The Evil Dead

Ryan Owen 16/03/2005

Rating: 5/5

Financed partially by its Super 8 teaser Within the Woods, The Evil Dead is a low budget gruelling horror released in 1981, which successfully spawned two sequels, a proposed remake and possible fourth instalment. Sam Raimi, director of A Simple Plan and the Spiderman franchise, helmed this cult horror project with his prowling and innovative camera-work, twisted black humour and overblown use of blood and gore effects.

The generic plot consists of five teenagers, vacationing in a remote and isolated cabin Within the Woods, unearthing the Book of the Dead and inadvertently resurrecting evil. Inevitably, but amusingly, the teenagers are possessed one-by-one, until Bubba Ho-tep star Bruce Campbell, whose overtly camp character Ash, stands alone to battle against the ever-present, ever-encroaching evil. The evil peaks as Cheryl is controversially but eye-openingly sexually assaulted by a possessed tree. Later Ash's possessed girlfriend Linda tries to kill him and a frenzied Ash decapitates her with a shovel.

Influences from The 3 Stooges and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre infuse to create this disturbing black-comedy with its surreal and tense atmosphere. However it stands alone as an assured, innovative and inspirational work, being referenced in recent films such as Donnie Darko, and Shaun of the Dead, and critically acclaimed by Jonathan Ross and Stephen King.

As a film Evil Dead teaches us many things, to never wear short skirts around trees, to buy fruit from an established greengrocer instead of going down to your 'fruit cellar', and finally, that big chins are Groovy!