The List: Top 10 Sam Raimi movies

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From the March 7, 2013 edition

With Sam Raimi at the helm of the ambitious “Wizard of Oz” prequel (and an “Evil Dead” remake on the way), can I get all fanboy over one of my favorite directors and rank my 10 favorite Raimi movies? Groovy.

10. “Darkman”

When Raimi wanted to make a dark superhero movie but couldn’t get the rights to Batman or The Shadow, he made up his own. Pretty cool.

9. “The Gift”

This Southern Gothic tale about a small town clairvoyant (Cate Blanchett) deserves to be remembered for more than just Katie Holmes shedding her “Dawson’s Creek” good-girl image by shedding her clothes.

8. “Spider-Man 3”

Worst in the trilogy? Sure. But even that lambasted piano bar dance scene was pure Raimi.

7. “The Quick and the Dead”

Raimi’s flair for comic-book visuals was a great fit for this gunslinger remake starring then-star Sharon Stone and then-rising-star Leonardo Di Caprio.

6. “Drag Me to Hell”

Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures released a string of horror pics that were both inventive and throwback, but the director’s own return to the horror fold was a blast.

5. “Army of Darkness”

The time-traveling finale to the “Evil Dead” trilogy sated our desire for further adventures of Bruce Campbell’s Ash. I just wish the studio would have let Raimi stick with his original title, “The Medieval Dead.”

4. “Spider-Man”

Fans thought the casting of Tobey Maguire was nuts — OK, some still do — but Raimi’s first shot at a comic-book blockbuster was a smash. This franchise didn’t need the reboot it got last summer.

3. “A Simple Plan”

This pot-boiler of a thriller was Raimi’s most grown-up film by a sizable distance. It makes me wish he’d decide to do more straight dramas.

2. “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn”

Raimi’s low-budget rethinking of his lower-budget “The Evil Dead” upped the splatter factor, added humor and made Bruce Campbell a cult icon. And that was before it spawned a musical.

1. “Spider-Man 2”

Until Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, this was the high-water mark for the overcrowded field of superhero movies. Perfectly paced, it was an expert blend of summer-movie action and real heart.