Its 10:33 pm
So in working to establish our YouTube Channel,I created a new series called “The Red Bin Challenge”. The Red Bin Challenge features my showing off of thirteen red bins that are in my closet. Each bin holds 28 films that I haven’t watched yet or haven’t seen in years. I pick a bin,show off the films in the bin and viewers then vote on what the cheetah and I watch and review.
I knew “The Evil Dead” was in the red bin was I featuring and I expected to get roasted by all my friends who wouldn’t believe I hadn’t watched this iconic horror classic. I also expected everyone to vote that the cheetah and I review it as well. But to my great surprise,”The Evil Dead” was not the film picked,a film called “Valentine:The Dark Avenger”,a superhero movie from Indonesia won the week. I put the bin back in the closet and I figured it would be a while before the film was recycled up for another vote.
But then I got a message from my friend Casey who wanted to know if I wanted to do a watch party with “The Evil Dead”.
Basically we both put on the film and talk about it on the phone while we watch it. Casey had already watched it so I was “Sure,this sounds like fun” and so the cheetah,Casey and I watched “The Evil Dead”.
The film starts off with a group of 5 friends traveling to a remote cabin in the woods. The group consists of Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell),his sister Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss),his girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker),his buddy Scott (Richard Mannicor) and Scott’s girlfriend Shelly (Theresa Tilly). The road going to cabin is really rough and the bridge they cross is in poor condition.
The group arrives and it looks very creepy. Ash and the girls stay back at the car as Scott goes to unlock the door. He notices a swinging patio chair that stops instantly when Scott opens the cabin’s door. The group then relaxes and starts to unload the car. While the cabin seems completely cut off from anyone else,somehow it still has electricity.
As everyone goes to their own room,Cheryl sits in her room,drawing a landscape. Suddenly she starts hearing voices and her hand loses control and starts drawing what appears to be weird book. While she is startled,she says nothing to the group as they sit down to dinner. Suddenly a cellar door slams open and the group jumps up to check it out.
Scott heads downs in the cellar but when the group calls out to him,there is no noise. Ash then follows Scott down and we see the cellar is enormous with various rooms and doors. Scott scares Ash but then shows him a room with all sorts of stuff including a tape machine and a shotgun. The two gather up the items and head upstairs to listen to the tape machine.
The group turns on the machine and a professor tells a story about finding a “Book of the Dead” and how it possessed various members of his group and the extreme measures he had to take to save himself. While the other take it for face value,Cheryl becomes very upset and demands Scott turn the tape player off.
The group then goes to bed but Cheryl hears strange noises outside and goes out into the night to see what is going on.
She has an incredibly violent encounter with unseen force and barely escapes back to cabin,she insists Ash take her out of there and as he agrees,they find the bridge totally destroyed and are forced to come back,they’ll wait til morning to try and find another way out.
As the groups tries to settle back down….Shelly and Linda are doing a card cgame where Linda is trying to guess what card Shelly has,Shelly keeps saying that Linda is guessing correctly when she really isn’t. Suddenly Cheryl also starts guessing and she ISN’T wrong as she turns……and is shown to be fully possessed by the demonic force that the professor was talking about…….as the four friends stare in shock,little do they know that this is merely the start of the longest night of their lives……
So was the “The Evil Dead” overhyped?? Hell no……even after 40 years,this film has some serious punch to it. I have always been puzzled why writer-director Sam Raimi took such a great premise and decided to turn it into a horror-comedy franchise,all that did was weaken the legacy of the orginal film and cause many new fans to see it as camp. The fact Bruce Campbell has always struggled to find serious roles in long career have caused many new fans to see “The Evil Dead” as a horror comedy when it fact it is far from it. The irony that Campbell reutation as a lovable goof starts with the Evil Dead sequel is not lost to sharp eyed viewers and fans of Bruce.
The film,which came out in 1982,took Raimi and producer Robert Tapert three years to make as the production filmed when they had money,listening to Raimi’s commentary really drives home just how damned hard everyone worked to complete the film. Not everyone had complete faith in the film as both Mannicor and Tilly filmed under different names as not to be tied to the film if it was a bomb at the theaters.
But you can see the love and dedication everyone had in the filming,Campbell and Mannicor took beatings by flinging themselves into walls and shelves while Sandweiss ran through the woods at night and got bruised and battered for it. But holy crow,does it pay off when the film kicks into overdrive. The cast is a major strength of the film and the five actors did an outstanding job in very tough conditions.
The Evil franchise has lasted more then 40 years,it spawned two more sequels,a series called “Ash vs. The Evil Dead”,a remake in 2013 that many call better then the original….of course having a 17 million dollar budget versus a 400,000 dollar may have had a hand in that point of view. A new Evil Dead film is planned for 2022, on the heels of the 40th anniversary of the original and is being produced by Campbell,shooting starts in New Zealand later this year.
“The Evil Dead” has a run time of 90 minutes and is rated “R” for graphic violence. I have the Anchor Bay release and that edition has a lot of special features including commentaries by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert and a solo commentary by Bruce Campbell. Finding a copy of this film may take some looking as Anchor Bay is no more. You’ll have to look at secondary places to find a copy…I found mine at my local library.
I really enjoyed watching “The Evil Dead” and while I have the remake,I am not sure if I want to see the other releases as I prefer the fury of the original against the horror comedy of the sequels and TV series.
The cheetah and I gave “The Evil Dead” two thumbs/4 paws straight up……
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