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The Evil Dead (1981)

May 27, 2009

8/10 Buckets of Blood

This movie spooked the shit out of me. Saw it in high school by myself in the middle of the night and couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after. I know, my social life in high school was crazy.

The Evil Dead is about five friends who go for a weekend getaway at a cabin in the woods…and end up fighting an undead army when they accidentally stumble upon the Necronomicon – The Book of the Dead. It’s not exactly breaking the mold in regards to story, but you’ll forget about that pretty damn quick.

Even though the title of the movie should have been a heads up, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I first saw this movie. It’s scary, it’s disgusting, it pushes the envelope, and it’s actually pretty funny, too.

I’m all about movies that just go for it despite not having a Hollywood budget or A-list actors and that’s what The Evil Dead does best. It’s about as low-budget a movie as you’re likely to find, but that’s why it rocks. It’s also responsible for launching the “career” of Bruce Campbell as the movie’s hero, Ash, one of the great horror movie characters of all time. Campbell is hailed as the “B-Movie King”, so don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of him, but even so, he is awesome and he is a badass.

With the exception of movies like The Ring and The Shining, a lot of the best horror movies ever made are the cult classics that don’t rely on big budgets and pimped out special effects to scare you silly (Shaun of the Dead, The Descent, and Let The Right One In are more recent ones that come to mind). The Evil Dead is a movie that falls into this category, it might have even started this category, and it’s a perfect example of cheap filmmaking done right.

The Evil Dead has its “jump-out-of-your-seat” moments, but those are easy, anyone can do that. So instead of focusing on cheap scares, Raimi spends most of the movie throwing absolutely everything at his helpless characters as the limbs fly and the whole damn set turns into one big old pile of goo. Sweet.

I’ve recommended this movie to a couple of people in the past and they didn’t get it whatsoever. Granted, this movie isn’t for everyone, and by now you probably know whether it’s your thing or not, but I’ll keep on recommending it all the same. It’s the kind of movie that you need to take with a grain of salt, but it’s worth the payoff if you give it a chance.

I never thought very highly of the horror genre before this movie came into my life, but The Evil Dead is one of two things that made me see the light, the other being Evil Dead 2. It’s totally different from the horror movies you’re used to and it is one bat-shit crazy ride. If you like horror movies and have the stomach for this kind of thing, you need to see this. Screw Hostel and screw the twenty-odd Saw sequels. It’s called THE EVIL DEAD for Christsakes. Why wouldn’t you want to see this?

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