Evil Dead Rise Horror Film Sound Design Asbjoern Andersen


Horror film Evil Dead Rise is a cinematic experience that makes full use of the Dolby Atmos surround format – with action sounds happening in the overheads, demonic vocals swirling around the theater, and music stems intermingling with sound design that's panned around the room. Fans of the Evil Dead films will not be disappointed.

Here, sound designer/supervising sound editor Peter Albrechtsen, dialogue editor/re-recording mixer Garret Farrell, and re-recording mixer Gabriel Gutiérrez talk about paying homage to the original films, exploring new sounds for this film (like unique vocal processing for the Deadites), and experimenting with the design and mix to make Evil Dead Rise a fun horror adventure.


Interview by Jennifer Walden, photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
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The Evil Dead films have always taken horror to the extreme – with creative gore-filled scenes and unrelenting demons. The latest release in the franchise, Evil Dead Rise, directed by Lee Cronin and executive produced by Bruce Campbell, delivers on both with a Dolby Atmos mix that also isn’t afraid to get extreme.

The film’s sound team – led by sound designer/supervising sound editor Peter Albrechtsen and mixed by dialogue editor/re-recording mixer Garret Farrell, and re-recording mixer Gabriel Gutiérrez – doesn’t hold back when it comes to stomach-churning gore, terrifying demon vocals, chainsaws and wood chippers, and tidal waves of blood. And they don’t hold back on the Atmos mix, putting action sounds in the overheads (like the main character Ellie crawling through the ventilation ducts), widening the sound out into the theater when the screen goes dark, crafting swarms of bugs, demonic vocals, and music stems that swirl around the surrounds. It’s a cinematic experience that may be hard to replicate at home.

Here, Albrechtsen, Farrell, and Gutiérrez talk about paying homage to the original films by using some of those iconic sounds, creating new sounds based on the originals, taking a new approach to the Deadite vocals, recording gore sounds at home during Covid, crafting intense and enveloping sequences in the Atmos mix, finding definition in each scene so it’s not an overwhelming wall of sound, and so much more!



Evil Dead Rise – Official Trailer (Green Band)


Evil Dead Rise – Official Trailer (Green Band)

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Dialogue editor/re-recording mixer Garret Farrell

Evil Dead Rise was so much fun to experience in the theater! I love that you didn’t hold anything back in the mix, sending the effects and music all around the surrounds and into the overheads in the Dolby Atmos mix…

Garret Farrell (GF): It was a lot of fun to get into that mix; there’s a lot of detail in there. It was great that it actually came out in the theaters as opposed to going out in a streamer first. A movie like this needs to be seen with other people, to experience their reactions and the energy in the room with that craziness going on.

Gabriel Gutiérrez (GG): When we started the final mix, the film was going to be released straight to HBO Max, but the plan was to perform a full theatrical Dolby Atmos mix since there were still some options that it could have a theatrical release. We were hoping that it was going to theaters because this film – how important the sound is in this story in how it was written and directed for all this sound design – is really meant to be a theatrical experience.

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Re-recording mixer Gabriel Gutiérrez

It was a blast of news when we were told that it would have a theatrical distribution worldwide. We felt so rewarded because we knew there were a huge amount of amazing moments for the audience to enjoy in a dark theater with no control of the volume.

 

How early did you start on the film, and how did that impact the role of sound in the film? Can you talk about your collaboration with director Lee Cronin?

Peter Albrechtsen (PA): I was the first one from the post-sound team to be contacted about the film, and that was before they started shooting the film in New Zealand.

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Sound designer Peter Albrechtsen; photo by: Povl Thomsen

When I read the script, it was filled with sound and sonic descriptions. Lee, as a director and as a scriptwriter, is so much into sound. It’s not just that he wants sound to be something special; sound is actually a part of his storytelling. There are so many scenes in the film that are about sound – everything from specific sounds like the vinyls to the way the characters are hearing stuff off-screen. There’s so much sound going on. When Lee and I talked, from the very beginning, we just hit it off because our passion for sound was so contagious.

It was super important for me to have someone with me in Ireland, where post sound was being done, so Garret also came on board quite early. This was a giant dialogue job. Not only was there ADR and dialogue editing, which was a big job because there was all this action going on during the shoot, but at the same time, there were all these designed voices and manipulations that needed to be done. I knew we needed someone that’s really great at this and Garret is extremely creative and musical. When looking for collaborators, that’s always what I’m looking for: creativity and musicality. There’s this feeling of, ‘Okay, we are going to be on a ride together, is this going to be fun?’ And it was a lot of fun!

When looking for collaborators, that’s always what I’m looking for: creativity and musicality.

Garret and I did some pre-mixes together, and then Gabriel came in for the actual mix. We were mixing for about eight weeks, including the premix.

Gabriel and I also talked very early. For quite a few years, there’s been a lot of amazing Spanish horror movies coming out and Gabriel has been doing some incredible work on a lot of those. Gabriel and I had never met in person before we met on the mix stage, though, but after just a couple of days, we were totally in sync – if I was suggesting something, Gabriel was often already doing it. There was this feeling of being a very tight unit.

Gabriel, who mixed sound effects and foley, came in for the mix with fresh ears, and that was really great because at that point I had been on the film for six months. He could pick and choose between the many layers, elements, and options that were in the several hundreds of tracks I brought to the mix stage. A set of fresh ears on the mix stage is always incredibly important and especially on a project like this.

A set of fresh ears on the mix stage is always incredibly important and especially on a project like this.

During the first half of the edit, it was me and my assistant Mikkel Nielsen, who worked full time on the film; we were working from Copenhagen. Sound effects editor Charles Maynes was helping now and then. Since the film takes place in Los Angeles, I wanted to have an effects editor from over there on the film and Charles is simply brilliant.

Then when we got close to picture lock, the rest of the team joined us for the last two months while I was in Dublin – Charles and two other effect editors, an ADR editor, and then the brilliant foley team in Ireland led by foley artist Caoimhe Doyle.

And for the mix, it was the three of us – Garret, Gabriel, and me – having a lot of fun. There is no Dolby Atmos stage in Ireland, so we mixed the film in Copenhagen at the mix stage at Mainstream which has a terrific Meyer speaker setup.

 

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Right from the opening scene, with the sound of demonic voices coming through the woods and transitioning into the sound of the drone, it was obvious that this was going to be an incredible sonic experience. Can you talk about the sound of that opening scene?

PA: When I got this job, one of the first things I got was a hard drive with digitized sounds from the first two Evil Dead movies (the actual raw files of sound effects from the first two movies). And so the opening sound is the sound for these crazy camera rides – we call them the ‘force shots’ – from the original. It’s a very iconic Evil Dead sound, from the Evil Dead films I grew up with.

So we had the original sound there as one element, but it was evident that we needed to build on that because it sounded old. So we used some of the old sounds, and then Lee did some different vocal elements for that opening. I also did some voice stuff. And there are all kinds of other sounds thrown in there, weird vocals and wind effects.

GG: There were definitely a few tracks in there.

…one of the first things I got was a hard drive with digitized sounds from the first two ‘Evil Dead’ movies (the actual raw files of sound effects from the first two movies).

PA: We wanted to get the feel of the original, but also make it big and enveloping, really building it up in Atmos so that you got this feeling of being totally enveloped by this sound.

Then it’s revealed visually to be just a drone. Composer Stephen McKeon had music coming in during that opening, but then during the mix, we have the music coming out of that sound at the end.

GF: The music is only evident at the very end, for that big crescendo as the drone flies over our heads. There’s just a big brass rise at the end to give it extra power. It’s actually playing all the way; it’s just totally integrated with the sound effects.

GG: The opening scene is like a statement at the beginning of the film. The sound of that Evil Dead force and how it transforms into the drone, the way it was designed and developed, is brilliant. It’s really great that the film starts with something that feels supernatural and then it reveals to be a huge blend into the drone.

We were fine-tuning that moment and it got so extremely loud because we were coming back to it and making everything louder.

There are a lot of tracks in there, a lot of great ideas. The first design and premix that Peter and Garret had done was really powerful. And all throughout the mix, we kept coming back to the first scene to add more stuff, like what Peter was recording and vocals from the director and so forth. We were fine-tuning that moment and it got so extremely loud because we were coming back to it and making everything louder. And one day, Peter came over and said, ‘Hey, let’s pull it down at the start of the film because maybe it’s too much.’

That probably gave us a lot more definition, which is something we’re always aiming for. There were a huge amount of layers in there and we want to have definition so you can feel the different elements, as opposed to it being a wall of sound.

Tonebenders: The sound of Evil Dead Rise:

The team at The Tonebenders take you behind the sound of Evil Dead Rise in this interview with Lee Cronin & Peter Albrechtsen:


GF: Those were the only effects in the film that ever got turned down.

GG: I think so, too (laughing).

PA: For this film, we worked a lot on transitions in general. Throughout the whole film, there are so many ways that we go from one soundscape into another, and we really played around with that.

Often a sound pushes you out of a scene and extends a little bit into the next one, or the other way around…

Because of the way that Lee wrote these scenes, there is so much sound. Often a sound pushes you out of a scene and extends a little bit into the next one, or the other way around so there’s something dragging you from the scene before into the next scene. From the script stage, Lee has been thinking about how to build up these things and it creates this amazing flow throughout the film which also gives you the feeling that the intensity never stops.

 

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The vocal processing on Evil Dead Rise was amazing. I love how the processing changes even as someone is delivering their line. Can you talk about your approach to vocal processing and what you used to create it?

GF: Our biggest performer is Alyssa Sutherland, who plays Ellie. Her transformation ebbs and flows and our thought was that when she became a Deadite, she was able to control how much demon was inside her and she was able to use that to play the characters against each other. So sometimes she sounds nearly normal and then her voice changes throughout a line, which is even creepier that she’s able to move it around.

…I really wanted to save and preserve Alyssa’s performance…We wanted to do as little damage to that as possible with pitching and processing.

We could have got really demon-y with her voice and have lots of bass and low end, but I really wanted to save and preserve Alyssa’s performance, which is incredible. We wanted to do as little damage to that as possible with pitching and processing.

One of the things Lee said to me was, ‘I want to hear her rotting from the inside.’ So that got me thinking that along with some pitching and manipulations, I could run her vocals through iZotope De-crackle and De-clip, and then run the results of that through a volume envelope follower. That would give me all these garbley, sucky sounds, which I played up underneath her lines. This is the kind of stuff that you’d normally be trying to take out of dialogue.

AMPS Podcast: An Audio Interview with Peter Albrechtsen

 

In this episode of the AMPS Podcast, Martyn Harries talks to Peter Albrechtsen about the sound design for Evil Dead Rise:


The processing sounds like rotting flesh in her mouth. You still get her great performance and it’s not being affected too much…

The processing sounds like rotting flesh in her mouth. You still get her great performance and it’s not being affected too much, so at times, we just have her play flat with no pitching. Then through the delivery of the line, we could just pitch it down and introduce these horrible sounds as she gets creepier. It gave a great dynamic to her performance because you never knew what way she was going to be. She played the kids against each other in that way, using that kind of device. It was really nice to be able to do that.

 

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And you took the same approach for Jessica in the beginning of the film, as she’s delivering that passage from Wuthering Heights? And what about Bridget’s vocal processing?

GF: Yes, it was the same for Jessica. Exactly. She starts off as herself, and then as she progresses through the lines, she gets deeper and weirder. And then for her final line, she’s full-on demon when she pulls off Teresa’s scalp.

…we harked back a bit to the original movies where there’s a double pitch – a layer of higher pitch, one of lower pitch, and then her regular pitch in there.

But for Bridget, we treated her slightly differently in that we harked back a bit to the original movies where there’s a double pitch – a layer of higher pitch, one of lower pitch, and then her regular pitch in there. So her processing is more traditional Deadite.

We didn’t want to do that with Alyssa because she had so many lines, whereas Bridget only has a handful of lines so I thought it was nice to have a throwback to the old movies. With Ellie though, we wanted to break new ground and try something different with her.

PA: In addition, I remember very early on doing two ADR sessions with Alyssa, just getting her to do all kinds of weird sounds. She could do all these throaty, weird, devilish sounds. So some of that is playing around the dialogue to create the feeling of this demonic entity that is making these small, breathy and saliva-filled mouth sounds.

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Evil Dead Rise vocal recording – Peter Albrechtsen, Jenny Rossander, Lee Cronin, Bruce Campbell

Then, the further you get into the film, the more we shift into using a voice actor for the voice, especially for the more beastly stuff towards the end. There is this Danish singer named Jenny Rossander (aka Lydmor), who I worked with previously. She’s actually a pop singer, but she can do these amazing things with her voice. So we got her to do lots of stuff. The more beastly it gets, the more it turns into Jenny’s vocal performance.

Also, here and there throughout the film, I wanted the demon voice to be an element that we played with in other places. For example, when Danny drips blood on the book and it seeps into it, the sound of the blood going into the book is actually a sound from Jenny’s voice. Even at the very beginning when the New Line logo comes up, you hear her weird voice saying sounds up there.

Lee said that instead of just using a lot of animal and monster sounds, he wanted this to be very organic. He talked about The Exorcist as a reference because in The Exorcist, when the little girl turns into a demon, it’s actually the voice of an old woman, Mercedes McCambridge, and it makes it super creepy because the voice is human. He wanted the same thing here, even when it turns really beastly toward the end.

… the sound of the blood going into the book is actually a sound from Jenny’s voice.

I actually did a pass for the ending where I was using animal sounds and Lee said, ‘It needs to be human.’ So I played these animal sounds for Jenny and she replicated them with her own voice. Jenny took my weird, animal elements and turned them into a human performance. That worked really well.

 

Garret, you mentioned the scalp-ripping-off scene, and that was gruesome. Can you talk about the horror and gore sounds for the film? Did you record a bunch of new sounds? Or, were there helpful gore libraries you pulled from? Did foley contribute to the gore sounds as well?

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Recording sounds for Ellie’s body with assistant sound designer Mikkel Nielsen

PA: Generally for this film, we recorded so many sound effects. We did the whole thing during Covid, so we couldn’t really get out and record lots of stuff in big public spaces, but we could record a lot of things in our apartments and houses, which was great because the whole film takes place in an apartment.

We recorded everything from creaking floors and all kinds of rattles, different machines and engines, lots of different fluids, and, of course, a couple of chainsaws. And then we recorded sounds for the splatty gore. We worked with the classic elements of fruit, tomatoes, and mandarins, using celery for bones and crackles. There’s also some spaghetti bolognese in there.

So, in that way, those were the classic tricks. But a lot of the things I reversed, so they’re playing both forward and backward at the same time, layered on top of each other.

That gives it this weird feeling of a natural sound that’s also supernatural at the same time. It worked really well, especially for all of Ellie’s movements, those sounds play forward and backward at the same time and give it a special demonic feel.

 


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Another horrifically awesome scene was Bridget chewing the wine glass. I loved it! It’s exactly how you’d imagine it would sound if someone were chewing on a wine glass…

GF: That was pretty horrific.

Lee and producer Bruce Campbell, who were both a part of the sound editing and mixing, are really great experts in the matter of gore.

GG: Lee and producer Bruce Campbell, who were both a part of the sound editing and mixing, are really great experts in the matter of gore. Especially on the scalping scene, Lee wanted to play it up. I recall doing several different passes to try to get the right sound. We would do a combination of Peter’s sounds, at different levels. It was an extensive track lay, and foley had their version as well. We’d do different combinations and present the result, and Peter and Lee would evaluate them – could be louder, could be sharper, could be longer or shorter. We spent quite some time on that scalp moment, and the wine glass eating as well.

I recall Bruce coming up and saying, ‘Let’s get more of that. Let’s get more blood. Let’s get more gore.’ They know how far we should go. Especially for Evil Dead, you want to go all the way. That’s really cool because you don’t get a lot of chances to do something that is so punk rock.

 

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There were so many terrific gore scenes, like Bridget using the cheese grater on Beth’s leg…

GF: Gabriel still has a limp after that one.

PA: Yeah, haha!

GG: You can’t get more fun than that. In a scene like that, when they’re fighting in the kitchen, we would stop at every single action. There’s a closeup of the cheese grater coming up and then the big hit. We would spend quite some time in every single move, every single hit, every single rip, and always on the blood. That is so much fun, it’s really special to do if you like this genre.

We would spend quite some time in every single move, every single hit, every single rip, and always on the blood.

GF: The funny thing with the cheese grater was some of the visual effects in it. We kept getting new picture and it got grosser and more horrible and nastier. Even though we didn’t change the sound, it just grew into this horrible moment.

We had a nickname for the cheese grater scene: leg-guini.

GG: Yeah, that was pretty gross.

PA: Lee has this philosophy for sound where every moment has to have a distinct sound. So instead of having just a constant attack of sound, it’s short, precise attacks all the time. It creates this extreme dynamic where every little tiny moment counts. Sometimes it’s just one small movement that’s really given a sonic signature.

…every moment has to have a distinct sound. So instead of having just a constant attack of sound, it’s short, precise attacks all the time.

A lot of sonic detail is put into every little thing so that it doesn’t become just one big wall of noise. It becomes these really sharp, really powerful, constant attacks, which I think was really helpful for us. Otherwise, it would’ve been unbearable to watch this film because it would’ve been so loud all the time. This idea of making every single moment count makes the track very dynamic. It’s still very overwhelming, but it has this attention to detail that Lee is amazing at achieving.

 

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Any tips to share on getting that clarity in the really gory scenes, so that it doesn’t become a big, mucky mess sonically?

GG: When I got involved on the project, they had already worked for months. What I saw – the first time I watched the film – was their latest and I was really amazed. It was so good. I thought the sound design was brilliant; it was so strong and powerful and so rich. My job in the mix was to try to find definition and direction. There were so many brilliant sound design ideas in there, so many ways to build it. So, in a way, we had to choose what we wanted the audience to hear.

My job in the mix was to try to find definition and direction…we had to choose what we wanted the audience to hear.

First, I would have to listen and just follow my instincts, I’d do some cleaning in a sense to get definition and to get as much dynamics as we could. We had to really focus on when to go strong, and when to go silent, to bring in the full dynamics of the soundscape that was built. So we went through the mix sound by sound. We never did a rough pass. Because there was so much amazing work in there, we had to go through each detail, one by one. We looked at the dialogue in the scene, what Garrett had done, and then the music and the effects. Is this an effects-driven moment?

So we went through the mix sound by sound. We never did a rough pass.

So we would go sound by sound and find definition and dynamics in every scene. We had to decide when to save some sections to go louder because you can’t go full volume at all times. The film has been written and directed with passages that allow you to come lower, and have a ‘relaxing moment’ – or rather, in this film, a low section.

Then you could feel the details of the environment. It’s always raining in the film, which is fantastic. Every room had a different rain sound to it. You could feel the rain closer to the window at times, and you get a sense of a huge amount of detail. You get to calm down and then boom! We try to surprise the audience, to do something really effective.

As Peter was saying, it’s not just a big hit. It’s a big hit made out of sharp components that have definition and personality. There’s a personality for every single event that happens. So throughout the final mix, we would find what sounds should drive each action or each moment.

 

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Another gory moment with a lot of personality was the industrial wood chipper. What went into that? (No pun intended.)

PA: Actually, we went out and recorded a wood chipper. We got hold of a really big one. Because it’s such a noisy sound, we needed to get different perspectives of the machine.

We were moving the mic around it so we could have different versions of the sound. Some recordings had more of the rattling metal, and some were more of the wood being chucked out.

You get this feeling of the organic power of a real wood chipper, but it’s also something extraordinarily evil.

All these different elements went into this and there are other layers on top of that, of course. There are different mechanical sounds. In several places in this film, I used The Cargo Cult’s plugin called Envy. This allows you to take one sound and shape it so that it takes the form of another sound.

So I found some mechanical sounds that would work for the wood chipper and then put in another sound, such as screaming noise or weird stuff, that then takes the shape of the wood chipper sounds so that it feels like it’s part of the machine.

It’s actually quite an alien sound. You get this feeling of the organic power of a real wood chipper, but it’s also something extraordinarily evil. We did that for a lot of things in the film where we took an original sound and then built on that with different layers.

GG: It really felt like a creature in a way, like it’s a big, mechanical animal. It feels alive.

 



The Sound of Evil Dead Rise | The #DolbyInstitute Podcast


The Sound of Evil Dead Rise | The #DolbyInstitute Podcast

There are so many fun, gory moments in the film. Was there a scene that was hard for you to work on because it was so stomach-turning?

PA: The funny thing about doing a film like this is that when you get to the mix and all the elements are in place, you can really feel how powerful it is and how intense it is. But as you shape the track during the editorial process, and you work with picture that doesn’t have any sound effects to it yet, it wasn’t very scary. It’s when you put in all these sound effects that it suddenly becomes very scary.

…you work with picture that doesn’t have any sound effects to it yet, it wasn’t very scary. It’s when you put in all these sound effects that it suddenly becomes very scary.

I remember an interview with film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and she was asked, ‘Isn’t it really hard doing all Martin Scorsese’s violent movies?’ And she answered, ‘They aren’t really violent until I’ve edited them.’ I sometimes feel the same about a movie like Evil Dead Rise because a lot of it is built up through the sound.

We had an amazing collaboration with picture editor Bryan Shaw, who’s really good at adding all the sounds that we made into the track, and also coming up with new ideas. There was this great collaboration with composer Stephen McKeon. He was also there from the start. He did temp music along the way, and he was part of the process. He heard the sounds we were doing; he heard the premixes that Garrett and I did. And he reacted to those when he was composing so that made music and sound come together in a great way.


Sound highlight - article continues below:

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The music mix was really big. Because so much of it was recorded during Covid, things were split apart in the music. Garrett did an amazing job on the music mix.

GF: Stephen delivered an incredible amount of stems, which was great. It gave us a lot of flexibility to move things around the room in Atmos, which was really cool because that gave us space for everything.

I had great flexibility with Stephen’s music…I was panning things left and right and back and up to the ceiling and down again.

You were asking about clarity in a mix; having the ability to move things around the room in that way, to have a place in the room for every sound, is so helpful. I had great flexibility with Stephen’s music. I was able to move it around and I was panning things left and right and back and up to the ceiling and down again. This helped to give a pulse to some of the action sequences while also not stepping all over the sound effects.

As Peter was saying, sometimes you can’t even tell what is sound design and what is music in this movie because Stephen was influenced by Peter’s sound and vice versa. They both just gel together in such an amazing way and just have such impact.

PA: There are several places where the music is actually mixed like it’s a sound effect, like when the demonic Ellie is panicking in the bathtub and there are a couple of underwater shots, the music is also EQ’d as if that is underwater as well. Treatments like that really made the music and sound design melt together.

 

EvilDeadRise_sound-13

One of the sequences where sound and music worked so well (and again, where you go full-on with the panning) was in the underground bank vault. There are swarms of insects and clanking crosses that sounded like wind chimes. It was such an amazing moment…

PA: That was actually one of the difficult scenes to do sound-wise because there was this weird, ghostly sound that Lee wanted. It had to feel musical, but also feel haunting – like a wooden creak or something, but it couldn’t just feel like a creak.

I tried all kinds of things and couldn’t find the right sound. So I talked with Caoimhe Doyle, the foley artist, who had this weird tool that was built from old wood and it could make these weird sounds. Lee, Bruce, and I went to Caoimhe’s studio and she was performing that sound live, and Lee was really excited about it. That was the right sound. It took several months to find that sound.

Additionally, the wind down there in the vault is actually the wind that you hear in the cabin in the first two ‘Evil Dead’ movies, especially ‘Evil Dead II’.

Additionally, the wind down there in the vault is actually the wind that you hear in the cabin in the first two Evil Dead movies, especially Evil Dead II. There’s this wind inside the cabin and that’s the wind that’s playing in the vault. There are several places in the film where we have those kinds of references to the old movies.

GG: Regarding the sound immersion in the film, I am really happy how we used the Dolby Atmos format in the mix. We had all worked in the format before for theatrical Atmos mixes, but in this movie, it’s very different because of how vertical the film is. It takes place in an apartment building that is connected through an elevator. So things are going up and down; the characters are looking up and there are a lot of opportunities to use the overheads for action sounds and not just ambient sounds.

We had all worked in the format before for theatrical Atmos mixes, but in this movie, it’s very different because of how vertical the film is.

It was really helpful to work in the Atmos format because, as Garret was saying, we had a huge amount of elements, and using the entire room allowed us to fit in almost everything. We weren’t fighting so much to find room for each component – for the dialogue, vocal sound design, demons, music, sound effects, and foley. We could find room for everything.

Some scenes are really Atmos-driven, like the one where Ellie is crawling around in the ventilation ducts. All the characters are looking up, so that gives us a lot of freedom to create with sound in the overheads. It feels real because the characters are looking up and listening to sounds happening overhead, as opposed to us trying to use the overheads when it’s not really activated from within the picture. In this film, everything’s activated from within the picture. You have closeups of the speakers. You have closeups of the vinyl records, and we hear the voices coming from those places.

…other times you don’t really want to point out where the sounds are coming from. They come from everywhere…

Another crucial factor of this film, which allows us to make the sound really wide, is darkness.
When the film gets dark and you’re in a dark theater, then the sound becomes fully alive. In a way, it takes over. Sometimes you want to focus on where the sounds are coming from – for example, overhead in the ventilation – but other times you don’t really want to point out where the sounds are coming from. They come from everywhere, which I think is really cool for the audience to enjoy when things go dark. It was really amazing to work in the Atmos format, with all this sound design. It was fantastic.

PA: The scriptwriting is so much about sound; the actors are playing it as though they’re listening and that opens up lots of opportunities for the sound team.

 

EvilDeadRise_sound-14

If you had to pick a scene or moment that you’re most proud of in Evil Dead Rise, what scene would you pick and why?

GF: The incantation from the vinyl is probably the biggest, dialogue design section. We wanted the incantation to grow and to get bigger and bigger. Lee shot this with sound in mind. He goes in close-up on the speakers and the cones moving in and out.

Ultimately, it starts with a mono voice, and we’re trying to fill the room with it. So I had to do a lot of processing to widen that voice out, make it bigger and boomier. I processed it through various stereo wideners and pitchers. And I added lots of distortion as well.

…So I had to do a lot of processing to widen that voice out, make it bigger and boomier.

Actually, we used a lot of distortion in this movie. Usually, distortion is not what you want to put into a movie, but we decided this was going to be a big creative element using distortion. There were a lot of distorted elements. I then fed the priest’s voice through a sub-harmonic generator and then put that through the main L-C-R speakers. And I used the Envy plugin to create all these other elements and follow his main voice with it. I was able to pan all those things around the room and just make this massive voice as the incantation happens. So that’s probably one of my proudest moments because it just feels huge.

PA: For me, I’m so happy with the amount of details and the silences in the track. I love the bathtub scene with Ellie screaming. That wasn’t Alyssa Sutherland screaming, actually. A few years back, I did another horror film and I wanted to have some really crazy screams, so I found this woman who could do all these incredible screams. She has this amazing power in her voice.

I got hold of these electromagnetic recordings of weird futzing sounds that are then pitched to fit with the scream.

Also, because the Deadites have this influence over electricity, I created all these weird electrical sounds for this film. I got hold of these electromagnetic recordings of weird futzing sounds that are then pitched to fit with the scream. So as the scream continues, there is this electrical sound in there. Those two go together and it creates this feeling of intensity just rising and rising.

And there’s the water boiling in the tub and the mirror is breaking. Then, when she closes her mouth, it just becomes dead quiet. There’s zero sound in the soundtrack, and then she falls into the bathtub. I really loved that whole sequence.

I love how it develops up to where she becomes a Deadite. I thought that was a really amazing moment.

GG: Going from the incantation moment, which is extremely cool, we fly into the city and in through the elevator door where Ellie is standing. The elevator starts going up very fast and then comes crashing down. The next scene could be one of my favorites in the film, right after the crash in the elevator, the picture goes dark and everything goes silent. We start from silence in the dark and we slowly build up all these amazing noises that Peter had cut. There’s an amazing crescendo of sound design. It’s dark and then the lights start to flicker and we start hearing small little sounds here and there. Those turn into almost vocal, creature-type sounds so Ellie starts looking around and then she gets hit. I love how it develops up to where she becomes a Deadite. I thought that was a really amazing moment.

PA: That’s actually one of the sequences we did several passes on throughout the process, in editorial and mix. We thought about how much music should play, how much sound design should there be, and how quiet could we be. How loud should we get? We tried a lot of different versions.

I thought that it would be fun to have the demonic powers from the first two films be the ones that show up in ‘Evil Dead Rise.’

The sounds for the demonic force – up to the moment when Ellie screams, ‘Shut the f**k up!’ – are actually sounds from the first two films. I thought that it would be fun to have the demonic powers from the first two films be the ones that show up in Evil Dead Rise.

From there, it just goes crazy with these elevator cables coming down. In a way, that’s a reference to the trees in the first movie. The sound of the cables is actually a sound that Jenny did. So again, some of these sounds are made with the mouth, but then it turns into this weird stuff.

It was such an amazing team and you could feel that everyone was going in the same direction, aiming for the same ideas.

Gabriel did an amazing job of building all that and making it very enveloping, but also going quiet. There’s this shot where Ellie gets her earring torn out and it’s just ouch! That’s a tough one.

GG: Something amazing about this mix – and this doesn’t always happen like this – was this really great communion of people on the mix stage. It was such an amazing team and you could feel that everyone was going in the same direction, aiming for the same ideas. Lee and Peter were enhancing every decision and taking the right direction. Sometimes what happens in some mixes, when trying to make things better, we start to make things worse. It’s difficult to identify when you stop improving the track. In the Evil Dead Rise mix, there was such an amazing harmony between everyone in the room that we felt that we were always making the right decisions.

 

EvilDeadRise_sound-15

Chainsaw recordings – with sound effects editor Thomas Perez-Pape

Excellent work on this film! There are so many great sound moments – like the Deadite chorus of ‘Dead by dawn!’ and ‘No way out!’ before Beth and Kassie jump into the elevator. Then the screen goes dark and you hear the cables snapping and falling. It was really incredible how sound was integrated into the story, and how fearless and experimental you were able to be with the mix…

PA: That was another sequence that we were constantly refining. The sound of the elevator cables is actually a big elastic band that we recorded in Mikkel Nielsen’s living room, just making these twanging sounds. It was one of these things where you try to find the perfect sound and it actually comes out of a recording from a living room of a big elastic band. It just works so well. I love that.

A lot of crazy sonic experiments actually ended in the final film.

Again, it’s one of these moments where it gets louder and louder and louder, and then it gets super quiet and we have a little ding from the elevator before the doors open and release this explosion of blood. I worked on the film for eight months and this meant that we had time to really experiment with moments like these and that was invaluable. A lot of crazy sonic experiments actually ended in the final film. Lee had a strong vision for the film from the very beginning but he is also very open for inspiring input which makes him an amazing collaborator and fearless leader.

I was a teenage fan of Evil Dead, so making this movie was a dream come true. I think the entire sound team delivered amazing work. And I am so happy that the film is already having a lot of success in cinemas worldwide. Thanks to all the fans out there.

 

A big thanks to Peter Albrechtsen, Garret Farrell, and Gabriel Gutiérrez for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the sound of Evil Dead Rise and to Jennifer Walden for the interview!

 

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