Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Evil Dead (1981) #4



I saw Evil Dead where it was meant to be seen. A drive-in. I had heard about this film from some of my classmate’s back in high school, and I read everything I could put my hands on about the film. Fangoria magazine was my pipeline to the fantastic, and for a teenager with an over active imagination, and a thirst for all things movies Fangoria was the magazine to read. That and "Cinemagic" magazine. A magazine devoted to filmmaking.

The stories about how "Evil Dead" was made fascinated me. A bunch of guys going out into the country with some film equipment and their cast and crew and making a film. What they came back with was a film that hit a nerve with audiences, and it became a success. Sam Rami and his gang made cinematic low budget history when they made their film "the Evil Dead". A film with very few characters, and a simple plot. My film professor was right in a way. If you want to make an interesting film take some buddies and film some where in the woods with some actors and crew. His argument was that there was nowhere to go and so you could concentrate on getting the film done, and finished. One location, few actors, low budget. In a way my professor was right, but sometimes it's easier said then done. Evil Dead is a film that shows what a filmmaker can do with little resources and a lot of ingenuity.

Another film shot in 16mm Evil Dead went on to become a success in theaters.  Sam Rami's career started with the film, and he's grown as a director.  No one can argue that him directing the Spiderman franchise was a bad choice.  I was never a fan of the sequels to "The Evil Dead", but there are fans who love them, and who am I to argue with them.  A lot of Rami's movies contain some really blatant humor.  Almost "Three Stooges" type of comedy, and I do remember reading that Rami was a fan of their films. 

Also I would be remiss in talking about the film if I didn't mention Bruce Campbell the films star.  Since he made his debut in "the Evil Dead" he has made a name for himself in Hollywood, and he's a favorite of mine. 

The Evil Dead is a film that has a lot of atmosphere, and is pretty scary.  I remember seeing it with a buddy of mine who liked these type of films but was pretty creeped out by this one.  His answer to why it was so creepy for him was that it dealt with "possession" and that creeped him out.  After all how do you fight a loved one who is possessed by an evil spirit?  You kill the spirit you kill the person who you know.  Maybe that's why "Evil Dead' is such a scary good film.  It posses the question what would you do?  The possessed do some awful bad things to the living, yet they hide in the bodies of our loved ones.  The creators of the film do a great job of pushing the film forward.  They use the location to their advantage, and the dark woods come alive with evil.  Evil that is unseen, yet they use a flying camera through the woods as the spirits POV.  Like any good filmmaker would do it's better to not see the monster and have the audience use their imagination on how it really looks then actually show it.

Evil Dead delivers, and it's a film that really plays well this time of year.  It's also a film that other filmmakers should study and become inspired by.  I know I was, and the film does still play well after all these years.  If you want to see a good solid scary film that has some good performances Evil Dead is your type of film.

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