The Bad Movie Report

Making A Bad Movie:
My Personal Nightmare


The Movie Version

Okay, so 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 text.

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 the shower.

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 happened?


I think that's pretty obvious.


It is. Holly's been murdered.


But who...?


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 stops him.


What are you doing?


Jay, think!


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 of here.

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. Ooh, scary.We 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 shots.

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 cautiously.


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, next.

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.

Meet the Cannon Fodder!They slowly advance on the door. Robert takes the handle....they burst in...


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.


Oh God.


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.

Not scary.Kinda scary, eh?Inside 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 dark before.


Oh, no.....


Is the power off?


No, look, the lights are still on in the living room.


Oh 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 the darkness.



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 BUICK FROM HELL!  AAAAAAAAAAAA!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 the battering.

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 toward her.

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.

Yep.  Scary."Something 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.


Oh no....

He hears a door open. He whirls around, and sees Robert running out the front door.


Robert? NO!


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 house.

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 with Robert.

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 head.

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.

Marc vs. Alfie - Only On Pay-Per-View!Marc 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.

hich version 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