When her child—in this case, Danny—is speaking to her in disbelief but also hopes that she’s still alive, there’s a confusion there, and she sticks the psychological knife right in him. I love that line. I remember, with “Mommy’s with the maggots now,” I really hoped it would end up on a T-shirt someday, and lo and behold it’s now on a T-shirt, so it definitely landed.
The line where she calls her children “titty-sucking parasites” is my favorite, because it’s so icky, and it cuts so close to the bone. The way I thought about at least the process of approaching those types of lines is that it’s saying the things a frustrated mother wants to say but never, ever would, because she loves her children. But now that she is possessed, subverted, and corrupted, she gets to say the darkest version of the challenging thoughts that might go on inside her head.
You mentioned the cheese grater earlier, one of several household objects weaponized in “Evil Dead Rise.” The fight sequence in the kitchen goes to gnarly places, with Gabrielle Nichols’ demonically possessed teenager Bridget at one point scraping said cheese grater along the back of Beth’s calf. It’s one of the grisliest effects in this very grisly film, so I’m curious what went into filming it.
That was a challenging scene. They were all challenging, but we were able to do the majority of that one practically. As a filmmaker, I use CGI to enhance rather than define a moment. There aren’t many CG shots in the film. We were able to pre-set wounds and have things that would move, and we would always have references so we knew what we were getting, for the digital artists that would then work. But there were a lot of phases and stages to that sequence beyond even that part. With catching the cheese grater in mid-air, that catch was done practically, and it was about getting the timing of that right. That was one of my favorite sequences to shoot.
Even with all the support in the world—and I was offered a lot—you don’t always have the time you wish you had. It’s the nature of filmmaking. But for that scene, we were actually in the kitchen for three days. It was so intricate, within this small space that’s about as big as it feels; it’s not enormous to put such a detailed little sequence in. The kitchen is the heart of the home, where devastating things happen, so the cheese grater sequence was challenging from many points of view, but we got enough of it right on set that it was never about, “How is this going to look when we actually finish it?” We just added a few flourishes, a few more strings of “leguini” along the way.
I understand you got a cheese grater tattooed on your arm around the film’s world premiere at South by Southwest this year.
That’s true. It’s my little marker. I decided to embrace it rather than to run away from it. The cheese grater is one I will take to my grave.
“Evil Dead Rise” is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD.