Can’t wait for the release of the Evil Dead remake? Why not see where it all began. Within the Woods is short film by director Sam Raimi that was created to raise funds for the original movie. It has a familiar plot: a group friends staying at a cabin in the woods desecrate an Indian burial ground and the angry spirits possess them. The group incurs their wrath after Bruce (Bruce Campbell) ignores his own advice and robs the grave of a medicine man. The theme of temping fate would later be revisited in The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II and more recently parodied in The Cabin in the Woods, in which they ignore warnings and recite passages that summon the dead. Many of scenes were also reused including one where Bruce gnaws off his partially severed hand, which was reportedly improvised when it wouldn’t come off.
Within the Woods has never been officially released except once before a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at a Detroit theater in 1979. Multiple reasons have been given such as copyright infringement and owed royalties for the use of the song “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge and a Monopoly game the gets a puzzling amount of screen time but the real reason is most likely the quality of the film. Raimi considers the film amateurish and it hasn’t held up well visually. Originally shot on super 8mm to save money, it was later blown up to 35mm. The only available copy is a grainy VHS circulating on the internet but just imagine your watching The Blair Witch Project.