The Evil Dead is a 1981 classic cult horror movie directed by Sam Raimi and is famous for its bloody content. For the 2013 remake, Evil Dead, Raimi chose Fede Alvarez as director and decided to take the producing role himself alongside Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell, lead actor and producer of the original film.
To fill in the position of the DoP he chose cinematographer Aaron Morton, NZCS, who was also DP for the Starz series Spartacus and part of the camera crew of Underworld 3. The challenge: Shoot a horror movie that won’t be polished or enhanced by CGI retroactively and make it as bloody as possible. This task required a fluid head that is reliable and robust enough to cope with sticky artificial blood and allows for total control of camera movements. To meet these conditions Aaron Morton selected a 2575D fluid head by OConnor, part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company to support his two Sony PMW-F65 cameras.
Blood rain, forests, pressure of time: Shooting conditions of Evil Dead
Evil Dead is a gore feast, even more than its predecessor: Gallons of Blood cover the actors and the equipment – it is literally raining blood. And amidst these masses of sticky red liquid Cinematographer Aaron Morton had no time to lose to capture the footage for Evil Dead.
Shot in Auckland, New Zealand, Morton explains: “The project was a huge challenge from a gear and time perspective. We only had 14 weeks to shoot. Plus shooting in rough conditions through rainwater or fake blood or from tracking vehicles, we needed dependable support for our Sony F65 cameras. I chose OConnor for its reliability and great toughness”, he says.
The stepless and ultra-smooth pan & tilt fluid drag provides the typical and famous OConnor feel for film-style shootings, which unfailingly remains untainted even in bloody conditions. Plus, the controls of the 2575D fluid head are on the operator’s side to guarantee a clear overview of all settings. With numerical read-outs, every configuration of the OConnor 2575D can be exactly and quickly repeated, saving precious time during shootings on a short timeline, especially when it comes to unusual shots, that have to be well-prepared.
Special FX, no CGI, creativity: Special shots for shockingly great cinema
Evil Dead almost completely does without CGI and therefore every single shot has to be perfect to live up to all tricks and illusions that make up a great part of the movie’s most shocking moments. This requires a fluid head that is extremely versatile and thus robust enough to capture extraordinary angles and stands its ground for demanding shots.
“I wanted to get close to the original movie, where lots of things are whipping around out of control. Therefore we included a lot of rolling in our camera movement”, Morton says.
The ergonomically designed OConnor 2575D tripod head with a payload range up to 40.8 kg (90 lbs) gave him the creative freedom and ultimate control at any point of the tilt range from +90 to -90° he needed when operating his Sony F65.
“The snap plate system is very quick and convenient and has a great ability to fine-tune the balance even with a heavy camera system”, Morton explains. The patented stepless sinusoidal counterbalance system with a collapsible crank-handle moreover allows for easy and exceptionally precise balance – that is exactly reproducible. Given these prerequisites Morton could focus on his characteristic high-end-shots than rather worrying about practicality or having to cut back on the quality of the images that breed an amazingly deep and spine-chilling ambiance.