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Sam Raimi is a household name when it comes to directors these days. Back in the early 1980s, he relied on a bold move such as taking the style of Italian horror films and combining it with American cheese in order to pop his name in the history books. At the time of its release, The Evil Dead was incredibly scary, and it would be true to say that there's still quite a powerfully gruesome element to it and it's very shocking in parts.
The plot itself couldn't be simpler, throwing all accusations of lack of believability to the wind by adding in a supernatural level and using what seems to be like a lot of plasticine. Five friends decide to stay out in the wilderness for a weekend in a remote cottage. There, they find a book, a cassette player and threats of being possessed. Undeterred by the content of the tape and book, they persevere, but one by one they slowly succumb to the demonic chanting, leaving our main protagonist Ash to try and find a way out of the area without the very trees themselves fighting against him to keep him in.
It's incredibly simple, and also unrealistic, and I suppose this is part of the appeal. The events sort of take care of themselves, with each character having a few possessed moments as the film progresses. Raimi doesn't really dwell on making it hard for Ash to treat the zombie that was his girlfriend with any detachment, nor does he dwell on a similar element with the others. The horror moments are quite gross, with the wide fake eyes, heavy makeup and straggly hair combining perfectly with hysterical screaming and whining and cackling from the characters to make the zombified friends send shivers down your spine. There's the occasional moment of convincing special effects, but for the majority of the film it's rather basic and low budget stuff, using stop animation and what seems like plasticine to show a couple of the scenes, and gallons of thin fake blood that doesn't even look real.
But it doesn't seem as if Raimi is bothered about whether things look real or not. He has taken some of the gore aspects of Italian horror and the sort of suspense and dramatic camera zooming and angles from the likes of Dario Argento to give the full effects of this, and it's the way it gets thrown in your face that helps to make it far more effective than it really should. I can't say this is anywhere near a masterpiece, and is nowhere near Raimi's best work, but his attempts to shock work very well, to the point where this was deemed so shocking that many studios wouldn't touch it in terms of showing it to start with.
Nor can I say that the acting is very good. In fact, Bruce Campbell as Ash is particularly annoying, and he and Raimi make sure that the delivery is a bit slapstick and over the top. His companions are sufficiently annoying that you actually feel glad when they start getting possessed, the powerful and loud soundtrack adding to the violence and giving you more of a satisfaction when the gore starts. There's a certain amount of reluctant enjoyability that comes with it, too. You want to turn your face away in disgust, but it's quite entertaining and almost becomes more of a comedy than a horror. I don't know whether Raimi ever intended this or not, but it's clear that he doesn't quite take this seriously, adding in a few over the top elements that are slightly farcical and therefore raise a smile at the very least.
I enjoyed this, truth be told. It was well worth sitting through, and despite the obvious low budget nature it really appeals. Freakishly scary at points, and not for the faint hearted, The Evil Dead spawned two sequels, and I'm keen to watch both of them. I'm sure the over the top nature will continue, making them just as entertaining as this one if not more. Recommended.
The Evil Dead is a cult film made by director Sam Raimi (known most recently for Drag Me to Hell) and starring Bruce Campbell who plays one of five college friends who head to a cottage in the woods for a weekend of fun and drinking, only to release an unspeakable horror while they're at it. I'm not really a fan of horror films (at least not the gory ones), but after watching Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn and the third film in the trilogy, Army of Darkness, I wanted to see this one out of sheer curiosity. It was available to watch free as part of my Lovefilm package, so I thought it was the perfect time to sample the film.
The Evil Dead was made as a low budget horror and it's easy to see this, although it's still pretty impressive considering. The special effects are, on one hand, awful - the women possessed by zombies are covered in blue makeup, the blood is as thin as Ribena and the dissolving flesh at the end is obviously made of something akin to plasticine - but on the other hand possibly rather impressive for the time, and still effective. The basic plotline, which involves the friends discovering a book, a tape and a gun in the basement of their cottage, and unknowingly releasing demons/spirits when they play the tape on which the words to awaken them are recited, is daft and the plot is largely predictable, basically involving Ash's friends becoming possessed by the demons one by one so that he has to attack and dismember them. At least there is some attempt made to show that Ash is sorry about having to chop up his girlfriend, sister and friends, and he doesn't just run at them with an axe without feeling!
The acting is pretty dreadful, but that just adds to the fun. The screams of the first girl to become possessed are really over the top and grating, and I was rather glad when she was put out of her misery! Bruce Campbell, looking rather fresh-faced, is surprisingly short on deranged facial expressions considering his subsequent appearance in the sequels. Still, you don't really need good acting in a horror film like this!
I'm easily scared, but I wasn't particularly frightened by this film, though it is incredibly gory (and I'm squeamish) and I did have to look away several times, fake though many of the effects were. Some bits did make me jump or tense up, especially at the end, but I spent my time laughing more than anything. I do think the film deserves its 18 rating.
If you like low budget horror, you'll like this. If you've seen Evil Dead 2 and 3, this is worth watching out of curiosity (Evil Dead 2 is in fact a more cheesy remake of this film, rather than being a straight sequel). If you think you might be interested in watching the later two films for their comedy value, you might as well watch this first for the complete experience. Otherwise, you probably won't want to bother. But with a running time of just under an hour and a half, it won't take up much of your time and it's decently entertaining.
The Evil Dead is an old style horror movie released orginally way back in 1982 and directed by Sam Raimi. I really enjoyed this movie back then and now when I've watched it again on DVD and it's in some ways better than alot of the horror films made today.
The story involves five students who rent a shack in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere for a weekend of constant partying and nothing else. Sounds like a classic recipie for disaster! However, they do not realise what danger lurks in the sinister trees of the woods. In the basement of the place they are staying they find a book along with a gun and a tape. So they read the book and watch the tape and discover that reading from the book will raise the dead. Now normally you would imagine that would be enough in itself to stop most people but not this group and I guess if they had stopped there wouldn't be a movie.
Evil Dead for me is a decent horror movie that had me on the edge of my seat and pretty scared which are the main ingredients of any good horror movie. I found it to be more creepy than jump out of your seat in terror. Considering when this was made and with the budget available at the time it's still better than alot of the high budget movies of today.
In this movie you don't actually get to see the monster that is lurking in the shadows but for me that is more scary than actually seeing it. So many movies don't keep you in suspense for long and when you actually see what is chasing the victims it's never as bad. This way the film plays on your senses and gets in your mind. You see zombies in this film which are the product of the creature as these are the people it possesses.
I really enjoyed this movie and it was interesting enough and well worth watching to see a low budget horror movie and a very good one at that which will scare you.
Five friends, Ash, Cheryl, Scott, Linda and Shelly, go on a trip to a deserted cabin in the woods. Within hours of having arrived, Cheryl is visited by an evil spirit who takes control of her hands while she is drawing. Cheryl later decides that someone is watching them from the woods and goes outside to investigate - while there, she is attacked by tree roots and branches, but manages to get away, returning sobbing to the cabin. The others all think she is making things up, but eventually Ash agrees to drive her to the nearest town. Before long, however, it is clear that Cheryl is right and something is definitely after them - and at least one of those somethings is in the cellar of the cabin. Can they find out what it is and get away safely? Or are they all doomed to die horribly?!
Directed by Sam Raimi, this 1981 film was a suprise hit, making more of a splash than other films with much higher budgets. For modern viewers, it may be hard to tell exactly why it was so highly acclaimed - the acting is rubbish and the special effects are way worse than they should have been for a film made in the 1980s. Yet there is a definite charm to it that will appeal to fans of horror - or at least it did to this fan.
As often happens with horror films, the acting is not exactly top notch; actually, it's only just passable. Of the five characters, there are really only two that stand out. Firstly, Cheryl, played by Ellen Sandweiss, who is the first to 'feel' the spirits. Her acting is definitely wooden, yet she does manage to convey abject terror, which creates a great build-up to the atmosphere of the film. And she also manages to portray a mixture of fear and sexual arousement while being apparently raped by a tree branch - this is really quite creepy, but intriguing to watch at the same time. You won't remember Sandweiss for her acting skills, but you will remember what happened to her, and that is at least partially down to the actress.
Bruce Campbell plays Ash, the best-looking of the friends, and apparently all-round good guy. He doesn't come across as being all that wooden; he just doesn't really make all that much of an impact for anything apart from his looks and, towards the end, some marvellous demon killing techniques! The rest of the bunch really don't make any kind of impact. One of the girls has a marvellously eerie laugh once she has turned into a demon, but as I'm not even sure which of the actresses it was, there obviously isn't much to her apart from that. They all did the basic job required of them though, and to be honest, even though the acting wasn't of the best quality, it really wasn't all that important to my enjoyment of the film.
The premise on which the film is based - that the teenagers released the demons because they listened to a tape of incantations based on The Book of the Dead' - is rather silly. Sam Raimi, who wrote the screenplay as well as directed the film, obviously wanted to give an explanation for the happenings in the cabin, and I suppose he could have come up with a worse explanation. Again though, like the acting and the special effects, it isn't all that important. The main thrills of the film are the pacing and the awesome, doom-ridden atmosphere. The horror starts very early on and then is relentless - just as you think it can't get any worse, it does.
The special effects are, at times, laughable. The demons look completely unrealistic - lots of swollen faces and blue make-up - and some of the chopping scenes that Ash carries out are deeply unconvincing. The blood is too thin and the body parts look plastic, as they probably were. Despite this, I still found it scary at times and even jumped once or twice. The film was apparently banned in the UK until 1990; now it has a rating of 18 and, despite the laughable special effects, this is really deserved. I've no doubt teenagers younger than 18 have watched and will continue to watch it on a regular basis because of the film's reputation, but I think parents should keep a tab on them because of the continual violence. There are also a couple of scenes involving breasts, and, of course the rape scene.
I'm well aware that anyone reading this will wonder why on earth I've awarded the film with four stars when so much of it is of low quality. It is very simply because of the great atmosphere and, to a certain extent, because of my weird sense of humour. Because of the lack of character development, it is hard to feel much concern for the teenagers, which makes it possible to watch the film and just enjoy it for what it is - a total gore-fest with hilariously bad special effects. Of course, this isn't going to be for everyone. However, if you start watching a film called The Evil Dead with the expectation that it isn't going to be a horror, then there is probably something wrong with you! If you can't enjoy it for what it is, don't bother.
There are a whole host of extras that come with the DVD. Most are unexciting, including the theatrical and TV trailers, a couple of bios for Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi and the producer, a poster and still gallery and audio commentaries with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Then there are a couple of documentaries and some behind the scenes footage and outtakes. One of the documentaries is made by Bruce Campbell and is quite fun to watch, talking about why people become such fans of films, to the extent that they go to conventions etc. It doesn't provide a great deal of insight into The Evil Dead though. The other documentary involves interviews with a couple of producer/distributor-type people talking about the impact that the film had when it first came out. It's interesting enough, but isn't worth going to a lot of effort to watch.
I really enjoyed this film, despite all the faults. Had it been made with a serious budget, decent actors and classy special effects, I doubt it would have been as successful. As it is, it is a thoroughly random film with plenty of unexpected scary bits and the odd laugh too that doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't. It won't be for everyone, but if you like horror, you should watch it at some point. Recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £5.
Running time: 85 minutes (uncut)
Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, released in 1981, established Raimi as a director to watch with his extravagant, hyperkinetic directorial techniques, visual flair, and grotesque gore effects, all impressive because the film's budget was a mere $375,000.
The film consists of Ash (Bruce Campbell, in a role that would make him a mainstay of the horror genre for the rest of his career) and a number of friends visiting a log cabin for some fun and frolics. What they didn't count on, however, was accidentally waking an ancient curse (from a book called the Necronomicon), causing the log cabin to become infested with the Evil Dead, and various strange occurences to begin, such as demons possessing Ash's friends, and one of his friends also being raped by a TREE. Yes, a tree. But I won't ruin the rest, because there's plenty of eye-popping (literally) gross out moments here.
It's an audacious debut for sure, and whilst surely bested by the film's sequels (especially the second film, which is one of the craziest, most hilarious things ever put to film), it is a certain display of a very talented director on a miniscule budget. Funnily enough, the film's sequel is largely a remake of this film but with a much higher budget. Nevertheless, Raimi's direction is very schooled and unique for a first time director, and the shots of the Evil Dead lurking through the woods are iconic and unforgettable (cleverly composed by Raimi sitting on the back of a motorbike with a camera).
Sam Raimi's debut feature is an efficient and atmospheric low-budget horror film, with visual effects that, whilst badly dated, are undeniably inventive. A highly influential horror film that saw countless pale imitations throughout the 80s and beyond.
Evil dead is an 80's horror movie directed by Sam Raimi and was realeased in 1982. The cast involve: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. It was followed by two other movies, The evil dead 2 and The evil dead: army of darkness
Five college friends are making there way to an isolated cabin in the middle of the woods. Once at the cabin they search the basement and find the book of the dead. Also there is an audiotape which plays incantations from the book. They unknowingly wake up demons from the dead. What will happen to the five friends? Will any survive?
I first watched this film when i was about 10 so quite a few years after it came out, about 18 I'd say, so the graphics were abit dated, but still the film was pretty much great and is such a classic. Even though its an old film the graphics are still pretty decent and the zombies look very scary, even the blood isnt that bad.
The characters/actors are also good and they play the roll great as they had me screaming at tem, stay in cabin!! I think the story was good as well, especially for when it was made, it would have been quite original for then and still is now. Classic
Few films have had such an impact on me as this one. I remember quite clearly sitting with my brother and sister one Saturday afternoon, a spotty teenager, watching this movie for the first time. The beginning was instantly drawing and very creepy. A camera falling over a vast and deep lake that looked both unnerving and mesmerising.
This was my first introduction to the world of Sam Raimi, a man who would go on to direct such movies as Spider-Man and The Gift. His camera work and 'vision' as to how a film should be crafted to me is second to none. He makes a film exciting. But as that spotty teenager I was not interested in camera work, not really: I was interested in be scared, scared a lot.
And was I scared?
Yes - very much so.
The story is quite simple. Five buddies go to a log cabin in the woods. They are there to spend a good time, drinking, perhaps having a laugh. But there they discover the Book Of the Dead, bound in human flesh and written in blood. Once they begin to recite words from this book, 'The Evil Dead' start to rise.
They start to take possession of the various members of the group. First is Cheryl, who after being 'raped' by the trees (these scenes where later cut following the video's ban) - she is transformed into a hideous creature who wants to kill the rest of them. Slowly and surely, the entire group bar one are changed and the only way to stop them is by chopping up their bodies into pieces.
Sole survivor 'Ash', played by Bruce Campbell (perhaps the only one of the young actors here to go on to do other noteworthy things - including Maniac Cop and Waxworks) has the unfortunate job of trying to destroy the Evil Dead.
This is a timeless classic, and quite gruesome in the fact that there is a lot of body parts being severed and a lot of blood and puss being oozed from out of twisted and possessed creatures.
As I have mentioned briefly, this movie was banned on video for a while and then reinstated with several scenes cut. Now it is back, full and uncut, available on DVD for a good price. Funny how what was once too shocking for everyone is now deemed fine. I guess this is because it is more of a black comedy, a parody of several films that were doing the rounds at that time.
Other cast members:
Ellen Sandweiss .... Cheryl
Hal Delrich .... Scotty
Betsy Baker .... Linda
Theresa Tilly .... Shelly
Run Time 85 minutes.
Written and Directed by Sam Raimi.
The film went on to spawn two sequels - 'Evil Dead 2 - Dead By Dawn' and 'Army of Darkness.'
Overall: It is scary, it is darkly humoured. It is gruesome. The fact that the makers did this on such a low budget is its overall charm. It is amateurish for sure, but when you think of how well the makers did you have to admire them all. One of the most horrific facts about this film is how Ash has witness his friends, his girlfriend and his sister all transform in the frenzied, psychotics zombie like creatures, and how he has to personally dispose of them...
Also written for Ciao, by myself... as 'Borg'
This version of the film which many see as the ultimate edition is cased in an awesome replica of the book of the dead featured in all three movies which has been sculpted by Ted Sullivan, the person behind the book of the dead and the dagger of the dead featured in the movie. Although this version does not contain Within the Woods, it is packed with features ranging from 2 new documentaries entitled, Fanalysis, and Discovering the Evil Dead. Deleted scenes and out-takes, trailers, and all the other usual stuff. This version also comes with a booklet documenting the films history. The trnsfer of the movie is pretty clean but now amazing, although the sound quality it both impressive in DD and DTS. This version of the movie is a must for all Evil Dead fans and the packaging is personally the best ive seen on a DVD
Originally released almost 20 years ago, THE EVIL DEAD went through many years of being censored and banned in the UK, and has only recently been allowed to be shown (even on TV) in it's full uncut form. Now, I don't believe in censorship. I don't believe in banning movies. But I do believe in SELF-censorship - that is, deciding NOT to do something, and I think that self-censorship is something that the makers of THE EVIL DEAD should have done before making it. In the 1980s the film was known as the Number 1 'Video Nasty', and it IS nasty. It is violent, gory, and not at all humorous, despite it's reputation for being a comedy-horror. All in all, it's a very unpleasant film and definately not one that I want to see again. Bruce Campbell, who plays the main character (called Ash) has become something of a star in the science-fiction/fantasy/horror genre and mainly it is due to this film (and its 2 sequels). Unfortunately he doesn't deserve this fame, at least not based on THE EVIL DEAD. His acting is very wooden, but then I guess the idea was that no-one would be watching the movie for his acting, they would be watching it for the blood and gore. I certainly won't be watching it again.
This film is a classic. Early 80's horror is often the best kind of horror. The Evil Dead is like the definition of 80's horror, and as such you'd expect a well featured DVD for such an important film. The first thing that greets you is a spooky video clip from the film, not very original as things goes, but it takes you by suprise, which is a good thing. After the initial shock of that, the menu itself is a still of the video box cover, but for some reason, unlike in other cases, this doesn't seem to matter. The use of sounds on the menus is pretty good too, quite spooky and very much in the spirit of the film. The actual extras include two commentary tracks, one by Sam Raimi and the Producer, and the other is by the film's star Bruce Campbell. Both of the commentary tracks are highly entertaining, with some funny digs at each other, and differing versions of stories. Which, in general is pretty good. It is also a bit of a boon, as between the two tracks, it is almost a masterclass in low-buget horror film making. Ideal for the aspiring horror directors out there. The only other extra is the trailer to the film. Which, again, normally would be quite bad, but the commentary tracks are worth the price alone. Of course the now standard Scene Selection and subtitles are included, but in my opinion, these are hardly extra features, but they are worth a mention. In all, a normally underfeatured DVD, that more than makes up for that, with the extras it does have. Top notch.
What would you class The Evil Dead as? Its not a straight horror film, sure there are scares but in between are nodding references to how silly horror films can be. So its probably best to say that it is a comedy horror, whichever it is closest to, comedy or horror, it does well on both counts. The Evil Dead has had a colourful past. Originally entitled ‘The Book of the Dead’ the distributors wanted something a bit more meaty and so Evil Dead was born. Written and directed by Sam Raimi his full-scale debut is considered by many to be his best piece of work. He made an early film ‘Within The Woods’ to help fund The Evil Dead. You wouldn’t think it but it was 3 years in the making, however because it was so hard to get the meagre budget of $50,000 production had to keep stopping and starting all the time, so try and spot the characters age during the movie. Released uncut so they wouldn’t have the unmarketable ‘X’ rating in 1982, a time where horror films were still in abundance, The Evil Dead did exceptionally well and has remained to this day a horror…geez I may as well say it ‘cult classic’ in the genre. Raimi was just as surprised as everyone else, stating that he was happy if it was just played in drive in movies so it would ‘stop people kissing and make them turn around’. No worries there then. The plot is nothing special, although arguably its meant to be that way because horror films aren’t renowned for their sophisticated plot premise. As it goes five surprisingly un-horny teenagers go for a vacation…in an abandoned cabin, well it must have been cheap I guess. While making their trip, after a narrow collision with a lorry after the wheel ‘jammed’ they cross a ‘Dangerous’ (as ever) bridge, the only thing connecting them to the outside world. You sense trouble? The five hapless victims Ash (Bruce Campbe
ll), Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), Scotty (Hal Delrich), Linda (Betsey Baker) and Shelly (Sarah York) get themselves comfortable but its not long before things start to go a tad wrong. While drawing Cheryl is drawing she hears a voice and suddenly time stops and a force takes hold of her and makes her draw something that resembles a book. A short time after that the cellar door opens and so Ash and Scotty go down (well come on you have to don’t you?), they come back with a tape recording and The Book of The Dead. After playing the tape they unwittingly raise the forces of the dead and not only are they very annoyed because they’ve been woken up by some silly teenagers but they can also possess the living. It is up for the group to try and stay alive until the morning when hopefully they can figure a way out of the area. Easier said than done. It’s not long before the dead outnumber the living and panic ensues. The Evil Dead, then, is not going to win any Oscars for an overly interesting concept but it is meant to be a horror film and as long as it resembles one then that doesn’t really matter. So does it actually scare then? Well yes there are some suitably creepy and intense moments thanks to Raimi. Thanks to him this will be one of the most memorable horror films you will come to watch. From the start the pace never really lets up. Commencing in a lake with a camera roving over it (taped to Raimi’s hand) it will give a sense that something is really out there and that the kids don’t have a clue. It becomes even more apparent when the camera launches itself all over the woods with a steadily noisier groaning sound. There is something bad out there in the woods but you can only see from ‘It’s’ point of view and never see what is actually roaming in the woods. This works to the movies advantage, it doesn’t have a masked killer but something you can use your imagination
with, something which Final Destination adopted in style. You won’t actually see a dead person for about 20 minutes into the film however when you do see it you’ll be glad you waited. While the movie could have fallen down at this point, with the dead just becoming a boring factor in the film, trying to attack the living all the time, these dead peeps have a lot more attitude than the usual living corpse. They’re violent, they taunt and they move pretty fast too. There are some suitably disturbing parts of the film; the most prominent being the controversial and once banned ‘tree rape’ scene. Its one thing to hear it but its another to see it play in grittingly slow pace as the limbs of the tree makes the poor girl suffer like nothing seen in a horror movie before. There is also a nice parallel scene involving Ash and his girlfriend during the movie known as the ‘Eye game’ and then turning into the ‘Die game’ once she is possessed, simple but quite effective stuff. The Evil Dead is not all killings though. There are points when the action stops and gives the audience time to digest what has just happened, it also builds up the tension as to what may happen next. However when The Evil Dead is violent its violent to the extreme. It doesn’t hold back on the gore at all and considering its budget the effects are extremely well done. Blood, at one point, literally covers the screen at times. Limbs and heads fly everywhere, being stabbed and hacked anywhere the blade can find an available body part. The dead and the living die in an overtly over the top way nearly every time. Happily enough there is enough variety to keep you interested, even when some fighting scenes last a while you will still be glued to the screen as the dead screech in pain or screech in attack. Indeed the comedy does come into play because the gore is so over the top it is hard to take too seri
ously, despite how well its done. There are actually only 5 main characters in the film, excluding Sam Raimi and producer Robert Tapert as the two fishermen and the ‘fake shemps’ who stand in after some of the cast left before last principle shootings could be finished. The acting, actually, pretty bad but that adds to the charm of the film and seeing as its meant to be a comedy hamming it up doesn’t do it much harm. Bruce Campbell, 21 at the time, tries hard to mimic the actions of someone filled with terror and totally distraught and its quite funny to see him do this. There is little character development for any of the people though Ash does change over time, from becoming a relative coward to a mini hero by the end, and paving the way for the sequel. Also when people die their characters are different in style too again giving it a nice variety. The Evil Dead is so camp and so charming that the bad points don’t really spoil the film. By today’s standards the actors and actresses actions are laughable. Cheryl goes out to the woods to investigate a ‘strange noise’ on her own and calling out to whoever it is. Ash doesn’t dismember the dead bodies leaving you knowing they are going to come back. The Book of the Dead is supposed to raise the dead and evil but there is already something evil in the woods before they play the tape. Ash treats a piece of woods as a ten-ton brick as he tries to struggle from underneath it. Also while the make up is fantastic (the actors and actresses suffered greatly) the stop-go animation at the end really does show its age now we are in 2001. So yes there may be some plot holes and yes the acting is amateur to say the least but that’s the fun of The Evil Dead. Also Sam Raimi’s camera work is done with such gusto and effort that you can forgive him. The Evil Dead spawned two sequels, Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn was a bigger budget sequel
with more gore but pretty much on the same level as the original. Army of Darkness (with the quite fun working title The Medievil Dead) saw Ash get transported back in time. It has even a game to its name, albeit an average one, Evil Dead: Hail To the King. Part action, part horror and part comedy, The Evil Dead is testimony that a film can be stupid, the plot ridiculous and the acting as camp as it comes and still manage to pull off a surprisingly good show. THE EVIL DEAD IS Cheap Tacky Scary THE EVIL DEAD IS NOT Oscar material for acting Serious at all A cheap horror film you should miss
The Evil Dead has graced our shores in many different forms for over 18 years.... Finally thanks to Anchor Bay UK its the digital Dead and its uncut!! The Evil Dead caused a major stir back in 1982 when it was released, in fact it was its success in the UK that stopped it becoming just another B movie. Instead it spiralled to cult status and has spawned 2 sequels and a video game. The story is very simple, 5 friends travel up to a cabin deep in the woods of Tennesse, but their plans for a quiet weekend are shattered when the group find a tape recorder and a strange book in the cabin's cellar. The tape recorder contains demon incantations that release evil spirits intent on possessing the teens, turning them into flesh eating zombies... The film was an injection of pure adrenalin to horrors main artery when it was originally released, but don't expect state of the art special FX, this is a strictly low budget affair that relied on Director Sam Raimi's visual flair and dark, dark humour.. oh and a few buckets of blood and gore. Add to this the always excellent Bruce Campbell in the lead role as Ash (If only there was an Oscar for taking a good beating.)and evil spirits that sound like they are approaching on mopeds. You've got yourself a classic. To the DVD itself The Good News - This is a great transfer, remastered under the supervision of Sam Raimi with a new remixed Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. In places the new transfer shows up the the low film quality of the original - Take a close look at cabin shots with the full moon in the background. But I'm just being picky. For years I have owned an original video release of the Evil Dead (The version released before the video nasties hysteria.) which I had beleived to be the uncut version. I'm glad to say I was wrong. All of the films goriest scenes have got additional footage, some of which is definately a first for a UK version. (The
BBFC's new relaxed attitude is beginning to pay off.) The disc also cotains 2 commentaries, 1 from Director Sam Raimi and producer Rob Tapert, and an amusing track from Bruce Campbell Also included are the original US trailer and a stills gallery of colour and black & whites photos. The Bad News - The content of this UK release is almost identical to the US collectors edition on the Elite label, with the exception of 20 minute behind the scenes/alternate shot section which contains some scenes that were cut from the final release. It would have been nice to see that included here. This aside it is still a great release and a must for Evil Dead fans with region 2 players. Lets hope Anchor Bay UK keep up the good work for future releases.
I was lucky enough to see this film on video when it was first released. This was at a time when you could go into your local video shop and walk out with uncut titles like ‘I Spit On Your Grave and The Beyond’. That was until the media went hysterical and titles like these were either banned altogether and placed on the video nasties list or as in the case of The Evil Dead just cut to ribbons. So when I bought the Elite version of this film on DVD it was with enthusiasm that I sat down to watch it again after so long. Would it be as good as I remember? Well yes, especially considering the film only had a low budget. There are only four characters in the entire film and the plot is a very simple one. Ash played by Bruce Campbell, his mate Scotty along with their girlfriends and Ash’s sister Cheryl go off into the secluded woods to spend some time in a log cabin. On their first night in the cabin they discover a book and tape recorder in the basement, on listening to the tape they find out that the book is in fact called the Necronomicon (Book Of The Dead) and unknowingly awaken the evil force within the woods. So why did the British censors get so worked up about this film, well the violence is quite gruesome and of course there is the infamous tree rape scene. The latter isn’t as bad as the media made out, during the scene nudity is kept to a minimum and consists mainly of vines being wrapped around the arms and legs of the girl and her being dragged to the floor. Of course it is still disturbing after all the girl is being raped (albeit by a tree). Of course why the character of Ash’s sister who despite being scared wandered into the woods alone is a mystery even more a mystery is why he let her tag along with foursome to begin with. Another interesting fact that I had forgotten was that the rape scene happened before the group had played the tape, which means that there was something very wrong with the
woods from the start and not simply because they played the tape. Another point is why Ash himself seems immune from becoming possessed even though he doesn’t come unscathed during the struggle with his friends who are now demonic zombie’s. Bruce Campbell plays his part in this first installment of The Evil Dead trilogy fairy straight and looks genuinely terrified by all the mayhem that happens around him. Most of the special effects still look good with the exception of some of the stop and go animation towards the end which to be fair do show their age. Director Sam Raimi (Darkman and The Quick And The Dead) does a great job of creating a authentic creepy atmosphere to the film particularly during its build up. The camera work also deserves a mention with some great shots to be seen. This Elite DVD has some great extra features among them being about 20 minutes of behind-the-scene footage including some alternative takes. Also I must mention the two audio commentary’s the first has Sam Raimi and producer Robert Tapert while the second is by Bruce Campbell. So until another studio release a better version this remains the best way to view this movie. I couldn’t finish this opinion without mentioning the words ‘cult classic’ and while nearly all reviews of this film do say those words somewhere in their text in the case of The Evil Dead they are actually right.
Having seen Evil Dead quite a few years ago, way back in the late 80's... it was good to get to see it again recently, and in all its uncut glory, and through the clarity of DVD. The movie itself is fantastic, full of gore, blood, guts and body parts. The version i watched and the one i am reviewing here is the NTSC region 0 DVD. The story is about a group of friends who rent a cabin in the woods. They discover a book in the cabin, and evil spirits are unleashed slowly turning each of them, one by one, into zombies. As ever, there is one survivor, Ash... played here by Bruce Campbell. Evil Dead is Directed by Sam Raimi, and was made on a very low budget. The effects are very good considering, and there certainly is plenty of blood and gore and zombie parts. The DVD version is complete and uncut, and contains all your favourite scenes in their entirety. If this sounds like your cup of tea, you really should try to see it, but if you have a weak stomach or are not too fond of bloodfest movies, then maybe you should give it a miss. Personally, i rate Evil Dead by Sam Raimi very highly, and it is still as good as it was, very entertaining, shocking and funny. At the end of the day though, the descision is entirely up to you.
The Evil Dead was Sam Raimi's first commercial movie, and was based on a Super-8 movie that he and college friend Bruce Campbell created named Within the Woods. The movie was hugely successful, despite being shot by virtual amateurs on a miniscule budget, and soon became highly regarded as one of the finest horror movies ever made. Steven King reportedly loved it to bits. In the UK, it became one of the very first 'video nasties' and was only ever released in a heavily censored form to rent or buy. The movie tells the story of 5 college kids who travel to stay in a deserted cabin in the woods somewhere in Michigan - Ash, his sister Cheryl, his girlfriend Linda, his best friend Scott and Scott's girlfriend Shelly. Once there, they discover an ancient book and a tape recorder in the basement. Playing the tape reveals that the book is in fact the Necronomicon...or the "Book of the Dead"...and that an archeologist who previously owned the cabin had been researching the book when he recited a passage from one of the pages and accidentally unleashed something dark, evil and otherworldy. Sure enough, this spirit comes to get the 5 kids, taking them one by one... Raimi directs as though he's been doing it professionally for years, conjuring up scares from any shadow, any moment of silence. Some of the shots are truly inspired, and have been imitated over and over again in other movies, not least Raimi's horror sequel Evil Dead 2. The acting is quite bad to begin with, as can only be expected from a group of amateur actors fresh out of college. Still, it looks like they're having fun...until the horror begins. Campbell, however, stands out from the crowd as Ash - the average guy forced to defend himself for the first time in his life. The second half of The Evil Dead almost plays as a silent movie, with no dialogue save the occasional scream or mutter from Campbell or his attackers. This is amazingly effective, as Raimi
relies heavily on sound effects and music (or lack of) to create tension, rather than the "hip" dialogue we have become accustomed to in recent movies such as Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer. Joseph LoDuca provides an amazingly creepy musical score, using just piano, strings and retro synthesisers, with the odd symbal crash here and there. The pic is amazingly well edited by none other than Ethan Coen, of Coen brothers fame. Effects are surprisingly good considering the budget, the zombies being the coolest and scariest I've ever seen. There's even some creepy stop-motion animation thrown in!! The Evil Dead truly is an excellent horror movie, unlike any other. It's easy to see why it's become such a cult favourite, and probably one of the best examples of Raimi's work. There are two DVDs available...one from Anchor Bay, with a theatrical trailer, and one from Elite, which also features behind the scenes footage, an extensive photo gallery and two hilarious audio commentaries! Both have a newly restored print which is immaculate and really brings out the gore, and a 5.1 track which is surprisingly atmospheric and crispy considering the original audio elements. Also included on both is a 2.0 surround mix. Highly recommended...although Anchor Bay are to release a THX certified edition of The Evil Dead with extra supplements late next year, to supplement their releases of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, the movie's two sequels. To be honest, the Elite release is great and you won't regret picking it up.
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons. It all comes down to the last one still standing to stop the demons and save the world...