When it comes out that a documentary about the fans of a product is being made, there are sort of two options. One, they can go deep into the lore and find the most passionate fans possible for it. Two, they can half ass it, and it’s just a clubhouse project and gets lost to time. Hail To The Deadites is a love letter to the fans of Evil Dead. It delves deep into various fans and super fans of the movies. Luckily for all of us, it’s more in that first section. It even has a large section about the man behind Ash Williams, Bruce Campbell.
For all the fun and games of Hail to the Deadites, it does lack a distinct presence from Sam Raimi or Ted Raimi even. You get plenty of looks at the fans, but nothing from the man who created the films. It’s less of a celebration of the movies, and more of a celebration of the fans of the movies. For certain people this might turn them away from the documentary. The words “fan service” are bandied about too much these days, but Hail to the Deadites is fan service. Fan service in the best way possible.
Bruce Campbell Highlights The Entire Documentary
The best portions of the doc are when Bruce Campbell gets to interact with the fans. Whether that’s at a costume competition or him talking about fan interactions at conventions. It’s a great look into one of the true icons of horror and how high he holds the fans up. Without the fans, there is no Bruce Campbell at conventions, after all. It’s even better to see how he affects the fans in the competition. The winner has a genuine smile on their face and relishes the $5 bill they’re given for winning. It’s a great moment in the documentary filled with passion and love of The Evil Dead franchise.
The extended interview with Bruce Campbell is worth the price of admission here. But you do get plenty of looks into the fandom and how that fandom evolved through the years. Let’s remember, The Evil Dead might be a horror juggernaut now, but it took time to get to where it is. Through the work of fans like the ones that made this documentary like director Steve Villenueve. It started off small, and is now one of the biggest properties in all of horror.
Lastly, my favorite and probably the most touching point of the documentary is the story of a radio host who named his son after Ash Williams. His son tragically passed away but his dad always wanted Bruce Campbell to meet him. I won’t spoil the moment, but it’s a tearjerker.
Is Hail To The Deadites Entertaining For Non-Fans?
This might be the point of contention. If you’re sitting someone down to get them in to The Evil Dead, you’re going to show them the movies. Starting off with a whole documentary about the fandom might be a good way to get a non-horror fan invested. But this is really for the super fan of the franchise at the end of it all. You’re not sitting down to watch a fan-made documentary about The Evil Dead unless you’re already a huge fan.
For those fans, this one will surely satisfy. It’s a well-made, well-paced documentary that tells you exactly what you want to know about fans of The Evil Dead. You get plenty of information and heartfelt moments throughout.
Check out Hail to the Deadites when it releases July 27th on digital and on demand.
Pre-order it from iTunes here: https://tv.apple.com/us/movie/hail-to-the-deadites/umc.cmc.6goi76s023bzl3qwwq9trnecg
For more on horror, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.