02
Nov
14

The Evil Dead (1981)

TheEvilDeadposterAfter giving the recent remake of The Evil Dead a fair chance, I had no choice but to pop in the original. It had been a long while sine I’d seen it, or even Evil Dead II, and I needed to refresh my memory before really making a final judgement call on the glossy makeover version. So we dedicated the 27th day of our 31 Days of Horror to the mother of all cabin-in-the-woods horror movies, and it should come as no surprise to anyone on the planet that it far outshines its expensive remake.

A group of friends are taking a little trip into the unknown: a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Ash (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend Linda and sister Cheryl accompany another couple, Scott and Shelly, for what is supposed to be a relaxing weekend. If only that damn Cheryl wasn’t so uptight, and didn’t freak out when they played this tape recording they found in the basement of an academic reading aloud some weird, old book, they could have had more fun. Or maybe Cheryl was right to be creeped out by the mysterious tape recording…

Indeed, not long after they shut the recording off, there’s a strange rustling out in the woods. What could it be? Perhaps the awakening of a sleeping evil that wants to take the happy-go-lucky-campers’ souls? It would seem so. At the very least there is no doubt it has some pretty nasty intentions once we see

Ash takes on the Evil Dead

Ash takes on the Evil Dead

it tree-rape Cheryl. When she comes back to the cabin, she seems a little off. It isn’t long before the rest of the group realizes something has possessed her, so they throw her into the basement from whence she can spout vindictive, raspy comments in her I’m-possessed voice! Will the group be able to survive the spreading evil?

I like to imagine when people say they enjoy gory horror movies, it’s movies like The Evil Dead they are talking about. As the movie progresses, each scene gets gorier, nastier and bloodier, but its tone is never really mean-spirited. It certainly doesn’t fall under the torture-porn category that is so popular these days; it isn’t watching people suffer for suffering’s sake. Instead, it seems a lot more like a showcase of the

Linda is so pretty!

Linda is so pretty!

special effects and make-up talent behind this movie. The stuff looks great, and what’s so great about it? One, it’s real. I know, I know, you’ve heard it a million times before, but get used to it, because you’re just going to keep hearing it: CG sucks and this movie is prime example of why. Nothing takes the audience out of a movie more than shitty special effects, and there is shitty CG and there is shitty claymation and there is shitty make-up, but of the three I’ll take the latter two over the former any day. Shitty CG is just so lazy, at least I feel if it’s something someone has touched with their hands they at least gave a shit. There is just nothing better than watching real, material special effects unfold in a movie like this. It’s glorious. And it’s even more glorious when the filmmakers manage to make it look good on a low budget; that’s when the true imagination, innovation and talent shines through, and it’s all over The Evil Dead. It’s quite clear why this movie set the template for so many that came after it.

Can Cheryl be contained by her chains?

Can Cheryl be contained by her chains?

Just as I felt silly writing up Evil Dead II, I feel silly writing this one up. If this is a movie you should see, you have already seen it. Though, now that I’m all old and out of touch with the young kids, I wonder – what horror movies are those kids watching? Are movies like The Evil Dead even on their radar? If they aren’t, should I be thankful for the remake in hopes that it piques their interest? I guess the answer is yes. I don’t want horror to die! I want a special-effects and claymation renaissance! Get on it, kids!

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