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The Wes Craven Easter Egg You Probably Missed In The Evil Dead II

Directors Wes Craven and Sam Raimi have a long history of burying easter eggs referencing each other's work in their films. Whether this was a friendly feud or a fond game of one upmanship between two titans of horror-comedy, it continued until Craven's death at the age of 76 in 2015. The twosome almost never missed an opportunity to use gore and injokes as a nod to each other's films. Think of it as a long cinematic tribute, but instead of delivering each other bouquets of flowers, they traded scenes of heart-stopping terror, flying eyeballs, razorblade-fingertipped maniacs and cackling deer heads. 

Horror fans have had a lot of fun tracking these references throughout the years, resulting in some highly-paused moments in each of the men's filmographies. One of the references that often flew under the radar is an homage Raimi slipped into "Evil Dead II." Let's find out more about Craven's eventual response to the gesture, and how this interplay between the two got started.

Is Freddy haunting Ash?

Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), Sam Raimi's lantern-jawed everyman, starts the "Evil Dead" series as a romantic, piano-playing nerd and ends it chiseled, grizzled and embittered. It's perhaps unsurprising that the hellscape he calls home may also contain Wes Craven's infamous supernatural teen slasher, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund).

Raimi's "Evil Dead II" (1986) gives viewers an homage to one of Craven's most iconic creations. Noticeable when Ash first heads to the cabin's infamous fruit cellar, the signature razor blade-tipped glove Freddy uses to kill — allegedly borrowed from the prop department of the actual "Nightmare" crew, according to Bloody Disgusting — is visible hanging on the wall. It later reappears hanging over the door of the cabin's work shed. For some reason, Ash does not notice the glove or use it as a weapon. He chooses his signature red chainsaw and cuts a swath through the possessed bodies while he approaches madness toward the end of the film.

This was just one step in the running gag between Raimi and Craven.

It starts with a torn poster and ends with a party

According to Bloody Disgusting, the back and forth between Raimi and Craven begins with Craven's "The Hills Have Eyes" (1977), in which a torn poster for Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" (1975) can be seen in the Carter family's camper. An urban legend rose among horror fans, who took the poster's torn existence in the film as a symbolic statement.

Raimi decided to enter the fray by pasting up a torn poster for "Eyes" in the fruit cellar of the demon-infested cabin in his inaugural 1981 slasher "The Evil Dead." The move was intentional. "There's a torn-up poster of Jaws in 'The Hills Have Eyes,' so I thought it would be funny to tear a 'Hills Have Eyes poster' into pieces in 'The Evil Dead, to tell Wes, 'No, this is the real horror, pal,'" he told Esquire in 2007.

Craven fired back by having Ash pop up in "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984), when Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) can be seen watching "The Evil Dead" in an attempt to stay awake and beat Freddy Krueger. It's worth noting that the movie does not do its job, and Nancy falls asleep watching it.

In response to the "Evil Dead II" reference, Craven's final rejoinder is in his horror-comedy "Scream" (1996), when a group of teenagers chooses to watch "Halloween" (1978) instead of "The Evil Dead" at a party. It didn't work out well for them, either.

Raimi made two final responses in his Starz series "Ash vs Evil Dead" — when Ash returns to the infamous workshed in the show's Season 1 finale, Freddy's glove is still hanging on the wall. And what pops up in the show's Season 2 finale, "Home Again?" A poster of "the Hills Have Eyes." Ash would call that "groovy."