Oh no! It’s Scott from the original Evil Dead! And not “Party Down!” Scott……but demonically possessed Scott! His eyes….my God, look at his eyes! No seriously, look at them because this is a staring contest. Try not to be distracted by his suddenly grey hair. Or that blood coming out of his mouth. Keep focused and just think about how annoying his laugh was in the movie and that will make you want to defeat him even more. Oh wait – Ash just stepped in and gouged both of his eyes out with his thumbs! You win!!!!!!!!!
Growing up, I would constantly turn on the Siskel & Ebert TV show on Saturday afternoons to see if they were reviewing any horror movies that week. It’s not a revelation that most horror movies that they did review got trashed (except Carnosaur for some reason), and one of my favorite reviews that they did was for The Evil Dead:
I think I will call horror movies ‘Ghoulies‘ from now on thanks to Gene Siskel. I had never heard that term before, but I must start using it now. But anyway, their review for The Evil Dead wasn’t a shock – but I was glad to see that they recognized the effects that were used at the time, even on the shoestring budget that Sam Raimi had. Part of me kind of wishes that Siskel would have actually barfed while watching the movie though. It would have been an accomplished mission from Sam and his crew. Fun fact btw: Roger Ebert actually gave Evil Dead II a glowing review when it came out in 1987.
I remember the first time I saw The Evil Dead. My sister had seen it the night before at a slumber party (because slumber parties were all the rage in the 80’s), and came home with the VHS telling me it was the scariest movie she’d ever seen. Being the sceptic that I am, and was as an 8-year-old boy back then, I told her she was full of shit. At which point my Mom stuck a bar of soap in my mouth. So I pushed my skepticism aside and sat down to watch it.
Oh look – five kids in an old cabin. Scotty tells everyone to “Party down!!”. Hey, they found an old tape recorder in the basement with some creepy guy talking about demons and junk like that. Uh oh – a girl just got raped by some trees. And then…….the possession of Cheryl is revealed:
Yikes! This is the moment when I was all in on The Evil Dead. I know, I should been all in at the tree raping, but it was Cheryl’s possession reveal that gave me the creeps – so it wins. The levitation and the voice with her head rolling around back and forth challenged my nerves, but it was actually the somewhat cheesy makeup effects that did it for me. Probably those white eyes. Which are an understandable side effect after being taken against your will by demonic tree branches I guess. Note to self by the way: Don’t leave any unattended pencils lying around if a possessed body collapses near me.
Let me just get right into it. Thank god the Evil Dead franchise is turning scary again! I might get stoned for saying this, but I never liked the hokey/comedic turn that the original trilogy turned into. Let’s make no mistake about it – the 1981 original Evil Dead was scary. It was definitely low-budget and some of the effects left a lot to be desired…but it was scary, and always intended to be so. The tree raping, the pencil in the ankle, and the numerous body dismemberments all made me wince the first time I saw them when I rented the VHS from the local Mom & Pop store in town. Bottom line: it scared the shit out of me. If I watch it now, maybe not so much. But, The Evil Dead is still one of my favorite horror movies of all time, and I respect to this day what Sam Raimi and his crew tried to accomplish and did accomplish.
Fast forward 6 years later and Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn is released. I’ll admit, it confused the hell out of me the first time I saw it. Mind you, back then, I didn’t realize what was going on with the concept. It wouldn’t be until later in my horror filled life that I would understand what Raimi and company were trying to do here. Evil Dead 2 wasn’t really a sequel, but more of a “retelling” of the original Evil Dead, with Raimi putting together the movie he always wanted to make, this time with better effects (courtesy of KNB) and a bigger budget. The end result was super entertaining, inventive, goofy, but just not that scary. I dealt with it though and enjoyed the hell out of it, and still do today. But the absence of any real terror or dread fucked with me and I have to admit, it really bothered me too.
1992 is the year I would get slapped in the face. And this is also the part of the post where I may get pelted with heavy objects because I have a confession: I don’t like Army Of Darkness. The third entry of the Evil Dead trilogy would find Ash transported back to medieval times and turning into even more of the wise-cracking/ass-kicking hero that was introduced to us in Evil Dead 2. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve tried to like this movie. I feel like I need to like it. I feel like I want to like it. But once we get to the midway point with Ash doing his Three Stooges schtick along with a bunch of little Ash’s, that’s where it loses me. Now to be fair, I don’t hate Army Of Darkness. I just don’t like it. I get why a lot of people love this move though, and I’m not going to hate on anyone who does love it. But it’s just my opinion that at this point in the franchise, it turned too comedic, and I just desperately wanted some creepy deadite action and another pencil in the ankle.
Well, after a long 21 year wait….my prayers have appeared to be answered. The upcoming Evil Dead (April 5th) re-imaging goes back to it’s 1981 roots and looks like it brings the scary. Gone are the yuck yucks and goofy Jim Carrey faces and returning in it’s place are tons of gore and tongue slicings. Looks like there will be a tree raping thrown in there too for good measure! Now I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I can’t vouch for the overall finished product, but I can pretty much guarantee that it will be scarier than Evil Dead 2 and Army Of Darkness combined. Even Bruce Campbell himself has somewhat mocked the hokeyness of Army Of Darkness in recent interviews and confirms that the new Evil Dead will fuck your shit up (his words). So join me in a toast, to the return of the scary Evil Dead! It’s been too long baby…..been too long.