The Evil Dead Franchise is one of the most beloved horror franchises, so to celebrate the ascension of the hotly anticipated Evil Dead Rise, a whole 10 years later since the last film, we wanted to give fans something special: A chance to immerse and immortalise themselves in the extended universe, by becoming part of the famed Necronomicon: Book of the Dead - an ancient relic which possessed those who read it with demonic spirits.
Our aim was to make this version of the iconic Necronomicon the symbol of the digital campaign. To do so, we were tasked with creating an authentic digital replica of the infamous book which the movie's dedicated horror fan base could interact with before the movie’s release in UK cinemas.
Each Evil Dead movie contains a slightly different book design, filled with hand drawn demonic illustrations. When fans opened our digital replica for themselves, we enabled them to become the demons within it. With our custom AI image model generator, users could transform themselves into a unique, illustrative 'deadite,’ faithful to the franchise's aesthetic and legendary Necronomicon.
…Enter, Evil AI; the world’s first demon generator.
To breathe life to the Book of the Dead, our team dipped into the Evil Dead archive. Our first step was to curate a library of Deadite illustrations from the tainted text. These illustrations served as an art direction guide, informing the training of our powerful custom Stable Diffusion model using ControlNet to ensure likeness to the user.
The development process presented numerous technical challenges. Primarily we needed to ensure the transformations produced by our AI were authentic and faithful to the aesthetic of the Evil Dead franchise. We conducted extensive internal testing, experimenting with various text-to-image prompts and tweaking parameters to authentically capture the hand-drawn, crimson-red visual style that evoked fear and felt instantly shareable. Achieving this required multiple iterations and adjustments to the model.
Once the overall aesthetic of our avant-garde diffusion model was established, our focus shifted to web integration. Ensuring seamless compatibility between the AI model, and the photobooth image upload/capture feature this integration was crucial for generating lifelike transformations of user-submitted photos into 'deadite' versions of themselves.
A significant challenge we encountered during this phase was ensuring consistency across diverse skin tones and hair types. We conducted rigorous testing under different lighting conditions and contrasting backgrounds to strike a balance between realism and avant-garde impressions. This involved fine tuning the processing of the input image and refining the intensity of our AI model to accommodate various user inputs.
Collaboration with filmmakers played a pivotal role in our project. By engaging with our client throughout the experience, we ensured that our AI captured the essence of this much-loved horror franchise and fulfilled fan expectations. Working across teams, all insights and feedback helped us to refine our approach and fine-tune our AI model to align with the iconic horror aesthetic of the franchise.
Throughout the development process, we worked hard to ensure usability and performance worked together with our AI engine. Further to this was the optimising of loading and processing times which were streamlined and efficient allowing for a seamless ‘bleed-through’ style transition once the user’s final image was visualised on the paper parchment at the end of the experience.
To fully realise Evil AI, our 3D artists modelled and animated a digital copy of the Book of the Dead, and buried it in an exclusive audio recording of the sinister scripture to add an element of discovery and further heighten the fan experience.
Evil AI provided fans with an immersive and engaging digital experience at the special experiential screening at Battersea Power Station. Here, fans enthusiastically shared individual and group shots of their demon doppelgangers across social media, showcasing their excitement for the return of the Evil Dead franchise.
Promoted by Director Lee Cronin at the movie’s premiere in London, hardcore horror fans scanned the shared code and immediately shared their own Evil AI results in between interviews.
Successfully capturing the essence of the Evil Dead franchise, whilst pushing the limits of AI-driven experiences in the entertainment / movie space, Evil AI was used as part of the movie’s wider digital campaign. With fans spreading awareness and fear online in their thousands contributing to the film's success, Evil Dead Rise garnered wide critical acclaim and became the highest-grossing movie in the franchise, earning over $145 million at the global box office.