[Fantasia Digital 2020 Review] HAIL TO THE DEADITES
Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival
Great films tell great stories. Greater films grab hold of an audience, refusing to let go. The greatest films become something bigger, fostering inspiration and community that takes on a cult of its own. I’m talking about Evil Dead and, beyond that, I’m singing my praises for HAIL TO THE DEADITES!

The documentary/love letter is directed by Steve Villeneuve and features interviews with icons of horror and the Evil Dead franchise like Bruce Campbell, FANGORIA’s Chris Alexander, Betsy Baker, Sarah Berry, Tom Sullivan, and many, many more. HAIL TO THE DEADITES is part of a special Quebec cinema showcase at Fantasia 2020.

HAIL TO THE DEADITES sheds light on the “lighting in a bottle” phenomenon that is the Evil Dead franchise. From the films themselves to the cult icons that made and starred in them, to the legions of “Deadite” fans that show up over and over again for conventions, screenings, and community. The documentary is composed of fan and cast/crew interviews and unique peeks into the lives of collectors, cosplayers, and more!

In a sense, HAIL TO THE DEADITES is as much a meditation on horror itself as it is an exploration of The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness. Part of the magic of the franchise is how its modest budget and low-brow capabilities were elevated to greatness on passion and talent alone. The story of Evil Dead is the story of every scrappy dreamer in love with the genre.

Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

HAIL TO THE DEADITES perfectly reflects this, not just in the accounts of those involved in the films but in the passion and “get it done” attitude of the franchise’s fans. Every “Deadite” worth their salt has a story of overcoming hardship and the odds with the help of their heroes or in pursuit of them. The stories of the fans are the lifeblood of the documentary and it makes for a moving watch.

To speak to HAIL TO THE DEADITES and, by further extension, horror is to speak to the community. The cult of fandom is a fertile ground for invention and passion, as well as family. Any lover of horror and haunts knows this well (it’s the foundation we’ve built our house on here at Nightmarish Conjurings). HAIL TO THE DEADITES simply offers a beautiful view.

HAIL TO THE DEADITES is a warm and fascinating peek into the world of Evil Dead. The franchise has loomed large in the lives of the “Deadites” and even larger in our culture. Appropriately, the simple and effective films continue to inspire passionate filmmaking. HAIL TO THE DEADITES is a must-see for franchise fans, genre fans, and any of us who has swooned over The Chin.

HAIL TO THE DEADITES will have its World Premiere at the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival, on Thursday, August 20 through Wednesday, September 2.

Caitlin Kennedy
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Caitlin is a sweater enthusiast, film critic, and lean, mean writing machine based in Austin, TX. Her love of film began with being shown Rosemary’s Baby at a particularly impressionable age and she’s been hooked ever since. She loves a good bourbon and hates people who talk in movies. Caitlin has been writing since 2014 and you can find her work on Film Inquiry, The Financial Diet, Shuffle Online, and many others.
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