Looking for a movie to watch this Halloween? Evil Dead may be known for its 2013 remake given the same title, but what many don’t know is that the original movies from the 80s and 90s are the true gems in this franchise. Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness follow Ashley “Ash” J. Williams, a college student, to a cabin in the woods of Tennessee with his girlfriend and three other friends. The following is a list of my top five reasons you’ll love these movies.
1) Bruce Campbell and his chin
As the lead actor in the franchise, appearing in all three movies, Bruce Campbell is no ordinary man. Standing at six feet, the tall drink of water brutally murders his way through the films. Campbell performed all of his own stunts, including a full front flip in Evil Dead 2 as he fights himself. Like any good actor, he remains completely in character as the special effects team—really top notch in the 80s—covers Campbell in copious amounts of watery fake blood and cuts to his brooding face. Those who have seen the 2013 remake may recall that Campbell is the producer of the new movie and has divulged that there will also be an Army of Darkness remake as well. Bruce Campbell is an irreplaceable component that caused the first movie to get recognized as “one of the most ferociously original films ever made.”
2) The fake blood
Nowadays, there is an undeniable interest in gore. The more real the blood looks, the better. However, I disagree. I am not interested in the realistic and shocking. What really has me hooked is Evil Dead’s absolutely ridiculous use of chocolate sauce and corn syrup. If I do convince you to go out and get the DVD, the outtakes and bloopers are a must-see after the film. The effects crew believed red blood was no good; the critics wouldn’t fall for it all, so they began experimenting—including green and even yellow blood. At one point in the film, Ash is doing his thing killing the undead, when he is covered completely in this watery liquid they considered blood. You cannot help but admire the director’s perseverance as he probably laughed behind the camera lens.
3) The intelligent plot
I am hoping by now you’ll observe my third point with the hint of sarcasm it deserves. No offense to the director, Sam Raimi, who was 21 at the time and fresh out of film school, but it is not the captivating plot that keeps your loyal viewership watching. Let’s consider the third instalment, Army of Darkness, which veers off course from the previous two. Ash time travels to 1300 AD to continue his bloody fight to save the living from the dead. By 1992, Raimi’s film genre transformed to “horror comedy” as he leaves his audience giggling at the outrageous way the skeleton army attempts to kill the man in blue jeans toting a double-barrelled shotgun.
4) The chainsaw
I sincerely hope I do not spoil the movies for any of you, but the chainsaw must be on my list. I guess we could technically call this “Ash’s right hand,” but the lack thereof, s the real killer (no pun intended). Six years after the first movie was released, Evil Dead 2 opened up another chance for Raimi to explore his strange sense of humour and love for horror. Bruce Campbell stars again as Ash, still fighting against the force of evil that has befallen on the small cabin and surrounding woods. Somehow, his right hand becomes one of them and begins to fight back (see point 1) against Ash. Ash’s only reasonable choice is to hack it off viciously with the chainsaw. From then on, Raimi and his team use this as an asset, creating hilarious scenes about the now three limbed Ash and his chainsaw.
5) The “undead”
As expected, Evil Dead includes zombie-like blood-spitting demons that possess the living. These gorgeous demons truly bring out the best in the body it takes over—white eyes, rapidly graying hair, and a shrill laugh that annoys every audience. With a budget of about $350k, Raimi and his team really couldn’t spend too much on makeup. However, in Evil Dead 2, the graphics and special effects grew to even include a “contact lens technician” who applied the eerie white lens. Without the team of 20-something guys constantly working with Raimi to create the goriest and creepiest demons and props, this movie franchise would not have the same slapstick appeal. And as Raimi said, it’s “very frightening, very scary, but don’t be alarmed, it’s only a picture.”