31 Days of Halloween Day 24 – The Evil Dead (1981)

31 Days of Halloween – Day 24

The Evil Dead (directed by Sam Raimi, 1981) It is amazing what you can accomplish with a movie camera, a small budget, and a group of close friends when you put your mind to it. This is essentially how The Evil Dead was made. Director Sam Raimi (Drag Me To Hell), producer Rob Tapert and star Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness), with some friends, made one of the most memorable horror movies on a budget of just under $400,000 (some films have a budget of over $150,000,000, and they suck). Creativity can go a lot further than money, and this film proves it. Five friends travel to a remote cabin for a little rest and relaxation. While they are there, they discover an ancient book and an old reel player. As they listen to the reel player, they discover that the book is called the Necronomicon, the Sumerian Book of the Dead. The voice on the reel recites some of the text as they listen, and the incantations awaken a sleeping evil in the woods. One by one, the characters are possessed. Can Ash (Bruce Campbell) survive the demons long enough to see the daylight, or will the evil swallow another soul? One thing I really enjoy about Evil Dead is the physical acting that takes place. The action, along with the campy nature of the film almost makes it seem like you are watching a demented episode of the Three Stooges. The last half of the film is basically one long, bloody action sequence. The make-up effects, while walking the fine line of being cheesy, are charming,and have a distinct look, and continue to do so through out the series. There is plenty of gore, dismemberment, sexual assaults by trees, screeching and laughing Deadites (possessed people), and most importantly, Bruce Campbell, to keep you entertained for the duration of the film. It is easy to see why the Evil Dead films, and Army of Darkness, have such an amazing fan base. If you manage to acquire a Blu ray copy, the transfer is very good, and makes the experience better. I loved my VHS copy, but it was shoddy at best.I have always been torn over which Evil Dead, 1 or 2, I like better. Evil Dead 2 is essentially the same movie with better effects, brilliant one-liners, and jacked-up insanity. While it is also a classic, I think I am more impressed with first film. It has a distinct “home-made” element to it that reminds me of being a kid, running around with my friends and a camcorder, making our own horror movies. I had not watched Evil Dead in sometime until this writing. I won’t make that mistake again. Please give the Deadites some love this Halloween. Just don’t read the paperback version out loud, unless you want to fight demons all night.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods
  • Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
  • Day 23 – The Exorcist III
  • Day 24 – The Evil Dead (1981)

T.

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