A Lady Of ‘The Evil Dead’- an interview with Theresa Tilly

When discussing horror films that fundamentally ruined me as a child, it’s a pretty eclectic group. Thanks to a mother, I saw most of these films before I graduated elementary school and their vivid images clung to the back of my head like a festering mold throughout my adolescence.

One such film was ‘The Evil Dead’, Sam Raimi’s ultimate accomplishment.

One of my favorite things about ‘The Evil Dead’ is the fact that the three leading ladies in the film all go from harmless, attractive sweethearts to blood hungry ghouls who torment Bruce Campbell’s Ash character at every turn.

Theresa Tilly is one of those wonderful women. Using the pseudonym ‘Sarah York’ for union reasons on this film, Tilly suffered one of the most memorable deaths of my childhood. Being hacked to little pieces by your boyfriend probably isn’t the easiest pill to swallow.

Theresa is still active in the world of theatre and television. She also still proudly acknowledges her contributions to arguably the most fun horror film of all time. Along with Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker (the other two awesome ladies of ‘The Evil Dead’), Tilly makes frequent stops at horror conventions around the world as ‘The Ladies Of The Evil Dead’. Check out their website at the end of this interview!

If you haven’t seen ‘The Evil Dead’, do yourself a favor and grab a bag of popcorn, turn out the lights and get ready to sleep with the lights on. Just make sure you keep your windows locked and all pencils hidden in your desk drawers.




1. You’ve said “what better way to go through menopause than as a monster?”. You really oughta meet my mother. (HA! Love ya, Ma…)


I must have said that while I was going through Menopause. Now I’m in the senility stages and really don’t even remember!!


2. Are you a big horror fan?


Nope. I know it sounds weird but horror movies scare me too much. I mostly watch movies at night and I just can’t sleep if I watch a horror movie. I also really hate torture and find a lot of the movies are about torture.


3. There seems to be a ridiculous amount of negative myths about the filming of ‘The Evil Dead’. Why do you think that is?


I honestly find fans know more about the making of this movie than I do, they’re usually right too!


4. Did you keep any props or keepsakes from ‘The Evil Dead’ set?


I kept nothing from the movie except a couple photos I shot from my Brownie camera which are still not really available anywhere.


5. They simply don’t make ’em like ‘The Evil Dead’ anymore. Why do you think people are so quick to revere the classics of yesteryear over the modern day counterparts?


 I do think Evil Dead still holds up as being pretty scary. I know Sam, Bruce and Rob put a lot of time into making it just how they wanted it. It took them about 3 years to finally get it distributed, maybe that has to do with the quality that you’re referring to?


6. How long did it take for you to fully recover from your wounds after shooting ‘The Evil Dead’? (Only physical, not counting emotional or psychological pains here.. ha ha)


 I was not injured in any way during the shoot. It took about a year to stop having nightmares about wearing that awful mask.


7. With the three of you crammed in one room for three months during shooting, did cabin fever (pun intended) set in at any point?


 We needed each other to survive, I don’t really remember anyone having anything bad to say – we are all still very happy to see each other for the most part.




8. What do your children think of this legacy you have in the horror genre?


We’ve never discussed my legacy, as far as my family is concerned I’m “mom” and that’s about it.


9. All three ladies have expressed a willingness to re-group for ‘The Evil Dead 4’. What are your thoughts on the remake and have you been contacted for a cameo or anything?


 I think we’d all like to be in anything Sam is doing, he’s just such a cool guy! As far as the remake, WHY NOT?!



10. What does it mean to you personally to be an icon in horror?


 I love being an Icon – I mean really, how many people can say that?!!



11. Now nearly 33 years old, ‘The Evil Dead’ filled you with two toxics- what would you say was worse, the fog fumes or the moonshine?


 The moonshine was drunk willingly.. the fog juice, well, that’s all they had back then. I hope it doesn’t shorten my life. I seem okay though.


12. How much fun do you have at these conventions you Ladies partake in?


 We like getting away from the ole men, so yeah its fun to go off for the weekend and not think about things, just a little weekend getaway!!



13. What led you into an acting career, and now a successful run as a voice-over talent?


I loved acting from a very young age. It has taken some time to really learn the craft, still at it!  VO was very good to me. I was one of the few women to have several Network shows that used my voice. I still do both. I currently have a national commercial running with my mug, no voice. I also do theatre or film and TV as much as I can.


14. For your troubles, you earned numerous scrapes and bruises, and an everlasting legacy in horror. What words of wisdom would you offer a young actress looking to break into the horror industry?


Work as much as you can and train with good teachers.



Sometimes we get a chance to speak with someone we consider a true icon. Someone who has shaped our life, in one way or another. She may have scared the living crud out of me as a child, but she will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for your time, Theresa.


Check out The Ladies’ website at



Have a look at Theresa’s post-Evil Dead career!




About Justin Hamelin

I am a freelance writer, mostly of horror and everything macabre. As a die hard fan of the genre with a particularly deep affinity for Women In Horror, I write film reviews, short stories, screenplays and conduct as many interviews as I can with the fantastic people who make the horror genre my absolute favorite!
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One Response to A Lady Of ‘The Evil Dead’- an interview with Theresa Tilly

  1. Pingback: A Lady Of The Evil Dead!: A WiH Interview with Betsy Baker. | Women In Horror: A Mangled Matters Blog

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