Halloween Horror Movie Month: The Evil Dead (1981)

30 years later, and it still kicks ass.

During an unplanned stop at a remote cabin deep within the woods, a group of teens falls prey to a mysterious supernatural force. As his pals become possessed and turn into flesh-eating zombies, Ash (Bruce Campbell) struggles to keep his cool and save his own skin.

Even though the title and poster should have been a big warning for me, I still had no idea just what I was getting myself into. When I say that, it’s a good thing too.

Writer/director Sam Raimi isn’t all about having A-list stars or big-budget effects and that’s why this film works on so many levels. The movie was made with about $400,000 and you can tell that all of that money went to non-stop blood, gore, and fake body-parts that this film constantly threw all-over-the-place. It also kind of gives hope to all aspiring film-makers out there, that if you can make cool films with a small amount of money. It all depends really on the film itself.

I mean I have seen a lot of gory horror films (Hell, half of the horror movie’s in today’s world rely on gore for “the scare factor”) but this one totally pushes the envelop and with good effect too, because I was totally wigging out by all of the crap I saw on-screen. Raimi gets totally insane as the film goes and in time, gets more original with this material. I mean come on, who has ever seen a tree rape someone before? I rest my case.

The way he constantly uses the camera to run-around the woods as if it were some sort of person, or unstoppable force is very influential and also at the same time, still very scary once you see how realistic the camera is moving to keep up with the action/terror. Truly freaky stuff here and it will definitely now make me look twice while I’m in the woods from now on.

The film isn’t as scary as it is just gory and it’s real problems actually lie within some of the writing because regardless of what Raimi may be able behind the camera, on paper, he can’t keep the magic going. There’s a lot of really cheap and dumb lines that I’ve probably heard about 1,000,000 times before and after this film was released and the dramatic weight they try to give this film seems forced and annoying considering how many times this film should have just strayed away from it. I guess maybe I’m being too judgmental but I have to say that this kind of took away from the film’s overall effect.

When it comes to acting, this film kind of suffers as well with the exception of the one and only, Bruce Campbell. This movie is practically responsible for launching his career into “the B-movie God” he’s known as today, and with good reason. He plays our hero, Ash, and starts off very nerdy and scared but then turns into this crazed killer that totally just wants to get the hell out of the woods and it’s kind of cool to see this guy’s whole transformation throughout the whole hour and 25 minutes.

Consensus: About 30 years later, and The Evil Dead still stands as an all-out gore fest with some great scares, awesome moments of blood, gore, and action, and also shows some low-budget film-making at its finest and really it’s early beginning.



  1. It definitely hold up. And that poster is one of the best horror posters of all time. You should definitely check out the sequels if you haven’t seen them.

  2. Good stuff; be sure to tell us your thoughts on THE STRANGERS, which was on cable this morning? Is it a bewilderng, soulless slasher film or is it something more?

  3. I remember the first time I saw Evil Dead. Came on IFC when I was about 16. I remember at the beginning when they are drving up to the cabin and how the mood of that shot sent chills up my arms. Great review Dan!

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