Sunday, September 19, 2010

Favorite Horror Movie # Eight.

I saw The Evil Dead for the first time when I was about 16. I have been a horror movie fan since it was still acceptable for me to crap my pants, so how this one had escaped me so long I have no idea. What makes this movie great lies in its direction. Its not well acted or even that scary. Although when it was released in 1981 it was considered controversial for its over-the-top violence and gore. In truth though its sort of silly really. It did reasonably well and became an instant cult classic. Bruce Campbell makes his first appearance as Ash Williams. He would return to the franchise two more times and kicked a little more ass each time.
It is a pretty basic demon possession horror complete with demonic trees and undead girlfriends. Five friends stay at a cabin in the woods and awaken ancient demons by reading from the "Book of the Dead.  It was directed by Sam Raimi who later went on the direct the Spiderman movies. He combined intricate camera techniques with chilling sound effects that kept you waiting for the next "jump scare".
I really enjoyed the following two movies, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness but they won't make my list. The Evil Dead left its mark on me by introducing me to a new way enjoy the genre. It's not all about tenacious, gripping, cover-your-eyes horror. There can be humor to relieve the tension in between "scares". The budget was low on this movie but you don't care. The special effects are in the small details that make this classic run against the grain of the other horror movies of its time. There has been long talk of a fourth in the series and if that day ever comes I'll be first in line. Laughing and cringing the whole time.

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