The Evil Dead
Updated: Oct 12
I'm a big fan of Sam Raimi. I love his movies. There's nothing quite like a Sam Raimi film. One thing he brought us was the Evil Dead series which spawned my favorite Hollywood protagonist of all time. I love Ash Williams! He's brash, he's cocky, he's funny, he's just hilarious! But you know, he didn't always start out that way. So let's take a look at his debut, we're talking about...
The Evil Dead (1981)
The 353rd review
I watched this series in reverse order when I was much younger. I started with Army of Darkness, then I watched Evil Dead II and then finally I saw the original. Army is more of a comedy than a horror, number two is the perfect mix of the two, while the original is more of a straight horror. Also, and this really threw me the first time I watched it, in the original, Ash isn't the bad ass like he was in later installments. When a lot of the fighting happens Ash usually finds himself buried under a bookcase after being knocked across the room by a Deadite. In fact, it's his friend Scotty who does most of the heavy lifting. At one point he rips an ax from a frozen Ash's hands because he can't bring himself to attack his possessed friend.
The story goes about what you expect from these types of movies. A group of friends head out to a secluded cabin in the woods and they accidentally awaken an evil entity that is hell bent on killing them. While it's probably my least favorite of the trilogy, it's still a wild ride that's a lot of fun. For Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell this is one of their first major projects they ever did and they really went all in on getting this made. If this movie didn't work out, and it very nearly didn't if not for Stephen King, we probably would have no idea who Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are, and that is truly the darkest timeline. Being made for a paltry sum of $350,000 it's not as polished as the other works from these two. What's fun about this movie is seeing the little things the two are known for in smaller doses. You watch this movie and it definitely has a style all of its own and you watch and pick up some of the things that he's going to be known for. I like Sam Raimi as a filmmaker a lot, mostly when he's left to his own devices. When they let him do his own thing you get something that's original and unlike pretty much everything else Hollywood churns out. It's when studios start meddling and demand changes here and there that you end up with Spider-Man 3. It's not really scary because everything you're seeing on screen is pretty tame compared to what comes out today. But what makes it different is the gore. It's my favorite type in that it's just so over the top. The Deadites when attacked seem more like balloons filled with fake blood, so while Ash or Scotty are fighting back, they just get covered with it. At one point Ash is in the basement and blood starts pouring out from everywhere, and eventually our hero is covered from head to toe after facing a steady deluge of it right in his face. The visual is funny in itself, but Bruce Campbell is just such a fantastic physical actor. In the sequel, which I'll get to later this month, his fight with his own hand is a masterclass in physical acting, even his hand somehow emotes! Sadly, Bruce has retired from the role, which I can't blame him because they don't use CGI and Ash is always being attacked, thrown around or covered in blood. It's a very demanding role for a man at his age, but still, it makes me sad that another one of my favorites from my childhood has hung it up for good. The movie is definitely worth watching if for no reason to see where such an iconic director and actor got their starts.