Evil Dead (1981)
As we get nearer to Halloween, I was struggling to think of more horror titles to fit in with the QDR series when the ‘Evil Dead’ franchise popped in my head. This works as a double tie-in with the Halloween season, plus the new TV series starting this fall starring none other than Mr. Bruce Campbell in the role that only he can play.
My man-crush on Mr. Campbell is both deep and creepy. (Call me!)
Anyway, this was the flick that started it all for both Bruce and director Sam Raimi. Five twenty-somethings retreat out into the woods and stay at this old cabin for some peaceful relaxation. Their plans go awry when they accidentally wake up some long slumbering, and now very pissed off demonic entities.
This is the most straight-up no frills horror movie of the series. Campbell isn’t the one liner spouting badass he would become in the increasingly ridiculous (and awesome) sequels—which helps make this movie much scarier. The supporting cast here works well too. They aren’t the normal round-up of annoying clichés begging for an axe in the face you see in slasher flicks. They mostly just come off as good normal peeps, which makes you care about them when they are imperiled and all the more creepy when they become possessed.
Ellen Sandwess was terrific in an understated way here as well.
This movie is directed with more style than you can shake an undead-stick at. It’s full of great steady-cam shots, tilted angles galore, and just great use of sound (and silence) really jolt it over the top. The special effects are quaint and crude, but that for me helped the feel of this movie versus modern horror flicks with too much slick CGI and whatnot.
This feels like a down and dirty low budget masterpiece—which it is.