"The Evil Dead," with its campy take on the horror genre, established Sam Raimi as a young director to watch when it hit theaters in 1981.
Now, with several Spider-Mans and a track record as one of Hollywood's foremost hit-makers under his belt, Raimi is suing the producers of a planned sequel to the film that helped him make his name.
Renaissance Pictures, the production company Raimi formed with "Evil Dead" producer Robert Tapert and star Bruce Campbell to make the film, is listed as a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court of California, while Award Pictures, the makers of the proposed "Evil Dead" film are listed as defendants.
In court documents, Renaissance claims it holds the copyright to the series of cult films and that it never gave Award Pictures rights to make a new film in the series.
Award Pictures did not return a call requesting comment, but a website for the company does claim to be developing a film called "Evil Dead: Genesis of the Necronomicon."
The suit claims that use of the "Evil Dead" trademark and description will "… will inevitably confuse consumers and the motion picture industry into believing that Renaissance is associated with such motion pictures, when in fact it is not, or that Renaissance has endorsed or approved such motion pictures, when in fact it has not."
Michael Roth, an attorney for Renaissance, did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The "Evil Dead" trilogy that Raimi oversaw centered on a nasty collection of undead creatures created by the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, or book of the dead.
Award Pictures' proposed film would take place in 1912 and center on a new hero, an archeologist named Dr. Ashley, but it would focus on revealing the origin of the Necronomicon.
Renaissance claims that the problem stems from Raimi's desire to co-write and oversee a remake of "Evil Dead." In an attempt to block production, Award Pictures filed a complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last year claiming that it had rights to the film because Raimi had allowed his to expire.
Renaissance is claiming false advertising, injury to business reputation, unfair competition and trademark infringement in its suit. It is seeking a jury trial and is asking for unspecified damages, attorney fees and for an injunction against future use of the "Evil Dead" name.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the suit.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.
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