THE EVIL DEAD (1981)
Article 4324 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Sam Raimi
Featuring Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor
What it is: Bloody mayhem
A group of friends staying in a deserted cabin discover an evil Sumerian book that summons demons to possess them all.
I’ve been curious about this movie for some time, and I’m glad to finally have gotten a chance to see it. It’s easy to see why Sam Raimi went on to a successful directorial career; he has a definite sense of style, knows how to use sound effectively, and keeps the pace going at a frantic pace. It’s also easy to see why Bruce Campbell became such a popular cult actor as a result of his work here; much of the movie deals with him being on the only remaining human character, and he does a great job in keeping you involved with his predicament. The movie is often creatively audacious in the way it plays with, subverts, and sometimes succumbs to cliches; you’re never quite sure which way it’s going to go. And there’s something fascinating about the way it employs its nonstop barrage of gore effects. Nevertheless, it never quite becomes “the ultimate experience in grueling horror” that it claims to be; it’s merely one of the most outrageously excessive. It’s so over-the-top that it never really becomes believable; you’re in a (particularly gruesome) funhouse, and you know it. Maybe it’s no surprise that the sequel moved into the direction of comedy; with some of the stuff that happens in this one, it veers pretty close to being comic itself.