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The horror origins of Sam Raimi, the director of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

There’s been a lot of talks and theories about how the new Doctor Strange movie will be different from the rest, and Sam Raimi with his roots in horror movies can be responsible for the change in tone.

Sam Raimi is an American filmmaker and producer born on October 23, 1959. He’s mostly known for his films that are ostentatious and highly dynamic visual styles, inspired by comic books and slapstick comedy.

Raimi’s love for movies came when his father brought a movie camera home, so he started making Super 8 movies with his friends.

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His most recent film is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but he started his filmmaking career after studying three semesters of English to film The Evil Dead. These are some of his most known movies:

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The Evil Dead (1981)

This movie tells the story of five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in a remote wooded area. After they find an audio tape that, when played, releases a legion of demons and spirits, four members of the group suffer from demonic possession, forcing the fifth member (Ash Williams) to survive an onslaught of increasingly gory mayhem.

The reception of the movie was universally positive, and in the years since its release it has developed a reputation as one of the most significant cult films, and cited among the greatest horror films of all time and one of the most successful independent films

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The Evil Dead has spawned a media franchise, starting with two direct sequels written and directed by Raimi: Evil Dead II (1987), and Army of Darkness (1992). A fourth film Evil Dead (2013) which serves as a soft reboot and continuation, and a follow-up TV series Ash vs Evil Dead (2015 – 2018). But also, video games and comic books.

Spider-Man (2002)

Raimi has said that he was a fan of Spider-Man comic books when he was growing up, and that’s (part of) the reason he got to direct Tobey Maguire’s trilogy.

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The film received positive reviews, and critics praised Raimi’s direction, the performances, visual effects, action sequences, and musical score. It was the first film to reach $100 million in a single weekend as well as the most successful film based on a comic book at the time.

With a box office gross of over $825 million worldwide, it was the third highest-grossing film of 2002, the highest-grossing superhero film and the sixth highest-grossing film overall at the time of its release.

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Spider-Man is credited for redefining the modern superhero genre, as well as the summer blockbuster. It showed that there was a space for superheroes in movie theaters, and that they could be a big, bold, and distinctive blockbuster.

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

The movie tells the story of a loan officer who has to prove to her boss that she can make the “hard decisions”, and chooses not to extend and elderly woman’s mortgage. As vengeance, the woman places a curse on the loan officer that, after three days of escalating torment, will plunge her into the depths of Hell to burn for eternity.

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Raimi wrote this movie with his older brother Ivan before working on the Spider-Man trilogy.

The brothers were looking to write a story about a character who wants to be a good person but makes a sinful choice out of greed for her own betterment and pays the price for it. But Sam Raimi also wanted the film to be PG-13 and not driven by gore, because he wanted to do something different from what he had done before.

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Drag Me to Hell won the award for Best Horror Film at the 2009 Scream Awards and the 2010 Saturn Awards.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

The movie is based on L. Frank Baum’s early 20th century Oz novels and set 20 years before the events of the original 1900 novel, but also being a spiritual prequel to the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film The Wizard of Oz.

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It tells the story of Oscar Diggs, a deceptive magician who arrives in the Land of Oz and encounters three witches: Theodora, Evanora, and Glinda. Oscar is then enlisted to restore order in Oz while struggling to resolve conflicts with the witches and himself.

The film received mixed reviews from critics, but it was the 13th-highest-grossing film of 2013. The film won the Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Live Action Family Film and Kunis won the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain for her performance as the Wicked Witch of the West.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

After not directing for almost 10 years, Sam Raimi returns with a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that promises to be weird and pay an homage to his roots in horror.

Have you seen it yet? Do you think it’s as scary? Remember, no spoilers!

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