As we wait for the highly anticipated Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness coming out in May, one thing we can do is look at the guy directing it: Sam Raimi. What a perfect pairing in my eyes. Now to me, he isn’t just a legendary director in cinema and the mastermind of several cinematic masterpieces. Raimi can be accredited for somebody who is the blueprint for horror and superhero movies.
In 1978, a short film was made by Raimi called Within The Woods. This would later go on to be the blueprint for what would become the iconic Evil Dead. If you didn’t know, Evil Dead is basically a movie about a group of friends fighting monsters in a cabin in the woods. This movie literally inspired the iconic 2012 movie Cabin In The Woods.*
Evil Dead received enormous praise for being a DIY, self-made, low-budget, horror show that not only terrified the audience but amazed them with the effects and the directing. For someone’s first feature film, Raimi hit a home run. This would go on to inspire countless directors and show many that all you really needed was a camera to make magic happen.
Without Raimi’s efforts, guys like Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t have gotten so much praise and influence to do it on their own. Raimi didn’t play by the industry’s rules, he made his own. The horror genre was very stale at the time, but it was Raimi that found a way to bring the terror back in. His work would spark countless sequels, video games, comics, a remake, and even a whole TV show that continued the story of the legendary Ashley Williams.
Then in 2002, something game-changing came out. You see, prior to the 2000s movies that were about comic books, and superheroes were very … garbage. So, when Spider-Man came out, it set a new standard for what superhero movies could be. The movie knew how to balance both an origin story, a cheesy comedy, and make Spiderman look like a real hero. It was the fact that Raimi, who was seen as “The Horror Guy,” was able to make Spider-Man into what we know and love, that made it so impressive. It showed him as a kid trying to balance his normal life and superhero life, showing the sacrifices he has to make in order to save others. It shows there’s weight to what he does and the effect it has on his family. It found a way to truly balance Peter Parker and Spiderman.
Unfortunately, this would go on to start a craze of fairly bad superhero movies like Daredevil, Catwoman, and Fantastic Four. However, ultimately, Raimi did set the standard for what superhero movies could be. Raimi helped ignite a flame and without Spiderman, there wouldn’t really have been much craze to get the Marvel Cinematic Universe off the ground. Spider-Man was such a success that it spawned sequels, video games, and a whole return for Tobey Maguire in a new Spider-Man movie.
Personally, Raimi was responsible for reigniting my love of cinema. During times when movies had started to feel stagnated with Oscar baits, historical pictures, and the same old tired tropes, Raimi was making sure that not only could they break the conventional rules that were brought to them, but make their own. He found a way to stray away from what made superhero movies so tiresome, and what made horror movies less scary. Raimi found a way to get butts into seats and found a way to inspire countless others. He found a way to reignite a flame in a genre that was plagued with underwhelming releases.
Now we’re in a new age of cinema, an age that Raimi was partly responsible for creating. Seeing the teasers and trailers for Multiverse of Madness has really shown Raimi will not disappoint. So, as we wait for possibly one of the best Marvel movies in years, I think it was needed that we appreciate the legend who’s helping make that come true, but most importantly, honor the legacy and influence he’s leaving for countless generations going forward. GROOVY!