Director: Sam Raimi

Starring: Bruce Campbell

Year: 1981

Sam Raimi is an icon: Darkman, The Quick and the Dead, A Simple Plan, For Love of the Game, The Gift, Spider-Man 1, 2, & 3.  But it all started with a ludicrous horror experiment that turned into a trilogy that became something more than cult; it grew so big it became religion.  The Evil Dead is a masterpiece of the grotesque and abnormal, a genre test-run that somehow did more than just show us what can be done but how it can be done as well.  It’s not exactly accurate to call it good, because it’s not, which becomes too cliche too fast; “it’s so bad it’s good.”  But perhaps that easy fallback has never been so right.

A group of young friends travel into the country for a cabin getaway, but they have no idea how terrible the trip is going to turn out.  The road is hazardous, the bridge is collapsing, the cabin is run down; the signs were there for them to see, saying “get out!”, but they didn’t listen, and now they’re in trouble.  They explore a basement full of all kind of weird crap, and a recording awakens a sleeping evil that’s grown pretty hungry.  Soon, the friends fall one by one to the dark power, and become the living dead, bend on murdering all living things so that all can join as one, monstrous entity.  The last remaining of the group, Ash must survive the night, exterminating his pals one gruesome method at a time.

It’s funny, because it starts so innocently, like any other cabin-in-the-woods, slasher, ghost, friends dying flick, that you don’t see the rest coming.  It’s standard genre stuff at the beginning, albeit also cementing the genre at the same time, so it’s both a addition to horror and a ground breaker as well.  But that’s just the start; the rest of the movie will make you lose your lunch.  It quickly spirals down into madness, going further and further afield with every scene, until what you’re left with is a complete, gruesome, disgusting nightmare.  That’s the chance that Raimi took, going so far over the top that he risked alienating audiences completely, and maybe at the time he did; what do I know, I was -2.  But since then, The Evil Dead has turned into a cult classic to outshine all other cult classics, a film that can never be duplicated, it can only be worshiped.  I don’t feel exactly that way, I have others that I love more, but to some people this is a pinnacle, and I understand that perfectly.  It’s gross, it’s non-stop, it’s always escalating, never looking back, doesn’t care if you feel nauseous, and turned Bruce Campbell into a household name.  That’s pretty impressive for a nobody director with little money and less chance, but here we are, talking about it today; inexplicably, something worked.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆



By ochippie

Writer, Critic, Dad Columbus, Ohio, USA Denver Broncos, St. Louis Cardinals Colorado Avalanche, Duke Blue Devils