Back in April, we saw the launch of Quibi, a new entertainment platform featuring short-form content designed specifically to be viewed on a cell phone. When Quibi announced the content that would be featured, one that stuck out to horror fans was Sam Raimi‘s horror anthology 50 STATES OF FRIGHT. Not only is Raimi an executive producer of the series, but also directed and co-wrote, with his brother Ivan Raimi, the premiere episode, The Golden Arm, starring Rachel Brosnahan and Travis Fimmel.
For those not familiar, this season of 50 STATES OF FRIGHT “explore[s] stories based on urban legends from Michigan, Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota, and Florida taking viewers deeper into the horrors that lurk beneath the surface of our country.” Each episode is broken up into 2-3 segments that are usually no longer than 10 min. each so as to allow viewers quick short-form content to digest. The five-episode season features a different writer/director each time. Along with Sam Raimi’s episode, the series features Yoko Okumara for America’s Largest Ball of Twine (Kansas), Ryan Spindell for Scared Stiff (Oregon), Adam Schindler & Brian Netto for Grey Cloud Island (Minnesota), and Alejandro Brugues for Destino (Florida).
Recently, during a media roundtable interview for the release of the series, I had the opportunity to chat with Sam Raimi. Known primarily for creating the Evil Dead films, Raimi has had a long and respected career within the horror genre having directed films such as The Gift and Drag Me to Hell as well as producing 2004 & 2020’s The Grudge, 30 Days of Night, the Evil Dead remake and Crawl. When it came to 50 STATES OF FRIGHT, who better to helm the ship than the man who gave the genre one of the most iconic horror franchises ever. When discussing how all these directors came on-board for this new horror anthology, Raimi remarked, “For the most part [the directors] would come to the producers. They hear about the show through their agent, they hear there is a show called 50 STATES OF FRIGHT that’s looking for stories and when they hear they can tell a story from their local state, they come swarming to the producers.”
Raimi further went on to explain why he thought this type of opportunity would strike a chord with the directors: “[This] is different than a normal horror story that you write or that you look for a writer to write for you. There’s a real passion for these stories it seems like. With a few exceptions, they are stories that terrified these writers and directors as kids.” And that right there, the nostalgia that these stories conjure up, is what makes each of these episodes so effective – something I believe Raimi fully understood. “[These writers/directors] experienced how frightening [these stories] were and they are now being retold with the same love and passion they felt when they first experienced it.”
Sure, Quibi’s format may not be for everyone, but once you’re able to get past watching the content on your phone, you’re in for a real treat with 50 STATES OF FRIGHT. As Raimi puts it, “It’s really an unusual project in the sense that [these episodes] are really little independent mini-movies that seem to be filled with passion by the storytellers. It’s great that way.” All that being said, if you’re looking for a new content to help take your mind off of the pandemic, then give Quibi’s 50 STATES OF FRIGHT a chance. For more on the show, check out our reviews of The Golden Arm and America’s Largest Ball of Twine.