31 Days of Halloween #12 – The Always Evil Dead

evil3This is simply a classic, and an essential part of any horror library.  Anybody who doesn’t like Ash, needs to watch the 1981 original and the sequels all over again and get with it.  There are very few movies that balance the elements of horror, humor, atmosphere and creative camera work successfully.  This is what The Evil Dead and its franchise does so well.  There are no rules to these movies, so expect surprises that’ll make you jump and laugh.  A mounted deer head comes alive and turns to laugh at Ash like a supervillain, so that’s what you can expect in the original trip, crazy as it is.

This movie was made a real, abandoned cabin.  It builds atmosphere by using a bunch of first person shots and bending perspective with all sorts of chills along the way.  The camera zips along the pond at the beginning and enters the woods.  I think the environment is nearly perfect.  

Sam Raimi starts a reputation of grossness in The Evil Dead.  There’s gross dismemberment and tons of blood, so much that this movie makes you feel bad about chuckling at the humor. I always wince at the part where Scotty chops up Shelly with an axe.  The stop motion in the movie is first rate and reminds me of Ray Harryhausen’s work, which is probably why I like it so much.  I wonder how many shirts Bruce Campbell went through by being splattered with fake blood.

Much like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, some young people are transplanted into the backwoods, an uncomfortable place for them.  This is pretty obvious as they arrive.  Everyone is given a little time to look creeped out.  This is effective because of the setup, which sets up the characters as innocent and unaware.  By the time Ash sees that the bridge is out and they can’t leave, the pace really ramps up.  

The end is not so much running around, as it is confronting the possessed characters and getting splattered with blood.  Ash does  most of it, though I think it’s done better in Evil Dead 2 as he confronts himself and cuts off his hand.  

Overall, this is a good movie.  The original is bare bones blood-splatter central and it’s a pretty tense ride.  Ash develops from an average Joe into a superhero, which is pretty awesome, and he fights just about everybody dripping in blood.  This movie has no underlying subtext, but it’s made to shock and frighten the viewer, which I think it accomplishes.  Don’t get tricked by the Evil Dead, dude.


31 Days of Halloween 2016
31. Young Frankenstein (1974) 
30. Jason X (2001)
29. Cloverfield (2008) 
28. The Monster Squad (1987) 
27. Bad Moon (1996) 
26. The Haunting (1963) 
25. Splinter (2008)
24. Frenzy (1972)
23. Aggression Scale (2012)
22. The Exorcist III
21. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963)
20. Silver Bullet (1985)
19. Joy Ride (2001)
18. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
17. The Funhouse (1981) by Tobe Hooper Shin Godzilla (2016) 
16. Videodrome (1983)
15. Re-Animator (1985)
14. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
13. Cube (1997)
12. Evil Dead – This post
11. Day of the Dead (1985)
10. Tales of Halloween (2015)
9. They Live (1988)
8. The Innocents (1961)
7. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
6. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
5. I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)
4. Hatchet (2006)
3. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
2. Halloween II
1. Silence of the Lambs