After not seeing The Evil Dead (1981) in a while, I’d forgotten that it was a low budget horror film, but that doesn’t matter because Sam Raimi utilized everything he had available to him to make this an extraordinary masterpiece. As I watch it for the n-th time, I get to go back in time and see a young Bruce Campbell in his nerdy role of Ash Williams.
The pictures in the book still give me chills, as does the freaky dagger. The effects are better than one would expect from 1981, and they utilize stop-motion animation; I’ve seen worse from films with larger budgets from the same year. The make-up is gross and creepy, so they didn’t do too bad. I love Cheryl’s over-dramatic scene in the woods when they discover the bridge is out; the trees having their way with her is awesome, too. Of course, everything only gets better from there.
Based on the ending of The Evil Dead, back in the day, I wasn’t sure that a second one would be a thing, and then six years later came Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987). Oddly, the bridge is now a massive thing, and Ash is bringing his new girlfriend to the cabin, then it hits me, it’s a twisted replay of the first.
The dancing corpse is demented and bizarre, making me remember how delightful this movie is. The cheese level is turned up so much higher than the first. The possessed taxidermy deer head freaks me out still. I know. Right? Of all things. I love Claymation, and I even tried my hand at it in High School, but what I created doesn’t come close to the amazing artistry in Evil Dead 2. The chilling moments are just as good in this chapter, though the cheese does try to get in the way at times when it shouldn’t.
Army of Darkness (1992) basically picks up where Evil Dead 2 ends in ancient times. I think it’s kinda weird that they completely ignore The Evil Dead as they did in the second, and it’s only he and Linda that go to the cabin in the woods. Of course, they skip the harpy attack, too.
Suddenly, Ash Williams is sexy. I’m not sure how it happened, but it did. Is it the passage of time? Is it costuming? Well, either way, it only lasts for a moment. I want to mention that cheese is one thing while corn is an entirely different thing, though it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference. This movie reaches corny levels several times, making it my least favorite of the three original films. At least, Army of Darkness has than corn holding it together, like the warrior skeletons or even the mini-Ashes.
The final in the franchise is Evil Dead (2013), which I haven’t seen until now, just because of the remake thing. But, today, I’ve decided to put on my big-boy pants and watch it. I’m glad I finally did it. It’s not what I expected at all. I figured, oh, they’re gonna replace Bruce Campbell with someone who isn’t worthy of playing the role, but to my relief, they didn’t. Then again, turning it into a teenage slasher is kinda blasé.
A group of friends and brother and sister go to the cabin in the woods to help Mia detox. Honestly, had it not been for the hook scene, I probably would’ve stopped watching, but it gave me hope. I like that they used similar scenes and items but didn’t try to do an exact copy; actual reimagining the content to make something special that ties into Evil Dead Universe without reinventing it.
The Evil Dead franchise will always be a favorite of mine, and I give them a cumulative 4 out of 5 Stars.