Check this out my fiendish friends; there’s a new documentary heading our way entitled “Invaluable” and it is going to be a must own for gorehounds worldwide as it presents the story of genius artist Tom Sullivan, whose work has defined the look of The Evil Dead trilogy! Fortunately for you, your ol’ pal The Ouija Board Kid Daniel XIII has procured an interview with the triple threat (Director, Producer, and Editor) behind this monstrous movie; Ryan Meade!
Will you please fill our readers in on what they can expect from Invaluable?
Ryan: You can expect to be blown away all the way through. It’s a real roller coaster ride. You’re gonna be smiling, laughing, and crying, and smiling again. You can expect to see things you’ve never seen, to learn things you never knew, and gain a whole new appreciation for the [Evil Dead] franchise. I know I did.
Is the documentary format your usual film making genre?
Ryan: I have never made a documentary before. I make action/comedies and horror films, and we’re making another action film starring Tom Sullivan starting in a few months! I just don’t want to get pigeon holed as the “Doc Guy”! I’m like Raimi and Rodriguez having a test tube baby and Russ Meyer is the doctor. I’ve been called the Robert Rodriguez of Detroit!
Was it difficult gaining access to the stars of The Evil Dead films, and if so what was the most challenging interview to get?
Ryan: Being that Tom [Sullivan] is the glue that holds everyone together and always was; it wasn’t really difficult to gain access to anyone. Everyone was pretty game to be interviewed. Now getting to some of the places we visited, “locations”, was another story. For me to get Tom to have faith in me was the hardest thing. He didn’t just give me this Doc. I had to prove myself over our ten year friendship. Prove I can make good films, and tell a good story, and that I’m trustworthy to do so. I pushed really hard to get this done, and get it done the right way…as a fan I knew what needed to be seen and talked about. I consider myself the biggest fan, Evil Dead 2 is what made me, at age 12, want to make movies…so, I had to really make this one good!
Did you have an opportunity to hold any of the original props from the film?
Ryan: I’ve held everything at some point. I grind daggers (replicas) as they come out of the mold. I paint the mini Books of the Dead and Tom’s my across the hall neighbor. My idea is to open a museum and retire Tom’s props there and be the live on site Innkeeper. Me, My German shepherd and my shotgun! [Laughs]
Were you able to discuss Tom Sullivan’s involvement in the unproduced Lovecraft inspired film “Cry of Cthulu” in the documentary?
Ryan: Yes we go into the Cry of Cthulhu and hear the story behind that.
How has the fan community embraced the idea of the film so far?
Ryan: It seems the fans have gotten behind us. You get a few haters, but that’s expected. It’s kinda been a secret project for the last 4 years. Yeah 4 years… man, I had no idea it would take us that long. But it paid off. Recently Heather Buckley, a writer at Fangoria, did a nice write up because she is a fan, and great person…and she’s cute. [Laughs] I’m a sucker for a cute, intelligent “Horror Chick”, and she’s the real deal. Big thanks to Heather Buckley!
As you mentioned, Invaluable was featured on Fangoria’s website. Was that a surreal experience considering the title of the film comes from a piece that appeared in Issue 23 of the magazine from November 1982?
Ryan: The surreal thing was when I came up with the idea for the title based on the first ever sell out issue of Fango. I contacted the man Tony Timpone, and he was on board! That was huge!! So big thanks to Tony Timpone too!! We wouldn’t have that title if he said “No”. So yeah that was a nice full circle thing. I’d still like the cover and a nice three page spread, but hey…[Laughs]
While we are mentioning the past, tell us about your first experience with the Evil Dead series.
Ryan: Oh man, my experience with Evil Dead starts at the start. I’m nine years old, I love horror movies, I live in Farmington Hills at the time, a few miles from Franklin Michigan. Oh wait…I was born in the same Royal Oak hospital as Sam [Raimi] and Bruce [Campbell]. So then I’m nine, I see Evil Dead 2 and Darkman, and I instantly want to make movies. I was born with the gift of drawing, and could play music since forever, so movies were just natural to me. The first movies I ever made were me running through the woods doing “shakey cam”, and squirting blood outta my chest screaming. and then I remember this little ol’ lady said to us “Hey you should go talk to the lady that owns the bra shop up the street, her son makes movies too” We were like, yeah, ok lady…and laughed. Later I learned that was Sam Raimi’s mom….so yeah, I feel a special obligation to do right for this franchise, on a whole different level. It feels like family to me as well. Oh yeah, and Hal’s [Delrich] sister went to school with my mom, everyone is from the same area. Danny Hicks grew up a mile down the road from me… It’s a small world I guess.
Do you have a favorite installment of the trilogy?
Ryan: Favorite? Well…Out of the original three, they all stand on their own in some way. Evil Dead 2 will always be closest to my heart. But I just prefer to watch my video mash up of all three cut into one big movie.
What was your opinion of the Evil Dead reboot/remake from last year?
Ryan: Remake? Well…I did go see it in the theater. I was willing to give it a chance before I jumped all over it. But, my mom once told me If you ain’t got nothing nice to say , don’t say nothin’ at all…don’t get me started, you don’t have enough space to hear my thoughts on this question. [Laughs]
Where can our readers see Invaluable?
Ryan: I think we have a World Premiere lined up in Kalamazoo Michigan coming up…Its agreed, but not finalized. Check our page for updates. And a few companies are screening the film now, but I think what might happen in the long run is self distro with Tom and myself, and get more conventions to book us for appearances, so the fans have a place to get the film. If you’re a fan, tell your favorite cons to book us this year!! That’s how you’re gonna get to see it!