The Evil Dead Trilogy Review
This trilogy review is the winner of the Halloween trilogy review poll that was posted on the ‘Back To The Future’ review. Not too surprising that this trilogy won as it is a favourite of mine from the first film which brought real scares and even laughs on purpose in one film to ‘Army of Darkness’ which just went full on slapstick comedy horror and will still make me laugh. All three of these films where directed and written by Sam Raimi, and I view them as some of his best films if not the best. I think these films are timeless and hope you all do too because it would be a shame if these films ever lost an audience. On a plus side I got over 32 votes which were better than the 20 from the poll before, I still want MORE! So don’t forget to vote at the end.
The Evil Dead (1981)
The nominal plot involves five vacationing college kids — Ash (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker), and their classmates Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), Scott (Hal Delrich) and Shelly (Sarah York) — making an unplanned stopover in an abandoned mountain cabin surrounded by impenetrable woods. Before settling in for the night, they come across an ancient-looking occult tome filled with dense hieroglyphics and macabre illustrations, a dagger fashioned from human bones, and a reel-to-reel tape recorder. The taped message, dictated by a professor of archaeology, describes the contents of the Sumerian “Book of the Dead,” filled with incantations used to bring otherworldly demons to life, giving them license to possess the living. The message goes on to explain that those possessed by these demons can only be stopped by total bodily dismemberment. When played among the group later that evening, the professor’s recorded translations of the ritual chants traumatize the strangely prescient Shelly … and simultaneously release an ominous presence from the depths of the forest.
Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.
Story: 100% Acting: 80% Visuals: 95% Dialogue: 85%
Horror/Humour: 100% Style/Sound: 75% Characters: 70%
The first film has this crazy story that somehow really works because I just think it was done right, Sam Raimi really knew how to get a good mix of gory horror and a kind of dark humour that is really funny in the right context. The main character Ash is played by the amazing Bruce Campbell who just plays this character so well that he managed to launch a near action hero status with even a comic book based on his antics in these films. The film itself had a ridiculously low budget of $350K and when you look at the film it doesn’t show too much and they do show some very interesting visual techniques, obviously not using any CGI it was all puppets, makeup and camera trickery which when you are just using a 16mm through the whole film must have been difficult. One of the things I always remembered from the film was how the possessed people sounded, it’s such a subtle thing but the sound of them as they screamed and taunted the characters was chilling, annoying and somehow funny at the same time. The weirdest part of the film would be the erm…Tree rape scene, probably the most famous scene of this film for some reason probably because of how random it was. My favourite scene would have to be either the tape recording scene with the line “I have seen the dark shadows moving in the woods and I have no doubt that whatever I have resurrected through this book is sure to come crawling… for me.” Or anything with Ash handling the crazy taunts coming from the possessed.
Check out the trailer:
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Nearly the entire storyline of the previous film has been re-shot and presented in a drastically condensed form within the first few minutes: rock-jawed but clueless “hero” Ash (Campbell) now visits the mountain cabin only with girlfriend Linda (played here by Denise Bixler). Upon arrival at the cabin, Ash discovers the Sumerian Book of the Dead, the ritual dagger and a reel-to-reel tape containing the professor’s translations of the book’s hieroglyphics. The incantations summon an unseen, growling spirit from within the woods, which bursts into the cabin and takes possession of Linda’s soul. Ash is forced to decapitate her with a shovel, after which he buries her in the forest. At first dawn, Ash tries to make his escape, but is promptly set upon by the spirits, given a solid thrashing and nearly possessed himself, saved only by the arrival of sunlight. Cut off from the outside world, Ash is forced to hole up in the cabin and wait for the next demonic onslaught — which arrives sooner than expected, led by Linda’s rotting corpse. After being bitten by Linda’s chatty decapitated head, Ash’s hand becomes independent of his body and begins pummeling him repeatedly. The story then jumps to a local airport, where the professor’s daughter Annie (Sarah Berry) and her partner Ed Getley (Richard Domeier) have just arrived with the missing pages to the Necronomicon.
Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.
Story: 90% Acting: 85% Visuals: 95% Dialogue: 90%
Horror/Humour: 100% Style/Sound: 75% Characters: 80%
What I love about this film is that it somehow manages to make the first film irrelevant and condenses that story into a 4 minute reshot and then goes straight into a new storyline. Again Sam Raimi brings the horror and dark humour to the front of this films selling point and I think he adds a little more action than the first with the obvious part of this film where Ash has to cut of his possessed hand and then affixes a chainsaw (so cool) he then goes on a bit of an offensive which I loved. The visuals where pretty much the same as the original only with a few CGI shots thrown in for some comical effects such as the dimensional wormhole. The main character again being Ash has changed a little in this film being more crazy and twisted by what he has seen and has embraced the situation he is in which is really interesting to see a character doing. The weirdest part of this film would be that scene when the wall fixings starting manically laughing at Ash and he just returns the favour which will always make me laugh because it’s infectious (or I am crazy). I actually prefer this film a little bit more than the first because of the shear amount of memorable scenes. My favourite scene would have to be when Ash is fighting his own hand and has to cut it off because it kind of reminded me of that scene in Dr Strangelove with the doctor’s Nazi hand which was fantastically funny.
Check out the trailer:
Army of Darkness (1993)
The third in director Sam Raimi’s stylish, comic book-like horror trilogy that began with The Evil Dead (1982), this tongue-in-cheek sequel offers equal parts sword-and-sorcery-style action, gore, and comedy. Bruce Campbell returns as the one-armed Ash, now a supermarket employee (“Shop Smart…Shop S-Mart”) who is transported by the powers of a mysterious book back in time with his Oldsmobile ’88 to the 14th century medieval era. Armed only with a shotgun, his high school chemistry textbook, and a chainsaw that mounts where his missing appendage once resided, the square-jawed, brutally competent Ash quickly establishes himself as a besieged kingdom’s best hope against an “army of darkness” currently plaguing the land. Since the skeleton warriors have been resurrected with the aid of the Necronomicon (the same tome that can send Ash back to his own time) he agrees to face the enemy in battle. Ash also finds romance of a sort along the way with a beautiful damsel in distress, Sheila (Embeth Davidtz), and contends with his own doppelganger after mangling an important incantation.
Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.
Story: 70% Acting: 80% Visuals: 80% Dialogue: 100%
Horror/Humour: 75% Style/Sound: 70% Characters: 85%
I don’t even know where to begin with this film, but I think I need to start off by saying it is groovy. The story this time does a small recap of the events of the second film and gets straight into the 20th century wise cracking guy with a chainsaw for a right hand being flung into the 14th century, the whole thing has just gone crazy but I still love this film because it just seems to dive deeper into what made me laugh in the other films even if it does lose some of its horror scares. The visuals in this film really do go out there but with it being in the 90’s when this was made they could do more and obviously had a larger budget, they have armies of the dead crazy bat people, witches and a cast of at least 100 people vastly larger than the other films. Ash in this film has changed again to a more competent and extremely prepared for the fight character, he is also far more wise cracking which allows for a great deal of memorable lines. My favourite lines would be “Yo, she-bitch! Let’s go!”, “Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun.”, “You ain’t leadin’ but two things right now: Jack and sh*t, and Jack left town.”and of course This… is my… BOOMSTICK! My favourite scene would have to be The Broomstick scene because it just really funny and such a great way to start off the film.
Check out the Trailer:
And the best clip as well:
Finally just before you vote, we now have the first RED BAND trailer for The Evil Dead Remake which actually looks really good. Obviously they are going down a more horror route than the original film but I am fine with that and can’t wait to see it.