Director – Steve Villeneuve (Stories of a Gravedigger, Under the Scares)
Starring – Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead, Bubba Ho-Tep), Betsy Baker (American Horror Story, Brutal Massacre: A Comedy), and Dan Hicks (Porkchop, Evil Dead II)
Release Date – 2020
Rating – 3/5
Tom Savini’s Night of the Living Dead is the film that sparked my life long love of horror but The Evil Dead trilogy was my first obsession. I had already seen Evil Dead II when I was little before my mom left but it wasn’t until I had picked up Army of Darkness that I fell in love with the trilogy and the character of Ash. I went on the hunt that summer and snagged both Evil Dead films on tape and a few years later I upgraded them to DVD. I’ve watched them more times than I can count and I’ve met some pretty cool people online through various fan pages and message boards.
A few days ago Scream Factory sent over a press release for the documentary Hail to the Deadites which follows hardcore fans of the series and what they love about the film so much. I shared the article on the site and a few days later I was sent a link to check it out for review. I want to thank Scream Factory for allowing Horror Society early access to the film!
**Spoiler Alert** The documentary follows fans of the Evil Dead trilogy as they talk about when they first saw the films along with how it has impacted them from that day forward. **Spoiler Alert**
I love documentaries but I’ve learned over the years that I enjoy documentaries about certain subject and I greatly enjoy when the documentary is informative or educational. In recent years I’ve found myself going out of the way to check out horror docs and the cryptozoological and paranormal docs from Small Town Monsters because I learn something. With that being said, I’m not fond of the docs that are centered around fans. They do have some entertainment value but I often find myself rolling my eyes than watching the movie. Hail to the Deadites, along with films like Ghostheads, puts focus on the fans and not the films.
It’s interesting to look at for a short period of time but not for a an hour and a half. As a fan of The Evil Dead I couldn’t fathom getting in front of a camera and talking about it expecting people to listen. Films like this is for a very niched market but collectors like myself will want to own it to sit beside my copies of the Evil Dead films.
The interviews in this one are all personal with several people relaying their love of the film and how much of an impact it has had on them. In some cases it spawned a life long hobby of collecting, cosplaying, and some even find more like love. The topics discussed range from collecting props, copies of the films, rare items, and even props and artifacts from filming locations. We then move into cosplaying as Ash, to convention appearances, and how the cast did not expect to see the film grow like it did.
Finally, the film is edited together nicely and flows very smoothly. I was expecting a little bit of an amateur quality when I went to check this one out but it is nicely put together and flows very well. Overall, Hail to the Deadites is a look into the lives of hardcore Evil Dead fans and how they go to great lengths to show how much they love the film. Fans of the Evil Dead may not be the target audience for this one but more so the fans that have spent a considerable amount of disposable income to collect items from the film or cosplayers. Regardless, it was a decent watch but I would have enjoyed a doc about the film instead of one on the fans.