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March 13, 1987 (United States)

Evil Dead II (also known in publicity materials as Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn) is a 1987 American comedy horror film directed by Sam Raimi, and a parody sequel to the 1981 horror film The Evil Dead. Written by Raimi and Scott Spiegel, Evil Dead II was produced by Robert Tapert and stars Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, who vacations with his girlfriend to a remote cabin in the woods. He discovers an audio tape of recitations from a book of ancient texts, and when the recording is played, it unleashes a number of demons which possess and torment him.

After the critical and commercial failure of Crimewave (1985), Raimi, Tapert and Campbell began work on a sequel to The Evil Dead at the insistence of their publicist Irvin Shapiro. Having endorsed the original film, author Stephen King brought the project to the attention of producer Dino De Laurentiis, with whom he had been making his directorial debut Maximum Overdrive (1986); De Laurentiis agreed to provide financial backing, and assigned the filmmakers a considerably larger budget than they had worked with on the original film. Although Raimi had devised a premise set in the Middle Ages and involving time travel, De Laurentiis requested that the film be similar to its predecessor.

Evil Dead II was shot in Wadesboro, North Carolina and Detroit, Michigan in 1986, and featured extensive stop-motion animation and prosthetic makeup effects created by a team of artists that included Mark Shostrom, Vern Hyde, Doug Beswick, Greg Nicotero and Tom Sullivan, the latter of whom returned from the original film. The finished film was released in the United States on March 13, 1987; due to its high level of violence, it was released through a pseudonymous distributor to curb an anticipated X rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. Like The Evil Dead, it was widely acclaimed by critics, with praise being reserved for its humor, Raimi's direction and Campbell's performance; despite being given a somewhat limited release, it was a minor box office success, grossing just under $6 million in the US alone.

As with the first film, Evil Dead II has accumulated a large, international cult following. A direct sequel utilizing Raimi's original premise, Army of Darkness, followed in 1992. It was later followed by a soft reboot and continuation, Evil Dead, which was released in 2013, and a television series, Ash vs Evil Dead, which aired from 2015 to 2018.

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