It’s been 40 years since Sam Raimi scraped together a tiny budget and traveled to a cabin in the woods with a few reels of 16 mm film, buckets of fake blood, and a masochistic Bruce Campbell. The result was 1981’s all-time splatter classic The Evil Dead, which made Raimi’s career, spawned two sequels, a remake, video games, comics, and an awesome (and unjustly canceled) TV show. The story isn’t over yet, with the next movie, Evil Dead Rise, scheduled for a 2022 release on HBO Max.
The first movie is currently available to stream on HBO Max, though longtime horror fans have noticed that the studio has made a change to the poster used to advertise it. The original shows a woman being pulled underground by a sinister Deadite arm that’s clutching her throat. The HBO Max version edits out the arm, leaving just the woman. Check it out:
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It’s worth underlining that the movie itself hasn’t been censored in any form whatsoever. It remains a gross, scary, and creative hour and 25-minute thrill ride with every drop of blood intact. So, why the censorship?
Well, imagery of women being strangled has increasingly become a no-no. Fox got into hot water around the time of X-Men: Apocalypse by showing Apocalypse grabbing Mystique by the neck, eventually having to apologize and confirm that they “would never condone violence against women”.
There’s also an argument that while anyone settling down with a bag of popcorn to watch The Evil Dead knows what they’re getting into, having the poster visible to anyone simply browsing the app might be a bit much. I suspect HBO Max is being extremely over-cautious here, but they likely have strict rules for display images in the app that The Evil Dead‘s original poster breaks.
But why not see The Evil Dead on the big screen where it belongs? Fathom Events are marking the film’s 40th anniversary with a series of screenings across the country on October 7. Many shows are sold out, but you can check availability at www.FathomEvents.com and through participating theater box offices.