FANTASIA 2020 REVIEW: HAIL TO THE DEADITES

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HAIL TO THE DEADITES gives fans of THE EVIL DEAD trilogy a spotlight. Director Steve Villeneuve introduces us to “Deadites” – fans named after the demons who possess humans in the ED universe – across the country, giving us a glimpse of them at horror conventions and also taking a look at their stunning EVIL DEAD collections. 

As someone who also worships at the feet of Ash and has appreciated THE EVIL DEAD since I was able to get my grubby hands on a bootleg copy of it in the 80s, it made me heart happy to see so many others in love with it as well. Each fan we meet has a personal story of why ED is important to them, and in some cases, it’s amazing they trusted Steve enough to let him share those stories with us. 

DEADITES also takes us into some cool little convention corners not usually seen to the outside world: several talks with special F/X artist Tom Sullivan, the man who created the iconic Book of the Dead – and who has constructed a whole “museum” of ED props that he totes around and puts on display. (I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I gasped out loud at seeing the actual Kandarian dagger).

And of course, there are interviews with the one and only KING, Bruce Campbell! The Cult of Ash is vast and varied, and I loved seeing Bruce talk about both sides of having a huge fan base. Plus, there are some great words from Ted Raimi, Richard Domeier (Ed), Dan Hicks (Jake), and Richard DeManincor (Scotty). 

But what I loved the most about DEADITES was its candid discussions with the women of THE EVIL DEAD: Ellen Sandweiss (Cheryl), Betsy Baker (Linda), Theresa Tilly (Shelly), Kassie Wesley DePaiva (Bobby Joe), and Sarah Berry (Annie). Hearing how amazing they feel knowing their roles in these films had an impact on fans made me love them all even more. 

Other than making me want to watch the trilogy again immediately while gazing lovingly at my framed 8×10 promo headshot of Bruce from ARMY OF DARKNESS, this doc also had the added (sad) effect of making me really fucking miss attending conventions, specifically our local Crypticon. *sigh* 

Someday, friends. Someday. We’ll all be able to gather together and nerd out over horror films again! Until then, we can watch DEADITES and dream about having in-depth convos over which film ED is best and browsing the vendor booths to find the one collector’s item we’ve been looking for, forever. 

See HAIL TO THE DEADITES streaming On Demand as part of Fantasia International Film Festival’s online program, August 20 through September 2.

1 comments on “FANTASIA 2020 REVIEW: HAIL TO THE DEADITES”

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