The cult fandom of the Evil Dead franchise is explored in Hail to the Deadites. In the decades since its 1981, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead and its sequels have developed a rabid fanbase who want to connect with anyone and everyone connected to the franchise. Filmmaker Steve Villeneuve travels the horror convention circuit, talking to various “Deadites” and finding out about where their love of Evil Dead began.
As the original Evil Dead nears its 40th anniversary, Hail to the Deadites is a documentary by Steve Villeneuve (Under the Scares) that allows us to meet the most dedicated members of the franchise’s fanboy, who include “Ultimate Evil Dead Fan” winner Bri Cumming and Ash Williams cosplayer Adam King, the latter of whom ran a crowdfunding campaign in order to meet Bruce Campbell at a convention. The film also rounds things out with interviews with Campbell and the rest of the cast, along with interviews with experts such as Michael Gingold and Chris Alexander.
Hail to the Deadites begins with a title stating that “everything you will see in the next 80 minutes was created by Evil Dead fans.” Indeed, the film is more a tribute to the fandom of Evil Dead than the films themselves and sadly does leave a little to be desired. Part of this comes from the less-than-stellar narration that frequently speaks about director Steve Villeneuve in the first person, explaining every stop on his tour of horror conventions. The end result is watchable, yet jarring love letter to the cult fandom of Evil Dead.