INTERVIEW: Tom Sullivan!


While the name might not instantly ring a bell, Tom Sullivan’s work definitely will: ever heard of a little film franchise called Evil Dead?  All the crazy special effects that essentially made the Evil Dead films watchable cult hits were created by none other than Mr. Sullivan himself.  The terrifying Cheryl-zombie in the basement, the campy Harryhausen inspired skeleton battles, and the unforgettable Book of the Dead are just a few of the awesome effects supplemented by Tom.  But he isn’t a one-trick pony, no no no.  He’s kept himself plenty busy with all his other endeavors.  In preparation for Chicago’s own Terror in the Aisles 2, Dr. Jose was able to get Mr. Sullivan to talk about what he’s been up to lately and if there is any possibility of another Evil Dead film.

You’ve just recently started acting in films.  What inspired the transition?

As you may know I am an extremely talented illustrated, writer, special effects artist, only exceeded by my modesty. When I was growing up I knew what I wanted to do with my life which was to be an “uber” director.  My idols at the time were Willis O’Brien, Ray Harryhausen, Spielberg and Lucas.  Obie and Harryhausen are masters of all trades. They can draw, paint, sculpt, photograph, create complex effects and of necessity, act and direct film. Lucas and Spielberg can’t. I thought if I could develop skills in the wide panorama of film disciplines I could prepare my movies more thoroughly that Steven or George.  Those skills might be of value in getting films funding.  I have been acting in local theater for decades. I wanted to learn what actors need and observe the process.  The current acting spree has been for my good filmmaking friends who could use someone with some kind of “name” and I’m happy to help.  And, it is a lot of fun.

Speaking of being an “uber” director, it’s also rumored that your first film as a director is in the works.  Can you tell us about that?

Yes I can. It’s a gory ghost story called The Last Ghost Story. No one will need to make another ghost story when we are done.  It’s about 4 college age, female paranormal investigators who find themselves over their heads in supernatural horror. We will be filming next year.

Sam Raimi was supposedly working on an Evil Dead remake and Evil Dead 4.  What are the chances these will ever see the light of day – and will you be involved as you were with all previous entries?

If it happens I’d love to be involved. However the word I’ve heard is that it won’t.   I’d love to see an Evil Dead 4 but I hear that’s not happening either.  Too bad. I’d like to see what happened to Ash after all these years.

Well, with the glut of recent horror remakes, how would you feel about an Evil Dead reboot?

A remake has so much negative response. No Ash. No Bruce. No Sam. No point. As for remakes it seems to be a silly exercise. Just release the original again. Reboots are okay but why not reboot crappy movies with good germs of ideas. I love the title “Teenagers from Outer Space” but I’d create a whole new story. The original film is wonderfully awful. Shame to waste a great title.

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