Monday, September 28, 2009

The Evil Dead (1981, Sam Raimi)

Ooh, looky here. It's almost Halloween. Well not really, but it's close enough. I guess this marks my official Horror Movie-a-thon. What this season will bring me I have no idea yet, but it should make for some good reviewin'. Well, I hope. One thing is for sure, I won't be reviewing the Halloween series (been there, done that), which should make things a little more interesting and a little less predictable. I recently posted a (not so) vague statement about reviewing the Nightmare on Elm Street series. That may happen...or it may not. We'll see. Anyway, enough jibber jabber. Let's get to it. One of the most loved horror series of all time, which began the careers of genre veterans Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell and which was even turned into a musical. THE EVIL DEAD! I actually saw this film for the first time back in my sophomore year of high school. It was February vacation and I had just watched Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead and was absolutely blown away. My local video store was having a special, rent 3 movies for $6.00. Looking for more zombie type films I picked up Day of the Dead, Dead Alive and The Evil Dead. I love telling that story and refer to it as probably the most important week of my movie watching life. I even remember what tape I listened to in the car to and from the video store (the Duran Duran offshoot band Arcadia's So Red The Rose) Though I liked the film it wasn't until many years later that my friend bought me a copy for my birthday and since then it has been in rotation regularly, usually around Halloween.

The Evil Dead follows a group of 5 college kids heading out to a deserted cabin for the weekend. While there, they discover a tape recorder and a weird looking book. They play the tape which explains how the book is bound in human flesh and is called the Book of the Dead. The voice on the tape reads a chant from the book that opens up a doorway for evil to come through. Soon enough, each of the kids is possessed one by one leaving only Ash (Bruce Campbell) to try to save himself from this evil.

The Evil Dead is plain and simple one of the greatest, most original and funnest horror films I have ever seen. There is a big debate between fans of the series whether the first or the second Evil Dead film is superior. I don't know how this argument can even exist. Evil Dead 2 is a fine film (as my upcoming review will illustrate) but the first Evil Dead is untouchable. The film is scary, funny and has some of the most unrelenting, gory violence ever put on screen. Despite the small budget and the year it was made, this film still excels in every way. Those factors seem to me to be a test for the crew to push themselves even harder, which they did with dazzling results. Bruce Campbell steals the show here and becomes one of the best horror icons of all time. Do yourself a favor and go watch this now, even if it's for the twentieth time.


1 comment:

  1. I love this movie. It's my favorite in the series. The pencil in the ankle is still one of the sickest moments in cinema!