The Evil Dead Series (1981-)

It’s a special one today. We’ll be talking about one of, if not my favourite horror movie series of them all. A series that’s truly one of a kind and one that will go down in history as one of the most fun, entertaining and scary as hell horrors. It is, of course Sam Raimi‘s Evil Dead series!!

I won’t be mentioning 2013’s reboot/remake of The Evil Dead because it doesn’t belong within the true series but I will say that it was quite well received and is definitely worth checking out.

Let’s start with the first one then shall we. 1981’s The Evil Dead is the ultimate ‘Cabin in the Woods’ horror movie…2012’s ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ actually did take many elements from Evil Dead, although the end product was nowhere near as good, despite it definitely being worth the watch. I guess that’s a good way to start to bring across my love and admiration for this series.

What Raimi did here with a budget saved up by himself and a few friends, is incredible. The Evil Dead is low budget, B-movie horror at it’s absolute finest. Disturbing as scary as hell, darkly funny, goofy and fun. Mainly fun really…as any good B-movie should be.

The effects, not just in the first, but throughout the 3 films are brilliant. They’re not ‘real’ when compared to the CGI garbage used in horrors these days but they have an undying charm to them. With such a low budget, the effects are brilliant and add a lot to the overall enjoyment of the film. I am a huge lover of practical effects as you should know by now and in this series, they really are excellent. Practical effects allow me to know that I’m watching a movie. I’m not sure if this makes sense, but CGI in horror completely takes me out of the film as I tend to think it looks too real. I definitely think horror should look more practical…that’s how I can enjoy the film and enjoying horror, is in my opinion, equally as important as getting scared by horror.

Don’t go into Evil Dead expecting The Shining or any other classy, polished horror you can think of. It’s far from that but equally as good and effective, if not more so. It’s grainy, it’s shaky, it’s over-the-top and it’s incredibly fun to watch. We may all love The Shining, but I wouldn’t say that it’s particularly fun.

Watch the above video from the guys at IGN if you want to get a taste of the tone, style and genius of The Evil Dead series before you watch it…and for those of us who have, it’s always good to remind ourselves why we love this franchise!

Evil Dead 2, a direct sequel to the first and one that follows on exactly where the first left off, despite being made and released 6 years later in 1987. This adds more of a comedic element to proceedings and it works like a charm. It’s widely considered the strongest in the series and I am in full agreement there. The comedy blends perfectly with the horror to create another entertaining, fun, terrifying film. Reminds me of An American Werewolf In London with its mix of comedy and horror. Evil Dead 2 arguably does it better though. The effects once again are excellent and really are the main source of the disturbing scares. It’s more over-the-top than the first and usually that doesn’t work with films but there’s just something about Evil Dead 2 that makes it work perfectly.

Before we move on, I think I have an idea of what that reason may be…Bruce Campbell himself. The only actor to appear in all (now 4) parts of The Evil Dead series and the man behind what makes the films great. He perfectly epitomises the films’ tone and style in his charming and incredibly over-the-top performances that are a pure delight to watch. Bruce Campbell as Ash is equivalent to Robert Englund as Freddy KruegerBoris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster and Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in terms that those characters, along with their actors, will go down not only in horror history, but in movie history. An absolute legend of the genre!

Before we go on to talk about the 3rd film in the series, I want to mention another thing that Ash does in order to ensure his place in our minds for eternity. His quips. Bruce Campbell gave us so many quotes that horror lovers use all the time, from ‘Groovy‘ to ‘This is my BOOMSTICK‘. He is almost unrivalled when it comes to quotes within the genre and it’s just another way in which he charms the heck out of us.

Now, let’s talk about 1992’s ‘Army of Darkness‘. As you can see from the above picture, it takes Ash out of that small cabin in the middle of nowhere and plants him in the year 1300. Yep, it’s as goofy and as brilliant as it sounds. Bruce Campbell in the middle ages with a shotgun, continuing his one-man onslaught against the undead…what’s not to love. There’s honestly nothing quite like these films in any genre. They are just so fun to watch…I can’t stress that enough. I will say that AoD is the weakest of the 3 films but is definitely still worth the watch. It keeps the comedy of Evil Dead 2 while still retaining a good amount of fun horror that stayed consistent throughout the 3.

What I would give to see a 4th Evil Dead film made!!

With all 3 wonderful Evil Dead films now discussed, we’ll finish on the upcoming TV series, Ash Vs Evil Dead which promises all that we love about the previous films and of course, has Campbell back in the role that made him a B-movie legend and a role he hasn’t played in 23 years…I for one, am hugely looking forward to it. Seeing him wield the famous chainsaw and ‘boomstick’ again, fighting the hoards of ‘deadites’…Oh, I can’t wait!!

Read Collider’s pre-screened review by following the Twitter link below…

Well, turns out I was right at the end of my ‘My Bloody Valentine‘ post…I did have fun writing that! I’m sure by now you’ve got the idea to go and watch this film series. If you want a good, fun movie-watching experience, look no further my friends!!

Next up, we harken back to some of our older posts on this journey and make the trip back across to Britain. This is a film that is a genre fan’s dream, consisting of 4 of the most legendary actors in the history of horror all playing off each other in wonderful homage to their older films. It’s not exactly the greatest of films but it’s hugely enjoyable just for the sake of seeing Lee, Cushing, Price and Carradine all on screen together. And if that cast list isn’t enough to make you smile across your entire face…well…you’re just miserable!

Let me know your thoughts on The Evil Dead films and on the upcoming TV show in the comments and be sure to check me out on Twitter and Instagram!

The Journey Goes On

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