Samuel Marshall Raimi (born October 23, 1959 in Royal Oak, Michigan) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter and actor.
He is best known for creating the Evil Dead series and directing the Spider-Man Trilogy. He has the distinct honor of being one of few big-name directors believed by many to successfully pull off making films that are campy and scary at the same time.
Raimi is also no stranger to television, as he executive produced the syndicated shows Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, Legend of the Seeker and Spartacus: Blood and Sand. He executive produced the TV adaptation of his Evil Dead films, Ash vs. Evil Dead, the pilot of which he also directed.
Early on in his career, he was a frequent collaborator with The Coen Brothers: Joel was an assistant editor on The Evil Dead, the three of them wrote Crimewave and The Hudsucker Proxy together, Raimi had cameo apperances in Miller's Crossing and Hudsucker, and Raimi directed a montage sequence in the latter.
He reunited with Marvel Comics to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (based on the equally long-running Doctor Strange comics), a sequel to the 2016 film that serves as part of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fittingly enough, this film is also a direct companion to Spider-Man: No Way Home, which integrated Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy into the wider MCU multiverse.
He has a younger brother, Ted, who is also an actor and director.
- Evil Dead series
- Crimewave (1985)
- Darkman (1990)
- The Quick and the Dead (1995)
- A Simple Plan (1998)
- For Love Of The Game (1999)
- The Gift (2000)
- Spider-Man Trilogy
- Drag Me to Hell (2009)
- Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
- Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except (1985, actor)
- The Hudsucker Proxy (1994 - co-wrote with The Coen Brothers and served as second unit director.)
Sam Raimi and his works provide examples of:
- Associated Composer: Danny Elfman has composed the majority of Raimi's works since Darkman. They had a brief falling out during the production of Spider-Man 3, but Elfman later returned to score Oz the Great and Powerful and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
- Author Appeal:
- He's very fond of old pulp comics, from superhero to horror, so references pop up a lot if it's not a straight-up adaptation.
- You can also expect references or homages to The Three Stooges.
- Bloody Hilarious: He's famous for making very brutal violence extremely comical.
- Creator Backlash:
- He seems to agree with the consensus that Spider-Man 3 was the worst of the trilogy.
- After The Quick and the Dead flopped, Raimi admitted that he was "confused" and thought himself to be a "dinosaur".
- He hasn't exactly considered Crimewave one of his proudest works, given the production problems surrounding the film.
- Being Good Sucks: His central theme of his Spider-Man trilogy is that Peter must do what is right no matter what, at the cost of all of his personal relationships and happiness. Downright It Sucks to Be the Chosen One for Ash, as from Evil Dead 2 onwards, he comes to realize that his life is cursed to always be haunted by the Deadites.
- Creator's Pest: He's not a fan of Venom, stating that he despises the character's "lack of humanity." This is the reason for his unflattering portrayal of the character in Spider-Man 3. For what it's worth noting, he originally wanted to use the Vulture, but studio mandates made him choose Venom instead.
- Creator Thumbprint: "The Classic," a yellow 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 that Raimi has had since before he began directing. He tries to get it into every one of his movies, to the point that Bruce Campbell claimed in his autobiography that the car was in even more movies than he has been. Its most famous appearances were as the car for both Ash Williams and Benjamin Parker.
- Crosses over into Theseus' Ship Paradox: in Bruce Campbell's memoir If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, there is a section entitled "You Will Never Kill My Classic", which focuses on The Classic and describes its extensive onscreen appearances in Raimi's films from his homemade Super-8 films to modern blockbusters, and several cases of the car having to be stripped down, modified or rebuilt with new parts, either due to Raimi's filmmaking needs or, in one case on the set of Crimewave, as a prank by Campbell himself, prompting Raimi's stubborn insistence to Campbell that "you will never kill the Classic". By the time of the shooting of Evil Dead 2 it no longer ran, but Raimi insisted on its inclusion, even if it meant maintaining the vehicle at his own expense, which he did on all subsequent appearances of it. Campbell later teases Raimi in a quote about how much of the Classic consisted of original parts, with Raimi cagily insisting the body and chassis, dash and steering wheel are all original, that the rest of the car contains "some" new parts, and that the Classic currently resides "in a warehouse somewhere in Southern California."
- Adores torturing Bruce Campbell in his movies. Most recently, his cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had the titular Doctor curse Campbell into punching himself in the face for days. Sam has jokingly said that the best way to get a good performance out of Bruce is to poke him with a stick.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Part of the central theme for many of his horror movies and arguably even A Simple Plan. You go to a cabin in the woods and play some weird tape deck? Everyone dies. You turn down an extension on a loan? Burn in Hell for all of eternity. Find a plane that has a briefcase full of money? Kill everyone and burn the money. Though, what does separate Raimi from other filmmakers is he's much more empathetic to the characters and deconstructing audiences desires to see said characters be severely punished for wrongdoing.
- Dutch Angle: Used prominently throughout his filmography, to the point of almost being a Creator Thumbprint in itself.
- Fake Shemp: Trope Namer when it came to the Evil Dead films. Based after the technique codified in Three Stooges Shorts.
- Genre Roulette: Raimi has made an effort to be diverse as possible with his films. Accordingly, he has directed a incredible number of genres and often blends them in the same movie. To that end, he's regarded as one of the Founding Fathers of the modern Horror Comedy genre (along with Peter Jackson), and Spider-Man is credited for marshalling the modern age of comic book movies (along with 2000's X-Men), although he's also successfully dabbled in straight drama, crime and supernatural thrillers and even Westerns.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Bruce Campbell and Robert Tapert.
- One of Us: Raimi was a big fan of superhero comics since his childhood, particularly the Stan Lee-Jack Kirby-Steve Dikto era of Marvel Comics (which was roughly contemporary to his childhood). This actually makes him something of an outlier compared to other early superhero film directors such as (Tim Burton and Richard Donner) who claim to have a much more surface-level knowledge of the source material.
- P.O.V. Cam: He often likes putting the camera from the point of view of some evil force stalking or attacking the characters. See: Deadites, Doc Ock's tentacles, the Venom Symbiote, and the Scarlet Witch.
- Production Posse: Hire Sam Raimi, and you're pretty much certain to also be hiring his brother Ted as well as Bruce Campbell and occasionally Lucy Lawless.
- He was also tangentially part of the Coen Brothers' posse early in his career, as noted above, and Danny Elfman is also responsible for scoring most of his films.
- Behind the scenes, he has frequently worked with editors Bob Murawski and Arthur Colburn, and cinematographers Bill Pope and Peter Deming. His brother Ivan has also served as a co-writer on a number of his films.
- Promoted Fanboy: He was a big fan of Spider-Man before being tasked with directing the film trilogy.
- He's also stated he's a fan of Doctor Strange and Batman - he lobbied to take over directing duties for the original Batman film series after Tim Burton left, and created Darkman as a compromise when Warner Bros turned him down. He would later wind up taking over directing duties for the second Doctor Strange film.
- Rousseau Was Right: With the exception of Eddie Brock/Venom, the villains in his Spider-Man movies all have sympathetic backstories that make them quite human.
- Rule of Cool: Raimi could give John Carpenter a run for his money with how the Evil Dead series turned out over time.
- Signature Style: His most notable trademark is blending horror, drama and camp, particularly with gross Body Horror swinging wildly between both. He makes highly stylized audience pleasing films meant primarily for entertainment value.
- Slapstick: Physical comedy is pretty present in a lot of Raimi's films, especially directed at Bruce Campbell. Even though it's present in his horror films and Played for Horror, there's still a lot of Black Comedy to be had about something like Ash getting slapped around by Deadites in order to drive him insane. You can even see some of the Three Stooges influence in his Spider-Man fight scenes with how much Spidey gets the shit kicked out of him.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Despite how goofy and campy his films tend to be, Raimi is generally pretty far down on the cynical end of the scale, with Drag Me to Hell in particular being infamous for its brutally mean-spirited tone. That said, the Spider-Man Trilogy is well-noted for its overall idealistic, heartfelt nature, despite how much it loves putting its characters through the wringer.
- Start My Own: His failure to take over directing Batman Forever from Tim Burton resulted in him creating and making Darkman.
- Theme Mobile: Most of Raimi's films feature a '73 Oldsmobile Delta 88 at some point. Raimi is said to have four basically identical ones.
- Vertigo Effect: This is used frequently, particularly in his earlier works and perhaps most prominently in The Quick and the Dead.
- World of Ham: His most famous films throw subtlety out the window in favor of everyone unironically reciting intentionally corny lines and giving over-the-top deliveries.