Elizabeth Banks Says Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead Was an Influence on Cocaine Bear

Elizabeth Banks Says Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead Was an Influence on Cocaine Bear

Director Elizabeth Banks reveals that Evil Dead, Jurassic Park, and John Carpenter were influences on her new horror comedy.

Ahead of its upcoming release, Elizabeth Banks has revealed an influence on Cocaine Bear was Evil Dead. The Evil Dead franchise is about to unleash a fifth installment with Evil Dead Rise, directed by Lee Cronin, starring Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan. For the longest time, however, the franchise consisted of three movies, Evil Dead, Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, and Army of Darkness, all of which were directed by Sam Raimi and starred Bruce Campbell. As Banks says, via EW:

“I mean, Evil Dead, just in terms of tone, is such a touchpoint for me. You know, Sam has a great wink about what he does. I love gore. I think it’s really fun. It’s always struck me as very funny in a weird way. It’s a trope of the genre that I wanted to play with in this case. I just didn’t think we could make a movie about a rampaging bear on a bender without the gore. I mean, bears literally eat their prey alive.”

Years after making his Evil Dead trilogy, Raimi went on to make another well-known trilogy of superhero films. The Spider-Man trilogy starred Tobey Maguire as the eponymous character, with Banks herself in a supporting role as Betty Brant, the secretary to J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). Though the character wasn’t quite as prominent as the comic version, who dated Peter Parker for a while, making the trilogy was still a fun experience for Banks.


“I loved working with him. It was on the set of Spider-Man, watching him work with the cinematographer Bill Pope, that I first had the inkling that maybe I could be a director someday. So I find him to be really inspirational.”

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Other Influences

A scene from Jurassic Park
Universal Pictures

Evil Dead and Raimi weren’t the only influences on Banks for the making of Cocaine Bear. “We were making a movie in the ’80s, so, of course, John Carpenter comes to mind.” During that decade, Carpenter came out with three cult classics starring Kurt Russell, which were Escape from New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China. Recently, Carpenter served as a composer on Blumhouse’s Halloween trilogy, a series that he started.

“Another touchpoint for me was Jurassic Park. The first Jurassic Park is sort of a true north in the way that, when they first saw the dinosaurs in that movie, you thought, ‘Oh man, that’s so awe-inspiring, look at that,’ and then that wonder turns to fear.”

Jurassic Park was a 1993 cult classic directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. It was about a group of guests being invited to an island theme park where dinosaurs once again roamed the Earth. If you haven’t seen the movie, you probably already know that, but before everything goes wrong, the first scene of the dinosaurs (after the opening) is framed in a way that’s very majestic.

“For me, bears are not inherently scary, so we had to create that scenario at the very beginning of the movie where it is wonderful to see a bear in nature, we all get a little like, woo, cool, it’s titillating, but then you also don’t want it to come too close to you. Your instincts do kick in; you do understand that it’s an apex predator. And so, playing with that, Jurassic Park was a real touchstone for us.”

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( With inputs from movieweb )