Within the Woods (1978)

Back before anyone knew who Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and what Evil Dead was, a bunch of guys went into the woods — along with Ellen Sandweiss, Scott Spiegel, Mary Valenti and $1,600 — and made this proof of concept for the cabin in the woods film that would one day define so much of modern horror.

Raimi and Campbell had been making Super 8 movies since they were kids, so this was just the next evolution of their hobby before it became a career. That said, the budget demanded that nearly every special effect was made with off the shelf make-up.

While never commercially released, the film did play one night in Detroit alongside The Rocky Horror Picture Show where it ended up getting reviewed favorably in The Detroit News. It’s never come out even on DVD, as there are royalty issues with the music that was used, such as the Jaws theme.

What this film really served as was a proof of concept, basically a trailer for what Raimi would go on to do later. His friends the Coen Brothers learned the same trick, making a trailer for their movie Blood Simple to show how the movie would work.


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