Evil Dead

That is a very impractical way to wield a chainsaw. Just saying.

Ah, Evil Dead. Not generally considered a zombie movie as this series is more about demonic possesion, but awesome nonetheless.

Made on the cheap by a group of now-very-famous friends in 1981, the imprint and influence of this film can be felt on scores of cheap and low budget horror movies on a scale that probably rivals Night of the Living Dead.

You know the plot- 5 friends go to a cabin in the woods, mistakenly read an ancient book that summons forth demons from hell, and one by one get possessed and killed in all sorts of terrifying ways. That setup may have already been dated when this film first debuted, but Evil Dead has a lot going for it.

For one, it was directed by the thoroughly creative and inimitable, if somewhat quircky, Sam Raimi, now probably known better for the Spiderman movies.

It stars cult movie ICON Bruce Campbell, now worshiped by every fanboy and fangirl the world over, in his first major role. It was definetly the this movies sequels that made him, and Raimi, what they are today, but this was the first fledgling step.

It's bloody, weird, and it goes all out. Mock-ups of bodies disintegrate in stop motion. Eyes are gouged. A woman is raped by a tree. This film was so intense for it's time it couldn't even get a American company to release it, though I bet they kicked themselves for that- it became quite popular.

Evil Dead is a cornerstone of horror movie history- even if it's been eclipsed by the fame of it's sequel/remake, the more comedic and polished Evil Dead II. But Evil Dead has that manic energy all its own, that many of these early, first-wave sort of Horror movies have. Instead of rehashing old tropes and delivering what's been done, they were creating the genre in their own image.

If you haven't seen it, this film comes highly recommended if...
  • You want to have some sort of horror movie cultural literacy.
  • You want to make movies- there are a lot of pretty transparent and inspiring techniques used in here, and if you get a version with commentary/special features you can learn a lot about low-budget film making.
  • You like Bruce Campbell- it's worth watching just to see him trying to act whilst obviously constantly getting the shit really kicked out of him.
  • You've seen the other Evil Dead films, but somehow missed this one.
  • You like good horror movies. Let's face it, you're probably not reading this if this movie isn't your cup of tea.
That said, it is a bit rough. It falls prey to the same trap that most early low budget horror films do- occasional bad pacing, some sketchy editing, frequent boredom. It's the sequel that give this franchise it's massive cult appeal- but it's this film that made it all possible, and it's got enough tricks up it's sleeve to be worth watching.

The Evil Dead (Also 'The Book of the Dead' or 'The Evil Dead, the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Terror') - 1981
Directed by Sam Raimi
Written by Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi
Starring Bruce Campbell, Besty Baker, Ellen Sandwiess

No comments:

Post a Comment