the insistence
of J.C., who wanted the expression that one eye would allow the makeup
later in the movie. Another good call.
The rest of the segment is pretty much as written; Marc runs to the
highway and gets hit by a car.
is better? I don't know, and never will. I'm still biased toward my
version, of course, but chances are, there are parts of both
that are worthy, and parts that are crap. Unless I ever get to make
a sequel-that's-a-remake like Evil Dead II*,
no one will ever know.
How They Dood It