"Evil Dead: The Musical" collaborates with Hollywood special effects artist. Courtesy of No Name Players

Pittsburgh-based theater company No Name Players (NNP) is taking on their most ambitious production to date—”Evil Dead: The Musical.” And in the process, they have created one of the more unusual Kickstarter campaigns locally.

In order to recreate the horrifying scenes onstage, No Name Players is bringing in an expert: award-winning, Hollywood-caliber special effects artist Steve Tolin.

Tolin has worked on films like “Adventureland”, “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises”, “Jack Reacher” and “Warrior.” When he got wind of the special effects NNP had in store, the Pittsburgh-based artist signed up right away.

“I read the script and it is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever read,” Tolin says on his Tolin FX’s blog earlier this month. “And it is completely full of crazy blood and make-up effects. We’ve been working on them for a couple weeks now and the shop is full of demons, blood sprayers, shotgun rigs, chainsaw parts, and electro-magnetic solenoids.”

“Evil Dead: The Musical” is a comedic retelling of the cult classic 1980’s films, “Evil Dead”, “Evil Dead 2” and “Army of Darkness”, directed by Sam Raimi. The plot surrounds five college students who go to an abandoned cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash an evil force—turning them into demons.

“This project is really letting us push our live on-stage special effects to new levels,” says Tolin on his blog. “We will premiere our new dagger stabbing rig that creates an effect where a person may be stabbed clear through such that the blade tip exits the opposite side of the body. When the dagger is removed the blade disappears back into the body.”

With the weather warming up, Tolin says he’s going to test the blood sprayers outside.

Director Don DiGiulio says there will even be a blood splatter zone so depending on where you sit in the audience, you are likely to get doused with blood  in the zone.

“When we first met he told me this is a special effects artist’s dream,” says DiGiulio noting that there’s an effect involving an actor cutting his hand off with a chainsaw onstage.

DiGiullo says he’s always wanted to work with Tolin. But live theater is a little different from the movies.

“Most of the work I do is in the movies and the work is very calculated,” says Tolin. “With theater, you’ve got only one take. Even though the special effects are similar to what I do on camera, when you put that in front of people at a live show, it’s a different creature.”

The company’s Kickstarter fundraising goal is $6,660 and they’ve surpassed the halfway point with $3,480 raised thus far. 

“We’ve been playing with some new blood recipes to get our costs down because there is going to be sooooooo much blood,” cracks Tolin.

“Look, this show requires a lot of blood. And gore. And severed limbs. And shotgun wounds. And a talking moose head,” promotes the nonprofit organization on their Kickstarter campaign.

“Evil Dead: The Musical” opens Friday the 13th of June (yeah, we saw that one coming) and runs until June 28 at Off the Wall Theater, 25 W Main Street, Carnegie 15106. Purchase tickets here.

Amanda King

Amanda King is a freelance multimedia journalist whose work can be seen on MSNBC.COM and a number of local publications, from the Post-Gazette to the Beaver County Times. A former journalist for the Bucks...