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An Afternoon with Sam Raimi

April 3, 2014, 12:00 P.M.

Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall, 3507 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The USC School of Cinematic Arts invites you and a guest to attend

An Afternoon with Sam Raimi

Director of The Evil Dead, Darkman, Army of Darkness, A Simple Plan, Spider-Man 1 - 3, Drag Me To Hell, Oz the Great and Powerful


Presented by CTCS-469 -- "Ultimate Directors Challenge: Peter Jackson vs. Sam Raimi", taught by SCA Critical Studies Professor René Thoreau Bruckner.

12:00 P.M. on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall
3507 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90007



About Sam Raimi

Sam Raimi has directed one the industry’s most successful film franchises ever—the blockbuster “Spider-Man” trilogy, which has grossed $2.5 billion at the global box office. All three films reside in the industry’s Top 25 highest grossing titles of all time. In addition to the franchise’s commercial success, “Spider-Man” (2002) won that year’s People’s Choice Award as Favorite Motion Picture, earned a pair of Oscar® nominations (for VFX and sound) and also collected two GRAMMY® nominations (for Best Score and Chad Kroeger’s song “Hero”). The sequel (2004) won the Academy Award® for Best Visual Effects (with two more nominations, Best Sound and Sound Editing) and two BAFTA nominations (for VFX and sound), among dozens of other honors.

Apart from creating one of Hollywood’s landmark film series, Raimi’s eclectic resume includes the gothic thriller “The Gift,” starring Cate Blanchett, Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves, Greg Kinnear and Giovanni Ribisi; the acclaimed suspense thriller “A Simple Plan,” which starred Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton and Bridget Fonda (for which Thornton earned an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor and Scott B. Smith landed a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay); his baseball homage, “For Love of the Game,” with Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston; the western “The Quick and the Dead,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe and Gene Hackman; and his most recent effort, the supernatural thriller, “Drag Me to Hell,” with Alison Lohman and Justin Long.

Raimi began his career in his native Michigan after directing his own Super 8 movies as a teenager. He left his studies at Michigan State University to form Renaissance Pictures with future producer Rob Tapert and their longtime friend, actor Bruce Campbell, with whom he made his very first feature film, the horror classic, “The Evil Dead” (1982). Financed and produced with investments from local business people and doctors, the film became a hit at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival and spawned a sequel, “Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn” (1987), which, like the original, showcased Raimi’s inventive, imaginative direction and offbeat humor.

Raimi next turned to the fantasy genre, writing and directing the comic book-inspired “Darkman” (1990), starring Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand, then followed with 1993’s “Army of Darkness,” a comic sword and sorcery fantasy starring Bruce Campbell.

The mid-’90s also found Raimi producing two telefilms (with friend and partner Tapert) that would become the genesis of a pair of highly popular syndicated series—“Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” (on which he served as executive producer during the program’s four-year run) and the successful companion series, “Xena: Warrior Princess” which aired from 1995-2001. His television work also includes executive producing the CBS series “American Gothic” and Starz! graphic sword and sandals series, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.”

Raimi continued his collaboration with Tapert in his production company Ghost House Pictures, which produced such films as “The Grudge,” “Boogeyman,” “30 Days of Night,” “The Messengers” and “Possession.”

Raimi’s work has been a favorite on the film festival circuit, with the filmmaker winning a Best Director honor for “Darkman” at the 1990 Sitges-Catalonian Festival in Spain; the Critics Award for “Army of Darkness” at the 1992 Fantasporto Festival in Portugal; the Golden Raven, also for “Army of Darkness,” at the 1992 Brussels International Festival; and a Grand Prize nomination for the same title at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival in France. Raimi himself has also won the Saturn Award twice (“Spider-Man 2,” along with a George Pal Memorial Award) from the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy.


About CTCS-469 Ultimate Directors Challenge: Peter Jackson vs. Sam Raimi

During the Spring 2014 Semester, SCA Critical Studies Professor René Thoreau Bruckner will teach a special auteur cinema course, CTCS-469, analyzing the work of Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi:

Two elite directors: Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi. Both crawled forth from humble cinematic beginnings and clawed their way to the top. And both have joined the ranks of the most successful figures in contemporary film. But which is the ultimate director? By shifting focus back and forth between their bodies of work, students in this course will become experts in questions of style and auteurship before and after the digital turn, into the age of blockbuster-franchise cinema. Screenings include: Evil Dead 2, Dead Alive, A Simple Plan, Heavenly Creatures, Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings, Oz the Great and Powerful, and The Hobbit.


About SCA Critical Studies Professor René Thoreau Bruckner

René Thoreau Bruckner received his Ph.D. in Visual Studies from UC Irvine. He specializes in film history and theory, media archaeology, and visual culture, with a special attraction to the related concepts of time, technology, and invention. His wide-ranging areas of interest include pre-cinematic visual culture, photography, silent/early sound film and sound studies; experimental film and special effects; kung fu cinema; wildlife cinema, animal studies, and cryptozoology; and time travel. He is currently building a research project on the history of time machines.

In addition to USC, Dr. Bruckner has held teaching appointments at Loyola Marymount L.A., SUNY Binghamton, and Oklahome State University. His writing has appeared in the journals Discourse, Spectator, Autopsia, Estudios Visuales, and Octopus. He has guest-edited a special issue of Spectator on "The Instant" and co-edited an issue of Discourse on "The Accident in Cinema." His first book, entitled Disappearance: The Inventions of Cinema, is currently under review.

Check-In & Reservations

This event is free of charge and open exclusively to USC students, faculty, and staff. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 11:40 A.M.

All SCA events are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in Lot M at 34th & Watt Way, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago