The Game’ reunites the group for a modern horror makeover: NPR
We did not know it at the time, but the arrival of the horror film diabolical death in the early 1980s was the start of something big.
The film had a low budget, an over-the-top gory style and, perhaps most surprisingly, a twisted sense of humor.
Author Stephen King called it “The most ferociously original horror film of 1982”.
With each subsequent release in the series, the films have leaned more into this dark, comedic element. They became as funny as they were scary – and fans loved it.
Fast forward several decades and what started out as a cult classic horror film has grown into a full-fledged universe with several sequels, a musical and a well-received TV series.
Now a new video game aptly called Evil Dead: The Game enters this canon. It’s not the first evil Dead video game, but it just might be the first to truly nail the show’s singular magic.
Bringing this special atmosphere to life was an explicit goal of the audio team at Saber Interactive. Recreating – and in some cases updating – the world of the original series meant bringing back a lot of evil Dead faithful. This included its original songwriter, Joe LoDuca, who said his role had always been to counter the lightness of the jokes with some pretty serious and scary music.
“The music plays straight,” he said. “And I think that’s what contributes to the humor and the absurdity of what’s presented.”
LoDuca composed the music for the original evil Dead trilogy.
“I was still in school at the time. And so what I had available to me for the budget we had was to record in a little attic studio,” he said. . “I had four string players, and all I could grab and bang…was spit and glue.”
LoDuca is back writing the main theme of Evil Dead: The Gameand maintaining that balance between spooky and comedic is one of the ways this game feels like what’s come before it.
It was also important to maintain the real value voice of the series itself. A slew of cast members are back to recuperate their roles, including Bruce Campbell, who played protagonist Ash in the original film trilogy.
“Working with Bruce was a huge step forward for me at least,” said Craig Sherman, the game’s editor.
“When his voice came into the game, it really started to sound like an Evil Dead game. He changed some of the dialogue, because he knows the character – ‘I feel like Ash should say it that way” – and of course we’re not going to say what to say to Bruce Campbell. It’s Ash.
The famous “cabin in the woods” setting is also back in the game, but designing sound and music for a 3D space is a bit different than a movie on a screen.
That means honing in on the creaking sounds of cabin planks, running water from the swamp, or the wind blowing through the trees of the forest.
“Once you play around with the panning so that it surrounds the player, that’s where the magic happens,” said Steve Molitz, who worked on the game’s music.
These sounds, along with the new music tracks in the game, shift and change based on what the player is experiencing.
“If you’re exploring, the music will be more of an ambient drone,” Molitz said. “As you start to encounter enemies – maybe some undead appear on a hill as you walk through the forest – the music picks up and kicks in.”
For Molitz and the team, the whole project is an exercise in staying true to what came before.
“I think players will hear all the love and passion that goes into it,” Molitz said. “This is truly a love letter to Evil Dead and the fans.”
Even Joe LoDuca said it was amazing to think that the first thing he worked on is still alive to this day.
Or, as LoDuca himself rightly suggests: “You can’t kill him.”