Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987)
Directed by Sam Raimi

Starring Bruce Campbell Dan Hicks Kassie DePaiva Sarah Berry Ted Raimi

Not as scary or disturbing as the original, but funnier and much more accessible for mainstream audiences, "Evil Dead 2" was a big hit. It picks up more or less where the last film in the series left off, although it encapsulates the entire story of the first film into about 5-10 minutes, reducing the number of characters, but keeping the basic thrust of the story—Campbell's character, Ash, visits an abandoned house, finds the Necronomicon and resurrects some demons—the same. In this film Campbell really transformed Ash into the camp comedy icon he's truly for.

This time around, the daughter (Sarah Berry) of the original owner of the house shows up with a group of rednecks and all of them have to battle the demons together. A woman swallows a flying eyeball, Ash cuts off his own demon-possessed hand and a corpse dances through the night with her severed head. Bruce Campbell started getting in touch with his funnier side in this one, playing up the character of Ash as a comic book-like, square-jawed hero, albeit a flawed and tormented one. The most hilarious scene has him cutting off his own possessed hand, yelping, "Who's laughing now?!?!" While the first "Evil Dead" was so horrifying it couldn't even get an R rating, this one was unserious enough that it could get the much-coveted stamp of approval from the MPAA, so it could make its way into cineplexes and Blockbuster video stores.

Followed by the even funnier, "Army of Darkness."

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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