CLIFF: Where did you get the idea of putting roaches and snakes in the decomposing bodies?
TOM: That was mine. The inspiration for the snake and cockroach idea was that the “evil dead” rotted the possessed bodies and corrupted them in the most disgusting way possible. We got the cockroaches from Michigan State and they go great on salads.
CLIFF: How about Linda’s mistake in ED 2 when Ash sticks the chainsaw in her neck, black blood comes out, but when he cuts her in the head red blood comes out?
TOM: Of course, continuity is impossible and unnecessary in an Evil Dead film. The poor French woman who was in charge of continuity on ED2 was frantic. On Evil Dead, we were aware of all the mistakes but thought the fans would love it. On ED2 it was a struggle, but, with the same ultimate Evil Dead maxim “Impossible and Unnecessary.”
I believe that it might have been an intentional choice because a constant changing of bile colors goes back to my stuff on ED1. So in that respect, it isn’t a mistake. Whatever is inside the possessed is constantly changing. So Sam could get away with murder. He called it “torturing” the audience.
CLIFF: Why did you use different colors of blood throughout the films?
TOM: I was concerned about the level of violence in Evil Dead (then Book of the Dead) as I didn’t want to assault the audience, kind of a hopeless position in this film. I suggested to Sam that the Deadites could spew and bleed a variety of colors. Another thought was that since the characters were being possessed by some supernatural force and that it was corrupting their bodies in unspeakable ways, it made sense to keep things changing. Although I don’t remember specifically, it’s possible the Exorcist’s split pea soup had some influence as well. In her stabbing scene the white stuff that Linda (Betsy Baker) hurls is milk.
CLIFF: I was leafing through Josh Becker’s journal and he paints you as a weird, kind of easily character, especially when he says you left them during the filming with a whole bunch of effects still left to do.
TOM: Gee, I thought Josh’s Journal made me look like a vastly multi-talented artistic genius, that brought a unique look and incredible production value for practically no money to this ambitious first film. I was flattered. I just said hello to Josh at his site. And it never occurred to me to bring the Evil Dead Journal up. It might have come off like that in the excerpt that was used, but Josh and I got along very well, as did everybody on the shoot, despite the awful strain of shooting.
It’s been a while since we’d talked and I’d forgotten about the amazing, in-depth, (for me at least) conversation’s that Josh and I would have on into the wee dawn as we worked on our projects at the dining table. He might be the most talented of the Detroit group, certainly the most brilliant. And he certainly has his opinions. Check out his site Becker Films.
Also, I don’t think anybody who knows me would describe me as easily and I’m sure Josh feels that way. I’m very charming, funny, full of energy, and a hard worker. I just reread “The Evil Dead Journal” Wow! What a flashback. “Actual demons,” “Actual sea serpents,” Man, I must have been fried.
I was always curious why whoever designed the pamphlet would include an entry about a contract that I had with Ren. Pics. in an “Evil Dead” video promotional booklet. Of course, it’s Josh’s duty as a Journalist to include his thoughts. But there must have been another interesting episode in his diary that the Journal designers might have selected. For example, how I did a particular special effect. Or maybe about the transient we all killed and ate in a fit of madness. Why publish something personal about me taken out of context? I don’t get it.
And I was a little confused because at no time did I ever quit the production. By your question, the entry may have seemed to imply I had. I always planned to finish the effects. I just couldn’t in Tennessee. It was clear to everybody concerned that I was going to complete the work back in Michigan. With so much shooting left, it was clear, fairly early on that everything would not be finished in Tennessee. I made a contract, as reported in Josh’s diary, to stay another week for a total of seven weeks. I got a bonus for that in 1986 when everyone’s bonuses from Evil Dead came in.