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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Look Back at, The Evil Dead (1981)

I think every horror fan has seen The Evil Dead, and I think every horror fan knows that it’s an incredible piece of cheesy, gory, scary fun. And with the recent remake, more people may feel inclined to seek out the original and find out why this film is such a big deal to people who have already seen it. So let’s take a look back at the original Evil Dead.

            The story is basic, five teenagers travel off into the woods for a weekend of partying and craziness, when they come across something they shouldn’t have. Bound in flesh and inked in blood, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis or book of the dead, is found along with a tape featuring an old man reading passages and talking about the book. And after playing the tape, and hearing the magic words, demons (or deadites) rise from the depths of hell and possess one of the group. And from that point on all hell breaks loose. Literally.
Because they’re demons.
From hell.
            The Evil Dead gets looped in with being a ridiculously over the top gore fest, with crazy action and lots of one liners (Hail to the King, Baby) but this is more a thing with the sequels than the original. In fact you could almost say that the original was trying to go for a much more serious tone, but failed hilariously. And that’s not a bad thing, in fact that’s one of the main reasons why this movie is so loved by fans. It’s a perfect example of something that got it wrong but manages to get it so right at the same time!

            With that said they did get a lot right intentionally. The practical effects are great, and definitely gross out and will please gore hounds. The cinematography is incredible and very inventive, especially when the camera races around the forest and through the house. And the atmosphere this film sets is very effective, with the mist and the feeling of not being able to escape, its very well done. Also the finale of the film is something that you will never ever forget. Trust me on that.
And there's Bruce Campbell... Do I need to say more?

            But there are problems, and a lot of them are forgivable considering that this film is a schlocky horror film from the ‘80s, but they’re there nonetheless. Like, the acting, OH GOD THE ACTING. It’s horrible, horrible in an endearing and funny way, but still horrible. And the story, as I mentioned before, has been done to death and is pretty predictable now a days, although that’s more of a problem with the films story not aging very well.

            Even with those flaws, The Evil Dead has a charm to it that most other films don’t. The kind of charm that only comes from that era of horror films, the era where anything went and filmmakers weren’t afraid to make something different and weird and experiment. It’s something that’s so hard to find in horror films today. It’s gross, gory, weird, demented and hilarious. And I love it!

-Bruce Chessell 


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