Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead vs Multiverse of Madness: A Comparison

Katie Luxbacher '22

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR MARVEL’S DR. STRANGE AND THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS

Sam Raimi is a name best known in Hollywood for his work directing the popular horror franchise, Evil Dead as well as the original Spider-Man trilogy. However he recently directed the newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness.  

While most films in the Marvel universe have a cookie cutter feel and focus on the action and Superhero aspects of the story, Raimi managed to bring his own style of directing into this project giving it a darker feel reflecting that of his previous works, specifically those of Evil Dead

The new MCU movie parallels many films in the horror genre. One of my personal favorite references to the Evil dead franchise is when Bruce Campbell (Ash from Evil dead) made a cameo in a smaller role. Campbell plays a food vender on the side of the road who becomes upset after America Chavez fails to pay for her food, Doctor Strange defuses the situation by using magic to have the vender continuously slap himself in the face so that the two can get away. Knowing that Campbell plays the street vendor, this can be seen as a parallel or reference to when Ash has to fight his own possessed hand in Evil Dead II

In all of Raimi’s films a yellow Oldsmobile Delta 88 car can be seen, in Evil Dead the car belonged to Ash, and in Spider-Man it was Uncle Ben’s. This classic easter egg was not left out of Multiverse of Madness, the car can be spotted when Dr. Strange and Christine visit the decaying Earth as it was one of the floating background vehicles. This detail, though small, shows the amount of effort Raimi puts into making each film he directs his own. 

When Doctor Strange dreamwalks in the body of his zombie self, even the makeup/effects look similar to those of Evil Dead.  The sunken in eyes, the pale and shriveled skin in both films are strikingly similar. It’s almost as if you could take Zombie Strange and place him right in with the creatures from the Evil Dead films and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. This style of monster makeup is very specific to the way of Raimi’s projects, so much so to the point that when looking at the creatures there is no denying the fact that they came from his universe. 

Raimi was also able to connect the importance of books in both films, the darkhold in Multiverse of Madness and the Necronomicon in Evil Dead are both evil magic books that can lead to possession or being overtaken by evil. The darkhold overtook Wanda and released the full power of the Scarlet Witch, and the necronomicon possessed all of Ash’s friends. Neither book has ever led to anything good, and created the essential conflict of the film. At the end of both, the books were destroyed by the protagonists of the films leading to the fall of the evil which the books had caused. 

Throughout the film Raimi references many different pieces of horror media ranging from Stephen King’s Carrie to the very popular series The Twilight Zone, and though these parallels are all great in their own ways, there is none that are better than when he references his own film. The Parallels are small details for those who are fans of both franchises, Raimi put them there because he knows his audience and he knows his fans. The smaller details and cameos are what help to make this film his own.