Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Horror week Day 1

The Evil Dead (1982)

The first question I have to ask myself if why have I never seen The Evil Dead?

I guess my answer would be I never though The Evil Dead was essential viewing before!

The 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book says that it featured teenagers that “we couldn’t wait to be killed or be zombified.. Such self-consciousness would come to dominate screen terror.”

Maybe so, but this whole modern horror/slasher genre for me began when John Carpenter’s Halloween was released in 1978. I watched many of the flood of these kinds of films during the next few years (Blood Beach, Friday the 13th, Terror Train, My Bloody Valentine, Mother’s Day, Motel Hell, When a Stranger Calls, Student Bodies (the spoof I seemed to find funnier than others did)Phantasm (a personal favorite), and Kubrick’s The Shining, among many others. I even read an issue or two of Fangoria magazine back in the day, but somehow I missed completely out on The Evil Dead. I may have gone to see Gandhi back then instead-I don’t rightly recall.

Most of these movies weren't that great, but really didn’t aspire to be. Many of the titles listed above have even been remade, and I must ask-Did we really need another version of My Bloody Valentine? (I’ve seen none of the recent versions of any of these movies.)

After viewing The Evil Dead, I realize there’s a thin line at times between being listed in a book of essential film viewing and just being fodder for an episode of Mystery Science Theater. The Evil Dead has no real set up at all other than five college age students go to a remote cabin. We don’t really care about the characters, they’re basically just there to turn into the undead and torment and/or kill each other.

Shot with no real budget by director Sam Raimi, I got to admit that The Evil Dead does have a lot of creativity to it. It reminds me a bit in tone of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Raimi says on the DVD extras that the Romero film was in fact the biggest influence for his film. Highlights of the film include a “rape” of one of the young women by the woods themselves, more than one decapitation and some really effective make-up by Tom Sullivan.

Since I hardly ever watch this type of movie any more, I admit it did bring back a twinge of nostalgia for me. So I think I’m going to blow the dust off my old tattered 1980 copy of Fangoria and watch some more scary movies from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book this week.

Not so Rotten Tomatoes- The Evil Dead’s critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 100%. A higher percentage than Lawrence of Arabia, Gone With the Wind or Casablanca! Nothing dead about that.

The Day After effect-It's the following morning and I admit I can’t seem to get the girl made up to look like a doll repeating “We’re gonna get you... We’re gonna get you” over and over again. In fact, I can’t stop thinking about this movie! I have a feeling horror week is going to be a bumpy ride for someone who doesn’t play in that ballpark anymore.

Tomorrow: Speaking of George Romero, I’ve never seen his Night of the Living Dead sequel, Dawn of the Dead. Since it is in the 1001 book, looks like it’s up next.


  1. I think, truth being told, that I am a bigger fan of Evil Dead II. But, I think Evil Dead is a better movie. Raimi did a lot with almost nothing, and much of his camera work is incredibly creative.

    I've seen this one as a midnight movie, and it's a great film on a big screen.

    And, yeah, the doll makeup and the little girl voice chanting is horrifying.

  2. I'm surprised you had missed this one!

    My parents and I really loved it and saw the sequels, too.

    I think it's very inventive and strange. I don't think it's scary, but I mean wot frightens one person doesn't frighten the next, so it's all relative.

    But I found it very funny and creative, especially for the limited budget.

    Happy to hear your mention of Fangoria--- I was a subscriber for years.

  3. I watched this movie half a dozen times when it came out. To me it was haunting and hard horror. As a young teenager then it retrospectively had a big impact on my mates and me. Even now I chuckle at the reenacting of the zombie characters.