Samuel Marshall "Sam" Raimi (October 23, 1959) is an American film director, producer, actor and writer. He is best known for directing cult horror films like the Evil Dead series, Darkman and Drag Me to Hell, as well as the blockbuster Spider-Man films and the producer of the successful TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess and Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
Raimi, the fourth of five children, was born in Royal Oak, Michigan, and grew up in Birmingham, Michigan. Raimi was raised in Conservative Judaism; his ancestors immigrated from Russia and Hungary. Raimi attended Groves High School, and Michigan State University and majored in English, leaving after three semesters to film The Evil Dead.
Raimi became fascinated with making films when his father brought a movie 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 $375,000, as well as the short comedic film It's Murder!. Through family, friends, and a network of investors Raimi was able to finance production of the highly successful horror film The Evil Dead (1981) which became a cult hit and effectively launched Raimi's career. 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). With his brother Ivan Raimi (and crediting himself as Celia Abrams), Sam Raimi also wrote Easy Wheels (1989), a parody of the Outlaw biker film genre. A long-time comic book buff, he then 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 Army of Darkness, which turned away almost totally from horror in favor of fantasy and comedy elements.