The first installment in a trilogy of hysterical horror films. This one appeared to be an honest attempt to make a B-movie horror flick. By the time they made the second one (Evil Dead 2), they seemed to have a bit more of a sense of humor, and made it a spoof of the original. The third, and most well known installment, is Army of Darkness. All three were really entertaining.

Directed by Sam Raimi, starring Bruce Campbell, Evil Dead was the number one video rental in England one year. Appears a bit dated nowadays, which can be remedied by a showing of Dead Alive. Oh baby.

Source of most of Duke Nukem's catchphrases, ripped from Bruce Campbell's inspired performance as Ash.

Writeup of the Elite Special Collector's Edition DVD

Sam Raimi's first feature film, with a delicious eye for gloop and gore, while simultanously able to scare the crap outa ya. Bruce Campbell has not yet evolved into the "man's man" of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, but skillful direction, amusingly bad acting and genuinely scary moments lift this above modern horror movies, with so called irony.. The Evil Dead is a hoot, and it knows it.. Much nastier than the sequels, tho. If you want to see a true unrated movie, look no further!!

A decent transfer from Elite, it shows it's 16mm origins with a grainy washed-out look, but decent enough video restoration removing pops and scratches from it. Good stuff.

Sound, surprisingly is available in 5.1, an interesting mix for such an old film. Remarkable.

Two commentaries, outtakes, trailer and a library of photos. Doesn't sound like much, but it's a decent selection, in particular Bruce Campbell's commentary.. He's a damn-fine comedian, and his piss-taking commentary is superb.

In Bruce Campbells autobiography, If Chins Could Kill, some interesting stories are told about the making of the film.

First off, the movie was made by amateurs with no experience other than cheap Three Stooges rip-offs. It's amazing where the movie and its participants went, especially Sam Raimi (director of Darkman, A Simple Plan, and Spider-Man). The Stooges influence can be seen in Army of Darkness, the third in the Evil Dead series.

The house in which the film was shot, located in Tennessee, was haunted, in a way. The former family who lived there consisted of a couple and their daughter. One night, in the 1930s, a very bad storm raged across the state. A strange man entered the house and brutally murdered the two parents, leaving the girl alone. The neighbors found her wandering about aimlessly after the incident. The rumor has it that the girl, now much older and in an asylum, leaves every time there is a large storm, to go visit the house looking for her parents. Such a storm occurred a few weeks before Sam Raimi set up his cameras. Interesting . . .

In post-production, Joel Coen of Coen brothers fame came on as assistant editor for the film. Raimi and Coen became friends, and later, when the brothers were attempting to begin directing their own film, namely Blood Simple, they came to Raimi to ask for some tips. Raimi suggested creating a prototype of a few scenes in the film. The Coens decided on a murder scene in which an injured man drags himself down an abandoned dirt country road (a very Hitchcockian scene). In the prototype, that man was played by none other than Bruce Campbell.

Sam Raimi and the Coen brothers went on later to write The Hudsucker Proxy together. And the entire thrill-ogy are now cult classics.

Addendum (June 19, 2002): Sam Raimi has now arrived in Hollywood; he recently directed Spider-man, which broke the record of most earned in a film's opening weekend, by making $130 million. If you watch the film, you can see a bit of the filming style used in Evil Dead, happily.

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