Evil Dead (1981)
Directed by Sam Raimi

Starring Betsy Baker Bruce Campbell Ellen Sandweiss Richard DeManincor Theresa Tilly

This movie really needs no introduction. But in case it does for you, "The Evil Dead" is one of the best horror movies ever made. It blew away audiences and critics alike when it was released in 1981, and still does the job today.

The plotline is simple, and very reminiscent of "The Beast," a 1971 movie about a group of kids who battle claymation monsters and the Devil himself during a picnic. I'd highly recommend that movie too, but back to "The Evil Dead"—it's an absolute must-see, a knock-your-socks off movie that even today's most hardened horror watchers will find shocking.

Bruce Campbell plays Ash, a nice guy who, with three friends, descends on an old cabin where they plan to party. Demons spoil the fun by possessing everyone. Decapitation, white puke, exploding heads and lots of bloodletting result. One woman is even raped by trees (!).

No, they don't make 'em like this anymore, folks. Filmed on a low budget, it's a masterpiece of independent filmmaking. The latest print issued by Anchor Bay video has been remastered and looks gorgeous.

There's also two rather kick-ass sequels (made before Sam Raimi became a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster maker by directing "Spiderman"). Unlike those two followups, however, "Evil Dead" doesn't strive to be a comedy, focusing instead on horrifying, unnerving and at time disgusting the view. This is real horror film, and one of the earliest things released by the once groundbreaking studio New Line Cinema, which would later produce the entire "Nightmare on Elm Street" series, even giving "Evil Dead" a "cameo" of sorts in the first "Elm Street" movie.

Unfortunately, "Evil Dead" has been overplayed somewhat. It's come out on DVD and video in so many different special editions and limited editions it's almost impossible to keep track of all of them.

<< Back

-- Review by Lucius Gore

comments powered by Disqus