Raimi became fascinated in making films when his father brought a video camera home one day and he began to make Super 8 movies with childhood friend Bruce Campbell. In college, he teamed up with his brother's roommate Robert Tapert and Campbell to shoot Within the Woods(1978), a 32-minute horror film which raised $350,000. Reinvesting the profits from college-screenings and campus tours of Within the Woods, Raimi was able to finance production of the highly successful horror film The Evil Dead (1981) which became a major hit and effectively launched Raimi's career to new levels. He began work on his second film Crimewave (1985), intended as a live-action comic book - the film was not successful, due in part to unwanted studio intervention. Raimi returned to the horror genre with the seminal Evil Dead II (which toned down the savageness of the original in favour of slapstick, showcasing his love of the Three Stooges). A long-time comic book buff, he attempted to adapt "The Shadow" into a movie, but was unable to secure the rights. So he created his own super-hero, Darkman (1990). The film was his first major studio picture, and was only moderately successful, but he was still able to secure funding for Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness, which turned away almost totally from horror in favour of fantasy and comedy elements.
In the 1990s Raimi moved into other genres, directing such films as A Simple Plan (1998) (starring Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton) and For Love of the Game (1999) (starring Kevin Costner). Raimi achieved great commercial success with the blockbuster Spider-Man (2002), which was adapted from the comic book series of the same name. The movie has grossed over $800 million USD worldwide, spawning two sequels: Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3. After the completion of the Spider-Man series, Raimi is slated to direct a film adaptation of The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. Prior to directing the Spider-Man films, Raimi lobbied to direct Batman Forever when Tim Burton was ousted from the director's chair, but was rejected in favor of Joel Schumacher, whose reputation at the time outshone Raimi's.
He has also worked in front of the camera with Miller's Crossing as a cold-blooded gunman, The Stand as a dimwitted hitman, John Carpenter's Body Bags in an unusual role as a gas station attendant and all three mentioned roles saw Raimi dying in distinct ways, and Indian Summer in what is perhaps his biggest role as a bumbling assistant to Alan Arkin. He also produced The Grudge and The Grudge 2.
Right now, Raimi is in talks to direct the fourth installment of the Spider-Man franchise for a 2009 release. Also, according to AICN, Raimi has expressed an interest in directing a film version of The Hobbit, the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
In addition to film, Raimi has worked in television, producing such series as Xena: Warrior Princess, featuring his younger brother Ted Raimi and long-time friend Bruce Campbell, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, American Gothic (TV series), Cleopatra 2525 and Jack of All Trades. In 2006, Raimi agreed to direct a TV version of Terry Goodkind's best-selling The Sword of Truth fantasy series.
In his film and television projects, Sam Raimi's brother Ted Raimi and his friend Bruce Campbell often appear in on-screen roles, though these appearances are often just short cameos. Raimi often works with fellow Michigan State University alumni, film editor Bob Murawski (editor of the Spider-man series of films, The Gift, Army of Darkness).
Sam Raimi has included a 1973 yellow Oldsmobile Delta 88 automobile (nicknamed "The Classic") in every film except The Quick and the Dead. A bottle of Maker's Mark also appears regularly in his movies.
Other director trademarks include: a distinctive type of camera shot where the camera follows a moving object such as an arrow at high speeds in first person or side view; dolly zooms; and shots of smoke or fog in the first few minutes of most of his films. Sam Raimi's films have often used montage sequences to show a lengthy set of actions in a short space of time.
Raimi is married to Gillian Greene, the daughter of actor Lorne Greene. They have five children together.
On occasion, Raimi collaborates with his elder brother, Ivan Raimi, who works as a doctor. Together, they co-wrote the screenplays for Darkman and Army of Darkness. Ivan also contributed to story and script development for the three Spider-Man films.
Raimi frequently collaborates with Joel and Ethan Coen, beginning when Joel was one of the editors of Evil Dead. The Coens co-wrote Crimewave and The Hudsucker Proxy with Raimi in the mid-80's (though Hudsucker was not filmed for almost a decade). Raimi made cameo appearances in both Miller's Crossing and The Hudsucker Proxy. And the Coen brothers gave Raimi advice on shooting in snow for A Simple Plan, based on their experiences with Fargo.
Raimi donated a total of $900 to George W. Bush's presidential campaign in 2004.
* It's Murder! (1977)
* Within the Woods (1978)
* Clockwork (1978)
* The Evil Dead (1981)
* Crimewave (1985)
* Evil Dead II (1987)
* Darkman (1990)
* Army of Darkness (1993)
* The Quick and the Dead (1995)
* A Simple Plan (1998)
* For Love of the Game (1999)
* The Gift (2000)
* Spider-Man (2002)
* Spider-Man 2 (2004)
* Spider-Man 3 (2007)
* The Wee Free Men (2008?}