Evil Dead (1981)

Yeah, I have no idea how we haven’t covered this yet.

Actually, we try to avoid movies that everyone has seen and said things about, because I often worry, “What else can I add to the conversation?”

In truth, I’d seen Evil Dead II before the original and preferred the comic take on the same story. And Army of Darkness takes that goofiness, mixes in some peplum and Harryhausen and gets even cooler. I’ve ever seen — and been coated with gore during — the stage play. And we even talked about Within the Woods, the proof of concept that sold this movie.

What can I say about this movie that’s new and different? Do you want me to say something like, “It’s a less claymation version of Equinox?” Because, yes, I absolutely believe that to be true but I’m still pretty amazed by what Sam Raimi and his skeleton crew were able to get out of this movie.

How great is it that Raimi’s career started here, mounting a camera to a board and running through the woods chasing people to try and get the perfect shot? Evil Dead is infused with a heavy metal energy and blows through 85 minutes like a band blasting as many songs as it can in one set so it can rock your face off.

Where the later movies lose their edge slightly — there’s no way Ash is getting killed — everyone in this movie is fair game. It feels dangerous and unhinged, as only the best horror movies can be.

I mean, it must have worked out. They’re still making sequels and video games and toys, after all.

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