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Hail to the Deadites Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Digger Films

article-cover

Directed by Steve Villeneuve
2020, 79 minutes, Not Yet Rated
FrightFest English premire on 30th August 2020

Starring:
Chris Alexander
Betsy Baker
Bruce Campbell
Dennis Carter Jr.

Review:

To Evil Dead and Army of Darkness final dude Ashley Williams, ‘Deadites’ are the bloodthirsty spawn of the Necronomicon that he’s spent the last 40 years fighting, tooth-and-nail. To Bruce Campbell and the rest of the cast and crew of the Evil Dead franchise, ‘Deadites’ is the affectionate name given to the fandom. Filmmaker Steve Villenueve’s horror documentary Hail to the Deadites is all about the fans, and an in-depth exploration of Evil Dead fandom.

Like the numerous documentaries about obsessive Star Trek and Star Wars fans, Hail to the Deadites is an extensive but respectful meet-and-greet session with the more extreme end of fandom. There’s Evil Dead cosplayers and Evil Dead marriages and Evil Dead documentary makers and Evil Dead practically coming out of the film’s eyeballs. A little tiresome if you’re just in it for the movies, but a lovely examination of what this franchise means to the people. Some of its interviewees might be a little much (particularly the “this is my BOOMSTICK” guy), but the enthusiasm is infectious.

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It cuts both ways too, with most of the cast and crew – sans Sam Raimi, sadly – showing up to talk about what the fans mean to them. From Betsy Baker to Bill Moseley and Evil Dead 2’s Dan Hicks (RIP), the gang’s mostly here. No conversation about the franchise is worth having without the Chin himself, Bruce Campbell, and he’s here too, both in person and convention footage. Groovy Bruce is typically acerbic and sarcastic, but there’s a lovely story about his anonymously chipping in for a fan’s meet-and-greet GoFundMe. No, I’m not jealous, you are.

For once though, Bruce isn’t the main attraction, and the bulk of the time is spent with the fans; from conventions to Evil Dead the Musical. Without the budget for clips of the actual movies, Villenueve ingeniously works around the obstacle by including bits of fan film and its Claymation remakes instead. These neat tricks keep Hail to the Deadites from getting too exhausting – interview after interview with overly excitable fans and their massive merchandise collections. No, really, no jealousy here at all.

For better and worse, Hail to the Deadites is a love letter to the fans. Like a lot of love letters, it’s overly sentimental and rambles on a bit, but it’s a truly heartfelt one, regardless.

Grades:

Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover
Buy Amazon Uk

About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Writer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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